Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts
This year, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts celebrate the 100,000th tree that the group has planted as part of its Greening Communities project, launched in 2007 to raise awareness of climate change. Under this project, Banyan Tree and Angsana resorts are given a target to plant 2,000 trees per year.
In the first half of 2011, many of the properties registered their strong support by planting more than the targeted numbers within their community. To date, a total of 110,143 trees have been planted around the globe since 2007. In a similar move to communicate the importance of nature and its conservation, United Nations has also declared 2011 as International Year of Forests.
Laguna Bintan Takes the Lead
The two resorts in Laguna Bintan in Indonesia – Banyan Tree Bintan and Angsana Bintan – have planted more than 5,000 trees from January to April alone, the most number among all the properties under the group this year. To date, more than 22,500 trees have been planted in Bintan.
Careful selection was given to the tree species to ensure maximum benefit for the habitat. These included banyan and angsana trees, as well as sea almond to preserve water and prevent landslides; mangrove trees to protect the seashores and strengthen the wetland habitat; as well as mango, durian and rambutan trees to provide fruits for the local community. The tree planting activity was led by the Bintan Conservation Lab, which was launched in 2007 to drive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes in Laguna Bintan.
“This is one of the best examples of an effective CSR project, as it is a simple activity that is able to involve many stakeholders, from key government representatives, students, locals, Banyan Tree associates, to hotel guests,” says Mr Henry Singer, Environmental Naturalist, Bintan Conservation Lab.
Engaging Locals in the Maldives
In the Maldives, led by the Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab, two Banyan Tree resorts and two Angsana resorts have engaged the local schools and communities to plant more than 22,200 trees since 2007. Palm trees are planted on various local islands to prevent erosion, and fruit trees for their nutritious benefits for the locals.
“Through Greening Communities, we want to take a proactive stance in helping our islands minimise the impact of environmental issues due to global warming,” says Ms Hawwa Hana, Area CSR Manager, Maldives. “Most local students embrace the information about nature that we share with them, and give us a lot of feedback and support. Children are a key audience in helping promote the cause to the rest of the community.”
Planting on High Altitudes
Over in China, Banyan Tree Lijiang and Banyan Tree Ringha in Yunnan province have planted 2,500 trees and 3,300 trees respectively this year. The tree saplings chosen are able to withstand the area’s cold weather, humidity and altitude of more than 2,400 m above sea level, and are mostly fruit trees such as plum, cherry, apple, walnut and pear trees which will eventually become a source of income for the local villagers, when the fruits are ready for harvest and sale.
“We buy fruit tree saplings from the local producers, and encourage local villagers to eventually take ownership after they have been planted, and reap the benefits when the trees are mature,” says Mr Richard Neo, General Manager of Banyan Tree Lijiang.
Doing Well by Doing Good
Banyan Tree co-founders Mr Ho Kwon Ping and Ms Claire Chiang have committed the group to rehabilitation of the environment since the company’s very beginning, when they chanced upon 1,000 acres of toxic tin mine in 1984 in Phuket, Thailand, and dedicated the next 15 years to transform it into a habitable community teeming with healthy vegetation and wildlife. Today, it remains Asia’s first and largest integrated destination resort, where fishes swim in beautiful lagoons, and migratory birds return to breed.
“By consciously adopting corporate social responsibility as a core business value, we seek a balance between shareholders and stakeholders in our company ethos based on an evolving ethos ‘doing well by doing good’,” says Ms Claire Chiang, Senior Vice President of Banyan Tree Holdings and Chairperson of Banyan Tree Global Foundation, which guides the group’s overall CSR commitments.