Virgin, Ritz-Carlton to Bottle Own Water
Hospitality brands including Virgin Hotels and Ritz Carlton have signed up to the Whole World Water initiative, through which they will filter, bottle and sell their own water.
The spas, hotels, resorts and restaurants that join the program will then contribute 10 percent of the bottled water proceeds to the Whole World Water Fund, which benefits clean and safe water programs around the world.
A bottle created by world renowned product designer Yves Behar and fuseproject (pictured) will serve as an icon for the campaign, and climate development projects specialists ClimateCare will manage the fund.
The complete list of signatories from the hospitality industry is as follows: Soneva, Six Senses, Virgin Limited Edition, Virgin Hotels, Banyan Tree, Auberge du Soleil, Tao Restaurant Group, The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, Dusit Hotels and Resorts, JetWing Hotels, and The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu.
Virgin group founder Richard Branson said the program’s model reduces shipping pollution as well as financial and environmental costs.
Whole World Water was inspired by the experience of Soneva Resorts, Residences and Spas. Since 2008, Soneva resorts have banned imported water in favor of bottling their own filtered water. Soneva has contributed these revenues to clean drinking water initiatives whose work has brought water access to over 600,000 people. The initial seed capital for the fund was provided by Soneva’s Slow Life Trust.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly a billion individuals worldwide do not have access to safe water and close to 3.6 million people die each year from water-related causes. Partners in the program estimate that with scale, the hospitality and tourism industry can contribute $1 billion per year or more towards improving global access to clean drinking water.