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Business Leader In Focus: Dale Rennie – Serial Entrepreneur, Resort Developer and Eco Warrior

Dale Rennie was bitten by the travel bug at a very early age. Having travelled to well over 110 countries, he has a passion for cherry picking what he deems as the best resort destinations in the world.

Besides setting his sights on the next ‘it’ hotspot, Dale also dials in his desire to make a difference by being a leader in the push towards environmental sustainability.  Case in point, is the long established award-winning cliffside boutique resort Villa Anugrah in Bali’s burgeoning Uluwatu.

The resort is using techniques such as water reticulation, solar energy, waste recycling, and design breakthroughs to limit energy consumption. What made these efforts more of accomplishment is that this was completed at a time when infrastructure was very limited in Uluwatu.  The same emphasis will be in effect when Rennie officially unveils his project in the Philippines, in Siargao, now regarded as the surfing capital of the South-east Asian nation.

His passion for the environment led him to drive change via the NPO  that is now active in over 40 countries around the world.

Rennie as a business executive boasts of an impressive scorecard – 19 hits and a single miss of the 20 companies he has started around the world. The minor setback failed to hold back Rennie even for a minute. Instead, it only reinforced his resolve to soldier on, to run and finish the race, and succeed he did. The one blot in his record drove him further, knowing he’s young, confident and certainly capable, to take a deeper plunge into the world of business, to get to know and master its intricacies. And the journey so far opened doors that led to episodes of mighty successes. Still flourishing on his past and ongoing ventures, Rennie indeed has a riveting story to tell.

Early Start

“I am an Eco Warrior and it’s been with me since a young boy. I am an evangelist when it comes to the environment. I am one of the ambassadors for the, a charitable organisation that raises environmental awareness,” Rennie said. Essentially, he had a huge head start to take on two battle fronts that both fuelled his passion. One is to preserve the environment and the other is to do what he does best – building businesses and making them grow.

In all his business operations, Rennie makes sure that the focus is not entirely on making sales and realising revenues. His heart and soul are invested where his money is, and he is “walking the talk,” not minding that his ethos oftentimes inflates the expense.

“Building something with passion, strong ethics and principles is good business over the long-term. You pay more money to be environmentally friendly but at the end of the day, more people appreciate the business model.”

Rennie further stressed: “My reputation is way more important than making money. I am my business, I live my business – this is an extension of my life’s passion for the environment. My wife, Sabrina, is equally passionate about the same cause and works with me on”

Team Effort

It is clear too that in everything he does, Rennie draws strength and inspiration from his wife Sabrina, whose presence is evident in nearly all his projects.. For instance, The Heritage Café and Bistro, which operates in Fort Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Sri Lanka, bears the creative signatures of her design DNA. How the restaurant was conceptualised, much of the credit goes to Sabrina, and it’s quite obvious that Rennie beams with pride that people travel to see The Heritage, and part of the many reasons is Sabrina’s body of work.

“Sabrina is a creative force. We have a complementing energy that feeds off each other,” Rennie shared as if underscoring he is the other half of a formidable partnership.

Unsurprisingly, what the Rennies did with The Heritage proved a game-changer in Galle. “Both Sri Lankans and travellers alike travel to see and experience it. It has gained a reputation as a game changer in the South” Rennie reported. It’s no wonder why, in April this year, Conde Nast included the Heritage Cafe & Bistro in their “How To Do Sri Lanka in 3 Days” article.

The Rennies In Action

The Heritage is but one of the several triumphs achieved by the Rennies. Included in the pipeline development projects in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, and in working on these initiatives Rennie was quick to add: “All of my development projects are environmentally friendly, including the Villa Anugrah in Bali, Indonesia, which is among the first to promote the protection of the environment in the area. The property uses reticulation system for the purpose of conserving water resources.”

In constantly evangelising for a strong environmental ethos, Rennie too is sending the clear message across that property developments can make use of the environment, preserved to its pure and natural state, as a viable platform to flourish.

Case in point is The Plantation that will soon rise in Sri Lanka and Rennie is building through one of his many firms – Total Ceylon Investment. The project will underscore his ethos and will reflect his evolution both as a businessman and an environmentalist, and that of his wife, according to Rennie.

“The Siargao beach front property is all about the environment. We want to have a place that is eco-friendly like there will be no plastic bottles. We are promoting conscious living. And the project is being built making use of locally sourced products and materials,” Rennie revealed of the project that is slated to commence operation this 2018.

And Rennie is upbeat the approach he has so diligently developed will work and will pay off in the end. This early, the signs have been promising. “The Plantation is already 40 percent sold, and the whole concept such as the meditation, yoga courses and the environmental mandate is resonating to buyers,” he beamed, adding the unthinkable has been achieved already.