The Brando Resort, on the private island of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia, salutes the United Nations on the climate change agreement that was signed December 12, 2015 in Paris. The resort is nearing the end of certification which it hopes will lead to the LEED Platinum designation, the first of its kind in the world for the type of new build structure, and operates almost exclusively with renewable and non-fossil energy sources.
In French Polynesia, as in many other small island nations such as The Maldives, the effects of climate change threaten to be far-reaching and devastating to the local economy. Recent studies found that even slight temperature changes to the ocean could harm the production of the area’s famed black pearls and rising tides could eventually reclaim some atolls in the Tuamotus, some of which already peak at only a few feet above the current sea level.
The resort’s efforts at sustainability are extensive. Structures are cooled by the resort’s Sea Water Air Conditioning system (which was originally envisioned by Marlon Brando, the resort’s namesake) which harnesses the cold water at the ocean’s depths, which reduces energy demands by nearly 70 percent. Solar panels provide half the energy needed on the island, as well as providing all the resort’s hot water, and the other half is delivered by a coconut oil power station which is fueled by locally produced coconut oil, which is both a renewable energy source and in support of the local economy. The power is stored in flow-batteries made primarily from recyclable materials, which are used to power club cars for transport around the resort; bicycles are also available. Potable water is produced onsite from a reverse osmosis desalination plant, and waste water is used for irrigation where appropriate. Solid wastes are reduced by recycling and composting programs, and the resort’s restaurants are supplied by an organic garden and honey farm.
The resort also built and donated a center for environmental and climate change research, as well as the nonprofit foundation Te Mana O Te Moana (The Spirit of the Ocean), which has studied sea turtle nets on the atoll and throughout French Polynesia. In addition to research, that group also leads conservation and awareness-raising activities, and works to educates the resort’s guests and the general public on Polynesian marine fauna and flora and the ecosystems of the islands and atolls of the region. The resort also offers naturalist guides for the island’s wildlife and educational tours of the sustainable plants and facilities that support the island.
Room rates begin at 2400 Euros for a one bedroom villa at double occupancy and are inclusive of meals, activities, and spa treatments. Tetiaroa is approximately 30 miles from Tahiti and is accessible via Air Tetiaroa.