Community heroes

Beyond chasing dollars, these hospitality and event organisations have invested resources to make the world a better, happier place.

Werkudara Nirwana Sakti, Indonesia
The event company based in Yogyakarta conducts the Werkudara Care CSR programme which focuses on three pillars: Care for Share, which routinely distributes funds and items to the needy; CarEducation, a social programme that assists school children with their studies and provide internship opportunities in the company; CarePreneur, which empowers community-based businesses.

I Gusti Putu Yaktianuraga (Bagus), managing director of Werkudara Nirwana Sakti, said: “Werkudara Care is our way of creating value for the community. Beyond donating money, we want to give back to the society in a sustainable way that helps them to grow.”

Citing an example of the programme’s long-term commitment, Bagus said through CarEducation the company hired an English language teacher to conduct courses for high-school students in an orphanage, and then selected 30 to take a written test issued by the University of Cambridge.

“While six passed the written test, they failed the interview. This got us thinking that apart from equipping them with the ability to write in English, we also need to build their confidence in speaking the language,” shared Bagus.

Hence, Werkudara established an internship programme that allowed the students to enrol, where they could practice the language while learning how to manage events.

“We also want them to acquire a strong mentality and positive attitude, not just skills,” he added, believing that the event profession’s need for creativity, discipline, teamwork and long hours will teach the students all that.

Offering another example of how Werkudara Care invests in building self-sustainability, Bagus said CarePreneur provides short courses on budgeting, marketing and product quality control for small-scale, community-based businesses. Besides arming them with better business acumen, Werkudara also engages these community-based businesses as partners to serve corporate clients.

Memories Group, Myanmar
This integrated tourism company implements a range of projects in remote areas that aid people and the environment.

For example, it currently operates a sailing clinic that offers medical care around the Mergui Archipelago, and in 2018, launched Moken Kids, an ongoing initiative to preserve and understand the Moken (sea gypsies) culture by handing out waterproof cameras to Mokan children. The ultimate aim is to publish a coffee table book with proceeds going back to the community.

Rainforest and marine conservation projects are also carried out, including a clean-up campaign to rid the waters around Mergui Archipelago of ghost nets, or ALDFG (abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear), include fishing nets, lines and traps left in the ocean. The first clean-up saw 300kg of ALDFG removed from surrounding reefs.

Memories Group’s Community Light Centre also helps the 84 per cent of rural households in Myanmar that have no access to electricity by installing solar lights.

Manila Marriott Hotel, Philippines
For the past eight years, Manila Marriott Hotel has been quietly but consistently donating excess food monthly to the Philippine Red Cross in Pasay City.

These are not leftovers, but excess food from banquet events and staff canteen that are prepared by the culinary team in the same way it is prepared for hotel guests.
Red Cross then distributes the monthly food donation to depressed communities that abound in the city.

So far, the donated food, apart from reducing the hotel’s food wastage, has served a total of 17,534 beneficiaries, particularly children, pregnant women and the elderly. Victims of natural calamities like typhoons and flooding also benefit.

The hotel also embarks on biannual donation drives, community outreach and feeding programmes in support of the Philippine Red Cross.

Luxury Travel Vietnam
In September, the company stepped in as a Gold Sponsor for World Clean Up Day 2019 in Hanoi, which combats the global solid waste problem, including the problem of marine debris.

The company is also joining the Travelife certificate, the global programme managed by ABTA. Its essential management requirements comply with ISO 14001 and EMAS III standards, including OECD Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines that include labour conditions, human rights, environment, biodiversity and fair business practices.

The company recently launched sustainable action plans for its travel services, such as replacing plastic for recyclable materials for every tour, as well as on its ships under Heritage Cruises and Emperor Cruises. It also works with a range of social partners to combine tour activities and environmental protection activities.

Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, Cambodia
The capital city-based property has carried out a range of CSR activities throughout 2019. These include donating goods to organisations, such as soap to Indochina Starfish Foundation and linen to NGO L’Ecole du Bois. Eco-friendly charcoal briquettes made from coconut shell to protect Cambodia’s natural forest have been introduced to its restaurants, and fresh eggs are bought from cage-free chickens at Eggscellent to promote local products.

The property has also held three Musica Felice Charity Concerts to support local NGOs, schools, and social associations. Environmental efforts include fighting against plastic waste by collecting 1.5-litre bottles for donation to Malaria Consortium Organisation, using paper straws in its restaurants and bars, recycling food waste and using it as fertiliser, and using LED light throughout the hotel to slash energy consumption.

Pullman Luang Prabang, Laos
Since opening, the property has introduced several CSR initiatives that include authentic activities, locally-sourced cuisine and unique opportunities for guests to interact with the local community in a responsible and sustainable manner.

For example, the hotel’s executive chef focuses on local, seasonal and organic ingredients, including Lao herbs, vegetables and tropical fruit grown onsite. The resort’s terraced paddies produce rice for the restaurants, and guests – including corporate groups – can help with harvesting. Rice husks, a by-product of the cultivation process, are donated to MandaLao Elephant Conservation. The property also sources several types of cheese from Lao’s first buffalo dairy farm, and guests can visit the socially-responsible enterprise which provides support and education to local farmers.

In line with Accor’s Planet 21 initiatives, Pullman Luang Prabang also supports the local children’s hospital, wildlife conservation efforts, and local handicrafts.

Pan Pacific Hotels Group
Pan Pacific Hotels Group (PPHG) has been delivering its Eat Well With Us community programme since 2015, launched in partnership with Singapore’s National Council of Social Service, to impart healthy recipes through regular chef visits and culinary training at charity homes.

From serving just four charity homes then, Eat Well With Us today benefits 20. Its latest project was a month-long effort in July 2019 that saw six senior chefs from the group’s hotels in Singapore conduct 10 hands-on classes to arm cooks from 20 charity homes with tasty local recipes that eventually fed 4,000 residents on National Day, August 9.

Corporate executive chef, Tony Khoo led the effort, utilising a central training kitchen sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions. Recipes were tweaked to suit residents, featuring tasty blended dishes, healthy vegetarian dishes and nutritional soups.

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