UK staff from leading provider of employee benefits, incentives and motivation services Accor Services joined colleagues around the world to show support for sustainable development on its second annual international Earth Guest Day on 22nd April.
150,000 employees, across Accor Hotels and Services group in 100 countries, were mobilised to take part in local development, health and environmental initiatives.
UK staff rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in on their own doorstep by improving a community nature reserve at Bethnal Green, north London.
Workers left their desks for the day to don wellies and head for the nature reserve, where in addition to tidying overgrown weeds and trees, they made and installed bird boxes, planted hundreds of wildflowers and hung animal signs made by local schoolchildren.
Their hard work will boost the nature reserve’s many residents – ranging from rare beetles and birds, to foxes, frogs and butterflies, including many edible or medicinal plants.
Parent company Accor enrolled its 4,000 hotels in the United Nations Environment Programme “Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign”. Staff in each country also made their own local contributions.
UNEP’s “Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign” is an innovative global reforestation programme to finance tree-planting projects.
Accor has pledged to donate 50% of the savings on its hotel laundry costs resulting from guests and operators who keep their bath towels for more than one night.
Messages are being posted in bathrooms informing customers that “Here, your towels plant trees.”
The program will be rolled out to all of Accor’s 4,000 hotels, of which 52 are already involved in a pilot project. To prepare for full-scale rollout, Accor is offering special training for floor staff and chambermaids.
“The project should enable us to finance the planting of three million trees by 2012,” said Gilles Pélisson, Accor Chief Executive Officer. “I am very proud that the Group is actively supporting the United Nations Environment Programme in this reforestation project, which involves operators and customers of all our hotel brands, from economy to luxury.”
Accor will take part in projects in seven of the world’s forest regions, working closely with seven associations chosen for their ability to manage planting programs while also developing local business opportunities.
In France, for example, through Forestour’s Forestavenir program, Accor will help to combat the greenhouse effect by supporting planting initiatives in forests in the southeastern part of the country.
With SOS Sahel in Africa, Accor will help reforest coastal areas in Senegal by planting shrubs to restore the natural surroundings, preventing sand from invading low-lying farmland and, over the longer term, creating local revenue sources.
In Asia, Accor will work with Plant A Tree Today (PATT) to protect a drainage basin in Thailand and set up an environmental education centre.
In Brazil, in cooperation with Nordesta Reforestation and Education and ten local communities, the Group will help replant the banks of the Rio Soa Francisco to promote the return of natural ecosystems and improve water quality.
“All countries are concerned by deforestation,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP. “With this reforestation project, Accor is also helping to combat global warming, restore ecosystems, wipe out epidemics and preserve the planet’s fresh water.”