Home News & Features Sandals Resort International Honored Earth Day, Celebrated Work of Sandals Foundation

Sandals Resort International Honored Earth Day, Celebrated Work of Sandals Foundation

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Alexander Beckford, Project Officer, Jamaica Forestry Department, measures up to a Blue Mahoe (Hibiscus Elatus), the national tree of Jamaica, that was planted one year earlier in the Montego Bay Valley Forestry Reserve as part of the Sandals Foundation and Forestry Department’s Adopt-a-Hillside Program.

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA—Sandals Resorts International, the Caribbean’s leading hospitality company, honored its longstanding commitment to environmental and marine conservation this past Earth Day by celebrating the work of its philanthropic arm, the not-for-profit Sandals Foundation that highlights the intractable relationship between the visitor and the visited. Among the key initiatives this year is an intensified mission of planting 10,000 fruit, timber, and mangrove trees to protect terrestrial and coastal zones across the Caribbean.

According to SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart, an expert on the connections between tourism and its impact on local economies, the success of tourism and the livelihoods of Caribbean people are inextricably linked to the health of the environment. “As small island nations, our ability to preserve and protect the beauty as well as the productivity of our lands is crucial. This is why we work with local farmers and fishers on methods to responsibly meet demand; recruit, train and offer educational advancement to Caribbean people who are uniquely invested in its future; and why on Earth Day, we celebrate the work of the Foundation that has made it easy for those who visit our part of the world, to take part in its ongoing achievement,” Stewart said.

The Foundation’s effort forms part of a larger Caribbean Tree Planting Project that is being coordinated by the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance in collaboration with Trees That Feed Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and other partners. Together, they aim to help achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by planting one (1) million trees across fourteen (14) Caribbean countries by June 2022.

Many Benefits to Tree Planting

Professor Rosalea Hamilton, Chairperson for the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance says tree planting was identified as a practical activity to help mitigate the threat of climate change. “The environmental, economic and related social benefits of planting trees are essential for Caribbean development. Planting trees not only improves soil and water conservation, provides shade, stores carbon, regulates temperature extremes, and improves the land’s capacity to adapt to climate change, but it also provides sustainable livelihoods for many in need,” Hamilton said.

The commitment from the Sandals Foundation, Prof. Hamilton says, “is a great example of corporate partnership and social responsibility in accelerating the achievement of SDGs in the Caribbean.”

Over the last 12 years, the Sandals Foundation has engaged local schools, community groups, partners, team members, travel agents, and guests to plant more than 17,000 trees across the Caribbean.  Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, says this year’s intensified tree planting mission reaffirms the foundation’s commitment to the region.

“This year has profoundly demonstrated how interconnected we are as a global community,” said Clarke. “Our Caribbean ecosystem is an essential part of the fabric which makes this region the place of choice for millions of visitors annually. We will continue to explore opportunities that connect guests to our home through their contribution to and participation in programs that improve the health of our beautiful natural resources for generations to come.”

‘Caribbean Tree Planting Project’

Those wishing to support the tree planting efforts underway can visit the Sandals Foundation website and donate to the “Caribbean Tree Planting Project”. One hundred percent of all funds donated will be directed towards purchasing seedlings and maintaining the plant sites to ensure tree survival.

In addition to its current tree planting efforts, the Sandals Foundation has an extensive record of environmental conservation initiatives including the creation and management of two marine sanctuaries, providing operational support for 14 marine and forested areas in the region, training local residents as environmental wardens and coral gardeners to plant more than 8,000 coral fragments, collecting close to 60,000 pounds of solid waste from coastal communities, and assisting in the safe release of over 100,000 sea turtles into the Caribbean Sea.

Environmental education is a major component of the foundation’s conservation efforts with more than 40,000 people engaged in environmental awareness activities. The philanthropic organization is also working closely with Ministry of Education in The Bahamas and the Bahamas National Trust to develop the island’s first-ever environmentally focused segment of its National Primary Science Curriculum to improve environmental literacy in that country.

Sandals Resorts partners with Oceanic Global, a non-profit focused on providing solutions to issues impacting our oceans—to eliminate single-use plastic across its resorts. Sandals has garnered sustainability-driven accolades such as the CHA/AMEX Caribbean Environmental Award for Green Hotel of the Year, the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences Green Six Star Diamond Award, and the PADI Green Star Award. Each resort has a dedicated Environment, Health and Safety Manager charged with implementing and managing sustainable programs, including but not limited to the installation of solar water heaters, the retrofitting of lighting and equipment for better energy performance and efficiency, and the composting of food waste.

For more information about Sandals Resorts, visit www.sandals.com.

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