Photo: Rogers


Rogers: Conservation From Land to Sea in Bel Ombre, Mauritius

By Audrey d'Hotman de Villiers (Rogers), Rogers and Co., Ltd
10:27 AM, September 18, 2017

The Maurice Ile Durable initiative, introduced by the Mauritian government, which set out a long-term vision for sustainable development, prompted the Rogers Group to commit to help protect the island’s rich coastal and marine ecosystems over a five-year period to 2018.

The national dialogue on “Sustainable Mauritius” was aimed at setting a vision in 2007 for this small-island developing state covering the five “E”s: energy, environment, education, employment, and equity. In line with this enterprise of national interest, Rogers started an internal dialogue.

Through this exchange of ideas, the environment and the protection of the coastal landscape, which is intimately bound up with the Group’s activities, surfaced as critical issues. The presence of Rogers in various levels of the tourism value chain, including hospitality, aviation, and leisure, warranted the need to preserve the coastline as a vital asset.

Awareness, education, training, and action

The launch in 2013 of the “Respect Our Coast” program was a first concrete step toward the conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems. The multi-sectoral approach adopted by Rogers involved the public and private sectors as well as NGOs and volunteer groups. The entire initiative is anchored on the key pillars of awareness, education, training, and action and focused on reducing the negative human impacts on the coastal areas of Mauritius.

Prior to deciding on the most suitable course of action, a baseline survey was conducted in 2014 to understand and assess the level of knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors of a sample of the Mauritian population on environmental issues to measure progress. A mid-term survey was subsequently carried out last year. Among the main findings, we noticed that: Responsibility is increasingly seen as resting on individuals versus industries and government; a greater number of respondents are aware and concerned about global warming; they also better understand that the onus is on us all.

Key projects in the program 

The flagship project of the program is Bis Lamer, a Mobile Marine Education Unit run in partnership with the NGO Reef Conservation. This class-in-a-bus, which is fitted with interactive tools and laboratory equipment, has already reached out in its first two and a half years of operation to nearly 15,000 children as well as youth and adults in schools, on beaches, and in various public places. This outreach effort to bring education about marine and environmental issues closer to the people has enlisted the support of the NGO’s team of professional marine biologists, project coordinators, and educators. More than half of the Group’s personnel have also received training on marine and lagoon life. 

Other highlights of the “Respect Our Coast” program include such projects as: 

  • the protection of endangered sea turtles within a concerted network of government and private-sector actors as well as NGOs to safeguard the nesting sites, including the publication of a handbook to educate and raise awareness among local communities;
  • the Plankton Recycling Co-operative Society, a facility for the recycling of glass collected from hotels in the Bel Ombre region, which has been operating as a local cooperative since 2015; 
  • support to the Eco Schools Indian Ocean Program, coordinated by Reef Conservation. It aims at empowering students to be the change our sustainable world needs; 
  • Tikoulou, la légende de Bel Ombre, a comic book launched in March 2017 to provide children with a playful and educational introduction to the rich ecosystems and biodiversity of the Bel Ombre region in the pristine south of Mauritius. The book is distributed for free through the “Bis Lamer” project; 
  • the Seabird translocation project, a unique scientific project by the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation to preserve and regenerate the local seabird population on the nature preserve of Ile aux Aigrettes, an island southeast of Mauritius;
  • regular beach cleanups with the Group’s personnel and volunteers to promote environmental awareness and preservation; 
  • annual closure of octopus fishing using the “Bis Lamer” project to educate fishermen on the importance of cooperating with this national project. 

Bis Lamer, Photo: Rogers
Bis Lamer, Photo: Rogers

Assessing and planning for the future

Feeling that it would be difficult to predict the effectiveness and sustainability of its strategy without measurable and observable data, Rogers commissioned an assessment of the ecosystems contained within the Domaine de Bel Ombre. This 2,500-hectare nature sanctuary is a high-end tourism, leisure, and cultural destination rich in biodiversity. It houses representations of all of the Island’s ecosystems: river, forests, savanna, beaches, lagoon, wetlands, and mangrove ecosystems, among other attractions. 

The protective and restorative measures suggested include the development and implementation of a lagoon management plan, a directory for responsible use of the lagoon by hotel guests, and a biodiversity corridor.

At the heart of Rogers’ roadmap for developing the Bel Ombre region is the setting up of an Interactive Land and Marine Research Centre, targeted to open at the end of 2019. The Centre will deliver high-quality interactive experiences and learning opportunities to visitors. It will use a participatory approach to discovery, education, research, and ultimately empower visitors – schoolchildren, tourists, local communities, and the public at large – to help conserve our ecosystems. This state-of-the-art facility will also serve as a research platform for marine biology students from different national, regional, and international institutions.

Sustainability, a philosophy of life 

he different business sectors of Rogers and the Rogers Foundation have been focusing their efforts on the delivery of projects premised on the following Sustainable Development Goals: poverty eradication in the Bel Ombre, developing a sustainable region and coastal communities, and regenerating life below water as well as life on land. Rogers places a high value on meaningful stakeholder dialogue and concerted action as part of the process of developing a balanced economic, environmental, social, and cultural future for the Domaine de Bel Ombre. The Group has promoted the socioeconomic integration of local populations, which account for half of the 1,500-people-strong workforce within the region’s agriculture, tourism, and property sectors. The program is expected to provide additional opportunities, with a special emphasis on generating as many “green” jobs as possible. For instance, environmental consultants specialized in permaculture and community involvement have been contracted to take on board the input of the inhabitants of Bel Ombre. As suggested by the locals themselves, a typical Mauritian village will also be recreated to showcase local savoir-faire. The Rogers Group is a listed international services and investment company founded in 1899 with expertise in fintech, hospitality, logistics, and property.

Rogers & Company Limited
5th floor, Rogers House
5 President John Kennedy Street
PO Box 60, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel. 202 6522; Fax: (230) 208 3646

For more Information, please visit

About the Authors
d'Hotman de Villiers, Audrey

 Audrey d'Hotman de Villiers is a CSR-manager at Rogers/Mauritius.

Rogers and Co., Ltd

Rogers and Company Limited has been an innovative contributor to the development of the Mauritian economy since 1899. Over more than a century, its pioneering spirit has been key in exploring new opportunities for the country, especially through its active participation in founding the national carrier, Air Mauritius, and via the setting up of the leading hotel group on the island, Beachcomber Hotels.

Rogers is engaged in the following core business domains – Financial services, Hotels, Leisure, Logistics, Property, Real Estate and Agribusiness as well as Travel and Aviation. The footprint of our major local and international brands stretches across 10 territories, with operations covering the Indian Ocean region and France. Rogers and Company Limited also holds interests in various other industries through strategic investments.

To continue moving forward in accomplishing its objectives, the Company calls for each of its employees to adopt a shared spirit of leadership, openness and dynamism.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect CSR Manager's editorial policy.
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