Six Senses Sustainable Operations Guidelines Gain GSTC-Recognized Standard Status The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) is pleased to announce that the “Sustainable Operations Guidelines” of Six Senses has gained GSTC-Recognized Standard status, meaning that the guidelines document has been fully recognized as equivalent to the GSTC Industry Criteria. 

Six Senses Sustainable Operations Guidelines have been developed to ensure that all Six Senses properties share the same commitment to balancing economic, environmental, and social profitability while remaining resolutely harmonious with local communities and ecosystems. 

This helps Six Senses to actively monitor each property’s environmental footprint to aid in the conservation of cultural and natural heritage and strives to contribute positively to the socio-economic upliftment of neighboring communities through its ‘sustainability funds’, which are managed at each property, among other things. Six Senses is part of IHG’s Luxury & Lifestyle portfolio. 

The GSTC-Recognized status refers to the standard itself, indicating that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Assurance Panel and deemed its contents equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. It shows that the brand’s set of standards is based on the four pillars of the GSTC Criteria: Sustainable Management, Socioeconomic, Cultural, and Environmental Impacts. 

GSTC Recognition of Standards doesn’t relate to the process of certification (which is a third-party assessment through an audit of a tourism enterprise for conformity to a standard) or accreditation (formal verification that a certification body operates in a competent and neutral manner according to international standards of how to properly certify, which is the highest level of assurance).

The stated scope of the standard is ‘Hotel’ and its coverage is global. The GSTC Recognition is valid until either the standard or the GSTC Industry Criteria are changed. The GSTC Recognition also has a time limitation that by 31 December 2024, Six Senses needs to pursue Accreditation.

Neil Jacobs, CEO of Six Senses, said: “Sustainability drives every decision we make at Six Senses. Quite simply, it’s non-negotiable. Sustainability has been ingrained in our DNA from day one in 1995, long before it became a focus for others in the luxury hospitality space. We lead by example through who we are, what we do, and the experiences we deliver to our guests. You could say Six Senses was a pioneer in that sense.”

Jeff Smith, Vice President of Sustainability, added: “Sustainability is at the heart of all that we do, and it’s important to clearly define exactly what we aim to achieve. Over the past three years, my team, with great support from our operational departments, has been upgrading our policy framework, Six Senses Sustainable Operations Guidelines. The previous version has been in place since 2014, and with these extensive revisions, we have taken the additional step of requesting a review from GSTC. The feedback we received was valuable, and we are thrilled to have achieved GSTC recognition status for our guidelines.”

“Six Senses adoption of the GSTC Criteria’s Four Pillars signifies their commitment to a thorough sustainability strategy, not only addressing environmental factors but also including the impact on communities, a range of social and cultural issues, and the development of effective management to ensure continual progress,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

Currently, 73 standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The status offers the market proof that these standards adhere to international norms. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to follow and complete the accreditation process, which assures that the certification process used to apply the standard meets international best practices, transparency, and rigor. A list of GSTC-Accredited certification bodies is available here

About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are three sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, Industry Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators, and MICE Criteria for Venues, Event Organizers, and Events & Exhibitions. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for GSTC’s assurance role for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services, but provides accreditation to those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, NGOs, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

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About Six Sense 

Six Senses – part of IHG’s Luxury & Lifestyle portfolio – serves as a changemaker and maintains a leadership commitment to community, sustainability, emotional hospitality, wellness, and crafted experiences, infused with a touch of quirkiness. Whether an exquisite island resort, mountain retreat, or urban hotel, the vision remains the same: to reawaken people’s senses so they feel the purpose behind their travels and ultimately reconnect with themselves, others, and the world around them. 

Six Senses Residences offers all the unique amenities of a resort life community while retaining the privacy and personal touches of a beautifully appointed private villa or apartment. 

Six Senses Spas guides guests on their personal path to well-being in all resorts as well as a handful of standalone spas. The high-tech and high-touch approach goes beyond ordinary beauty treatments to offer holistic wellness, integrative medicine, and longevity.