Through integrated hospitality, design, property, solar energy and investment enterprises, as well as a standard-setting foundation, Hong Kong-based Song Saa Collective combines ethics-led business practices and needs-based activism to honour the past and build better futures throughout Southeast Asia and beyond.
Song Saa’s first venture, the award-winning Song Saa Private Island, opened in 2012 and pioneered conservation-based luxury tourism in Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago, working with surrounding villages, the Cambodian government, financial investors, donor partners and broader stakeholders to improve local livelihoods and preserve the region’s marine life and rainforests.
With this knowledge and experience, the Song Saa Collective has created a 21st-century business model that employs business as a positive-and-profitable agent of change. It is currently developing a 200+ hectare bio-reserve outside Siem Reap that will include a Song Saa resort, ecological and cultural conservation initiatives, and a solar project that will supply power to rural communities. The Collective also works with local weavers and artisans to create textiles and ceramics and will be launching an ethical fashion collection in 2017.
Each Song Saa endeavour is committed to authenticity, integrity, creativity, innovation and beauty, along with a focus on the triple bottom line: delivering outstanding products and services, running a profitable business, and benefiting people and planet. By incorporating cutting-edge technology, respect for cultural heritage and a design-led aesthetic, Song Saa seeks to empower people from around the world, reviving and regenerating local societies while fostering intimate connections between individuals and the items and experiences they consume.
WHO IS SONG SAA?
CEO & Co-founder
Successful entrepreneur Rory Hunter is a pioneer of sustainable development in Southeast Asia. As CEO and Co-founder of the Song Saa Collective, Rory developed the award-winning Song Saa Private Island – consistently voted one of the top-ten resorts in the world – in Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago.
In 2007, Rory and Melita established the Koh Ouen Marine Reserve, Cambodia's first ever marine-protected area. The reserve has since expanded to 200 square kilometers and has gained the support of Prince Albert II of Monaco. To further this cause, in 2013 Rory co-founded the Song Saa Foundation, an independent NGO dedicated to preserving Koh Rong's underwater sanctuaries. The foundation undertakes conservation and community programmes, bringing much-needed healthcare and education to the region and providing an alternative means of livelihood to its residents.
Passionate about the progressive role business can play in addressing social issues, Rory focuses on projects that bring about a transformational impact on a major scale. Following the triple bottom line approach, efforts are directed to drive positive societal change while delivering strong financial returns to shareholders.
A regular speaker at international conferences, Rory is always keen to impart his knowledge and passion regarding the obligation of business to serve society. He spoke at the G20 Summit in Brisbane in 2014, where he shared the Song Saa Collective's story and his vision of 'Tourism's New Frontiers'. A year later, the World Economics Forum, appointed him a Young Global Leader in recognition of his professional accomplishments and commitment to ecological economic development.
Prior to becoming a leading entrepreneur, Rory was a successful advertising executive and worked for multi-national firms including Saatchi and Saatchi. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School, studied Sustainability and Resilience at Stanford University, and has a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University.
Rory's unwavering determination and 'go-getter' attitude also extends to his personal life. In 2015, he completed New Zealand's Coast to Coast race, one of the world toughest multisport competitions, in 17 hours. He is also an avid offshore sailor, downhill skier and long-distance runner.
MELITA Koulmandas HUNTER
Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder
Utilising design as a force for change, designer, entrepreneur and thought-leader Melita Koulmandas Hunter is at the forefront of social enterprise in Southeast Asia.
Melita looks beyond sustainability to develop design initiatives that help restore, regenerate and revive communities, crafting beautiful products and spaces that celebrate heritage, embrace modernity and honour craftsmanship, all with respect for people and planet. Her work includes interiors, fine art, fashion and lifestyle concepts, landscapes and organic installations, and has been recognised with global travel and design awards. Her awards for Song Saa Private Island include Condé Nast Traveler's Gold Standard, Condé Nast Traveler's Most Soulful Spa of the Year, Condé Nast Traveler's World's Most Beautiful Resort Hotel and National Geographic's Leaders in Sustainable Tourism title.
In addition to overseeing the Song Saa Collective's architecture, interiors and master planning, Melita, along with husband and business partner Rory, established the Koh Ouen Marine Reserve in 2007, Cambodia's first protected marine area. She co-founded the Song Saa Foundation in 2013, dedicated to preserving underwater sanctuaries and providing means of livelihood and education to communities in the Koh Rong Archipelago and beyond.
Melita is currently focused on two projects, an ethical fashion collection that will launch in 2017, and the design and development of Song Saa's pioneering new project in Siem Reap, a 200-hectare bio-reserve with a Song Saa Resort at its core.
London-born and Sydney-raised, Melita moved to Cambodia in early 2005, and studied design at Parsons School of Design. Melita is also a member of the Aspen Institute's Alliance for Artisans Enterprise. She currently lives in Hong Kong with Rory and their son Naryth.