The Reef-World Foundation – the international coordinators of Green Fins – is delighted to announce Tioman Dive Centre (TDC) as the winner of this year’s Green Fins Award. The award, which recognises Tioman Dive Centre as the Green Fins member with the lowest environmental impact, was presented as part of the BlueGreen360 Awards at ADEX Singapore (11-14 April 2019).
The winner of the Green Fins Award is decided by a rigorous assessment of business practices which determines the company’s environmental impact. The 500-strong network of Green Fins members have all undergone this assessment, as well as Green Fins sustainability training, and Tioman Dive Centre was the business with the lowest environmental impact overall.
Tioman Dive Centre, a PADI dive centre which has been a Green Fins member since 2009, was proactive in implementing processes to improve their sustainability and reduce their negative impact on coral reef. These included:
- Changing to environmentally-friendly cleaning products, which are now much more widely available in Tioman, Malaysia
- Educating staff about the benefits of protecting the environment (including running new staff through the Green Fins introduction presentation as part of their induction); making them proud of their role in conserving the ocean
- Removing dead coral from display at the entrance of the shop, as it could have encouraged guests to take coral and display it in their own homes, far from the sea.
- Encouraging staff to take Tupperware boxes to pick up their lunches and use re-usable bags for shopping trips, which helps encourage other members of the community to be more environmentally-conscious too
- Correcting guests’ bad behaviour and explaining post-dive why corrections were made
- Logging any data from clean-up efforts
- Replacing one of their boat’s 2-stroke engines with 4-stroke engines. While this involved significant investment, they have found this engine to be much more cost-friendly
- Telling customers about their efforts to implement environmental practices through a statement in their paperwork, posters and talking directly to guests about what they are doing
Rosie Cotton, Owner and General Manager of Tioman Dive Centre, said: “We’re so delighted to have won the Green Fins award! We’ve been working hard to try to instil in our staff a desire to protect the environment, both above and underwater. As soon as the staff truly believe in this, becoming a Green Fins dive centre becomes easy. We encourage our staff to come up with new ideas to help us improve our Green Fins rating and we’ve found it gives them a great deal of pride when their idea is implemented. While some changes have taken more thought than others, getting the ball rolling is one of the most important steps.
She explained: “Each and every member of staff at TDC truly wants to adhere to the Green Fins ideology. Our dive instructors here at TDC actively pass on information about the environment to their students and divers, not just put a poster on the wall and expect people to read it. This has become a part of every day life and we hope this is seen by all our divers, in our diving practises.
“Since becoming a Green Fins member, we have seen a significant increase in numbers of divers,” Rosie continued. “We are able to show customers that we are taking an environmentally friendly approach to their dive experience and, at this point in time, I do believe many customers will actively search for a dive company who does not just provide an enjoyable dive but also shows a responsibility towards and a passion for the environment. Simply put, we now offer a product with value added!”
Chloe Harvey, Director at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’d like to congratulate Tioman Dive Centre on being the most environmentally friendly of all the Green Fins dive operators and thank you for all your hard work to achieve this amazing result. We do our best to support Green Fins members in their efforts to reduce their environmental impact by providing training, posters, information and guides and we’re delighted to see how pro-actively they have taken on board this information.”
The judges of the 2019 BlueGreen360 Awards are: Rili Djohani, Executive Director, Coral Triangle Center; Chloe Harvey, Director, The Reef-World Foundation; Jerker Tamerlander, UN Environment; Luigi Cabrini, Chairman, Board of Directors, Global Sustainable Tourism Council; and Diana Cohen, CEO and Co-founder, Plastic Pollution Coalition.
Green Fins is implemented in Malaysia thanks to the Malaysian government and Reef Check Malaysia.