April 22 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Every year the Earth Day Network selects an environmental priority to engage the global public. This year’s theme is Climate Action.
At the end of 2020, nations will be expected to increase their national commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and unless every country in the world steps up, the future of the planet looks bleak.
A long-time advocate of sustainable tourism, Anantara Hotels is dedicating this year’s Earth Day to its sustainability champions. In a mini round up video released by the Bangkok-based hospitality company, Anantara team members who drive these sustainable initiatives behind the scenes are given the spotlight.
We’re in this together
In the past years, Anantara has thrown its weight behind many commendable green initiatives. A strong believer in collective action on climate change, the company seeks out brands and individuals whose goals are aligned with its own.
One such example is the Vanity Fair UK’s annual “Changing Your Mind Award” — one of the most influential forums for the key players in sustainable tourism.
Announcing the 2020 winners on behalf of Anantara who co-sponsored the award, John Roberts, Group Director of Sustainability and Conservation at Minor Hotels (Anantara’s parent company), commented on the importance of “recognizing the talented individuals pushing the envelope for the travel industry.”
“Sustainability has always been part of Anantara’s DNA, but rather than rolling out a blanket green program across the portfolio, we encourage our properties to build sustainable practices from the ground up, working with local communities.”
John Roberts, Group Director of Sustainability and Conservation at Minor Hotels
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How you can get involvedteam works hard
Currently, most of Anantara’s CSR work is funded by the “Dollars For Deeds” initiative, whereby Anantara guests are invited to donate one dollar for each night of their stay, which is then matched dollar for dollar by Minor Hotels.
Much of the funds raised by Anantara guests are distributed via Anantara’s charitable organization, the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, with remaining funds going towards supporting local, property-specific initiatives documented in Beyond Horizons video series and listed below.
Cardamom Tented Camp
In Cambodia, Anantara sustainability efforts are focused on protecting forests that have been ravaged by illegal loggers, poachers and sand dredgers. Nestled in Southern Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountain range, the Cardamom Tented Camp is a non-profit eco lodge resting within 18,000 hectares of pristine land. All the funds generated by tourism are channelled into running the camp and into financing park ranger patrols. Since funding began, a vibrancy has returned within this corridor of land and wildlife is thriving.
Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation
The ongoing maintenance of the Cardamom Tented Camp is funded in part by Anantara guests via Anantara’s Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF). Set up in 2006 to improve the plight of Thailand’s elephants, it has since diversified to include welfare projects that incorporate broader philanthropic and cultural objectives with unprecedented success. Over 30 elephants have been rescued from Thailand’s city streets, accompanied by their entire mahout family. English lessons, education for children and a silk worm business are all part of the rehabilitation program.
Holistic Approach to Reef Protection Program
Launched in 2015 to reverse coral bleaching in the Maldives, the Holistic Approach to Reef Protection (HARP) program is bearing fruit. For years Anantara staff and guests have been painstakingly attaching fragments of rescued coral to ropes and tables at coral nurseries of Anantara Dhigu, Anantara Veli and Naladhu Private Island. A 2019 field study by marine biologist Dr. Andy Bruckner revealed that rehabilitation efforts have encouraged extraordinary growth across all the nurseries, giving hope for the future.
Zero Waste Commitment at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort
Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort has made operational sustainability the linchpin of its green program. A reverse osmosis plant produces 2,000 liters of clean water per day which is bottled for drinking – critical for Tangalle, which suffers from regular dry spells. Degradable waste is composted and then used to fertilize a vegetable garden and rice field that supply the resort’s restaurants with fresh produce. In partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the resort also educates the public and local school children about turtle conservation and organizes turtle walks.
Smallholder Farmer Engagement Program
The Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia team works hard to ensure smallholder farmers get a share of the tourism economy. In addition to buying all the crop directly from the smallholders and forgoing the middleman, the hotel supports Maramba Women’s Mushroom Farm and trains the 3,000-plus workers at Nsongwe Women’s Farm in sustainable agriculture techniques. Just as impactful is the Libuyu Women’s Peanut Butter Project empowering HIV-positive women by outfitting a peanut butter factory and helping run it.
A great source of inspiring sustainable travel stories is Anantara’s Nomad’s Blog providing a dose of virtual travel escapism and green travel inspiration.