Leonardo DiCaprio to build world's greenest island resort

Leonardo DiCaprio has announced plans to create "the world's most sustainable island resort" which will push the boundaries of green design, architecture and eco-tourism.

Set for completion in 2018, DiCaprio's 'restorative island' will regenerate the surrounding ecosystem and reverse the effects of climate change. Photo: McLennan Design

Set for completion in 2018, DiCaprio's 'restorative island' will regenerate the surrounding ecosystem and reverse the effects of climate change. Photo: McLennan Design

The Hollywood actor and environmental activist is working with Restorative Hospitality, a subsidiary of ethical real estate firm Delos, to develop a 104-acre 'restorative island' at Blackadore Caye in Belize. 

Upon its completion in 2018, the island will feature 68 villas, 48 estate homes, three restaurants, a spa and a private clubhouse - all incorporating sustainable building techniques that will restore and regenerate the surrounding ecosystem and reverse the effects of climate change.

DiCaprio, who bought the entire unpopulated island in 2005 for $1.75m, said: "Islands and coastal areas all over the world are being threatened by climate change due to rising sea levels, ocean acidification and habitat pressures," DiCaprio said. "This project is leading a new way in eco-tourism, development and green building and demonstrates that human development can be truly restorative and beneficial for the environment."

Green designs 

The Blackadore Caye resort will be 'Triple Net Zero' (energy, waste and waste) and free of toxic chemicals. Its design will restore and reinforce the area by replanting mangrove, replacing invasive species with native species, enhancing soil and habitat and creating additional armature for reef and fish breeding. Additionally, over half of the island has been set aside as a protected wildlife preserve.

The island's infrastructure has been designed under a unique conservation framework, developed by top biologists and ecologists who have studied ways to support and preserve the island's habitat and biodiversity during construction. All buildings will meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge - one of the world's most stringent and progressive green building certifications.

Jason F. McLennan, chief executive of McLennan Design, which is developing the island, said: "Our goal is to produce something that changes perception around what is possible with sustainable design. To use development to heal a threatened environment and to influence the world's most influential citizens to think very differently about resource use and their ecological footprint on the planet - all within architecture that we hope inspires and captures the imagination." 

Climate ambassador 

Hollywood actor DiCaprio has long been a committed environmentalist. The United Nations secretary general Ban ki Moon last year said the actor's global stardom was the perfect match for the global challenge posed by climate change.

As such, DiCaprio was appointed as a UN representative on climate change, with his first duty to address the opening of the climate summit last September in New York.

Luke Nicholls


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