We consider ourselves stewards of Tetiaroa, and believe that we have the responsibility to treat it with the highest level of care and respect. Almost all of Tetiaroa is being protected and preserved forever in its natural state. We have touched the motu on which the resort sits as lightly as possible. The Brando and all the villas have been designed without beach obstructions to blend harmoniously into the trees. We have used local materials extensively in the design and construction. All building materials used are of local or certified origin, renewable, or incorporate recycled components. We are using a pioneering deep seawater air-conditioning system to reduce energy demands and rely entirely on renewable energy sources including solar power and biofuel whenever it can be procured. Setting a new world standard, the resort is close to reach its goal of being carbon neutral and self-sustainable. We have built and gifted an Ecostation to Tetiaroa Society, the nonprofit organization established to lead the scientific and cultural mission to protect the atoll and to inspire sustainable interdependence on Tetiaroa and around the world.
At the Brando we have implemented a number of innovative programs and new technologies to help us achieve our goal of carbon neutrality:
- Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) harnesses the cold of the ocean depths to provide low-energy, highly efficient cooling for all the buildings, reducing energy demands by almost 70%.
- Solar energy produced from photovoltaic solar panels along the airstrip provide over half of the resort’s remaining energy needs (showing how to make typically unused space like this productive) and solar heating provides all of the resort’s hot water.
- The resort is fully biofuel capable and uses coconut oil biofuel for its power station whenever it can be procured.
- Flow-batteries for storage of energy generated from solar power are made primarily from recyclable materials and have a service life of thousands of deep discharge cycles.
Platinum LEED Building
The Brando is the first resort in the world to obtain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification, the organization’s highest accolade. LEED was initiated in the 2000’s by the US Green Building Council® to certify the sustainability of buildings that meet their requirements.
Sea Water Air Conditioning
Our Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) takes advantage of the cold naturally stored in deep ocean water by running the deep ocean water throughout the resort and using it to create the cold for our air conditioning system.
It’s a simple idea—but one that took many years to put into effect. A man ahead of his time (and always curious about outside-the-box ideas), Marlon Brando had heard of the principle as early as the early 1970s. He dreamed of making sea water cooling a reality on Tetiaroa for aquaculture—specifically, the farming of lobsters. He suggested the idea of SWAC to Richard Bailey when the two were trying to resolve the dilemma of relying on renewable energy without compromising on luxury. Richard Bailey’s company Pacific Beachcomber then conceived, developed and installed the world’s first air-conditioning system using SWAC. Brando did not live to see this pioneering idea become a reality, but his vision led to the system we have today.
In pursuit of his dream, we established an Ecostation on the island, and gifted it to Tetiaroa Society. The Ecostation – named “Te Fare rauihi” (The House of Multiple Sciences) as part of Tetiaroa Society’s blessing ceremony — is a hub where scientists from around the world can lead research into sustainable interdependence, implement these lessons on Tetiaroa, and teach them globally to improve our relationship with nature. It is a cornerstone of the project Brando envisioned but was unable to complete.
The Ecostation consists of two buildings: one with wet and dry laboratories for research and the other providing accommodations for the scientists and researchers.
Pacific Beachcomber, a key partner in The Brando, has entrusted the operation of the Ecostation to Tetiaroa Society, a nonprofit scientific and cultural organization dedicated to its mission to inspire sustainable interdependence through education, conservation, and creative science.
On Tetiaroa, we are committed to keeping our wildlife thriving, the air we breathe clean, and our lagoon pristine. Toward that end, we have set a goal of net zero carbon impact. We are proud to say we are coming close to achieving that ambitious goal with the resort.
To reduce or eliminate guest travel-related carbon emissions, all our vehicles will ultimately be powered by the sun and we will provide bicycles to all our guests as an option for moving around the island (and for fun!).
The Ecostation's activities will be focused in these three key areas:
Through the Ecostation, Tetiaroa Society strives to increase knowledge of, and heighten an appreciation for, the natural and cultural heritage of precious tropical islands like Tetiaroa. A range of experiential learning programs provide students with a deeper understanding of science, sustainability in action, and an appreciation of local heritage.
We are also working closely with TeMana O TeMoana (literally, “the Spirit of the Ocean”), a Tahiti-based nonprofit organization devoted to the protection of marine wildlife—particularly the green sea turtle. Pacific Beachcomber has collaborated closely with TeMana O TeMoana over several years. TeMana O TeMoana is consulting on implementing activities on the island and also works closely with local authorities on a variety of youth-oriented educational and public outreach programs.
Through the Ecostation, we are dedicated to preserving the precious biodiversity on Tetiaroa with several projects, including a sustainable fishing program, a fish replenishment program, and an atoll conservation plan. The Research Station’s conservation efforts also encompass monitoring, preservation, and restoration programs related to plants and agriculture, as well as the preservation of the island’s cultural heritage.
The Ecostation is dedicated to research that will help grow our understanding of sustainable interdependence and improve human interactions with nature. This approach to discovering innovative means to protect and sustain the planet represents the ability we have on Tetiaroa to be creative, ask big questions, and welcome great minds to our shores. Guests are encouraged to interact with scientists on Tetiaroa, working from the Ecostation or out in the field, and learn more about the important work they are doing on this beautiful atoll.
Through education, conservation and creative science, Tetiaroa Society works to inspire sustainable interdependence between mankind and nature. A tax-exempt 501(c)(3) U.S. nonprofit organization, Tetiaroa Society combines creativity and scientific advancement to better humanity’s relationship with the planet and help facilitate a harmonious future for generations to come. This is carried out through relationships with leading research institutions from around the world, including Smithsonian Institution, the University of Washington, CRIOBE, and many others.
Inspired by the late Marlon Brando’s vision to preserve sanctuaries for future generations and raise awareness of the fragility of our environment, Tetiaroa Society was founded by the Marlon Brando Estate, which owns the atoll, and Pacific Beachcomber, and is supported by high profile members of the international scientific and entertainment communities. As a site of high historical value, as well as rich scientific research opportunities, Tetiaroa Society plays a pivotal role in preserving local cultural interests on Tetiaroa and expanding the scientific lessons learned to create a farther-reaching and globally significant purpose.
The resort has a garden nestled under shade providing palm trees. When visiting you can see firsthand how we grow vegetables and fruit on this sun-drenched sand-and-coral island. We have implemented some innovative farming techniques that we will be pleased to share with you.
Water & Conservation
The Brando will utilize low-energy water independence and is installing an innovative wastewater management system for irrigation. In addition to water conservation, the resort is implementing a robust recycling and composting program.
The Brando has joined Virtuoso, leader in the Luxury Travel business, to promote sustainable tourism based on travel that is environmentally friendly, supports the protection of natural and cultural heritage, and benefits local people.
«Virtuoso’s decision to further amplify its support for sustainable tourism reflects its belief that, rather than a passing trend, this is part of a global travel transformation, as further evidenced by 2017 being declared the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Furthermore, research has revealed that when local people’s livelihoods are improved by tourism, they, too, become important allies in protecting the planet and safeguarding its heritage for future generations.
The question is no longer can sustainable tourism work; independent case studies from around the world have documented that it does. Rather, the question today is how far the travel industry can take sustainable tourism principles to help protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures – the very “products” upon which tourism businesses also depend.»