Berjaya Hotels & Resorts Improves CSR Efforts | Mangrove 4 Life
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Berjaya Hotels & Resorts Strengthens Its Commitment To Caring For The Environment With New Csr Campaign – Mangrove 4 Life

Significance of Mangrove Forests to the Natural Environment and its Surrounding Coastal Communities Inspires Hospitality Group’s Efforts to Raise Awareness on Mangrove Conservation

LANGKAWI, FEBRUARY 2015 – With the commitment to build a path for better understanding and conservation of the natural environment, the Mangrove 4 Life (M4L) campaign, as part of Berjaya Hotels & Resorts (BHR)’s Corporate Social Responsibility – LIVE & Care, was initiated as a collaborative effort involving Berjaya Langkawi Resort (BLR), Institute of Foresters Malaysia (IRIM), Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), and the villagers of Kuala Melaka, Kuala Teriang.

The campaign’s three-day inauguration weekend held from 30 January to 1 February 2014 served as a local platform to strengthen efforts on the conservation of mangroves in the country as well as to educate people on the importance and significant contributions of these forests to the ecosystems. With IRIM’s involvement and contribution of mangrove saplings for planting, this momentous effort was accomplished with the support of over 100 participants including staff of the BHR team, media, school children from Sekolah Kebangsaan Kuala Teriang and the folk from Kampung Kuala Melaka, Kuala Teriang.

“Everything that nature provides serves a purpose. People might not see it yet, but mangroves give in many ways to the Earth. One of which is that these crossings between land and sea, act as natural coastal defence. In fact, during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, many coastal communities survived mainly due to coastal protection that was provided by mangroves,” said Abel Nelson Nang, BHR’s Group Director for Corporate Marketing and Communications.

“This campaign also bears extra emotional meaning to us as it was the surrounding community of our resort that was hit the worst on this island. As there was no engineered coastal protection in the Kuala Melaka, Kuala Teriang area, the damage was particularly severe. And as the first steps in our M4L campaign, we are focusing on replanting mangrove trees in this area because for these coastal communities to recover and achieve sustainability, conserving and restoring their surrounding mangrove ecosystems is essential,” he added.

Throughout the event weekend, a total of 424 young mangrove saplings were planted on the coastal shoreline of Kampung Kuala Melaka, Kuala Teriang where the Boxing Day Tsunami hit over a decade ago. As one of the important species used in replanting mangroves for conservation and protecting coastlines, the Rhizophora mucronata, due to its fast-growing nature and ability to flower within its first year of planting, were sown at the M4L mangrove planting site. Led by personnel from the Malaysian Nature Society, 6-feet high PVC tubes were first encased into the sand to form a wave breaker stretch to protect the M4L mangrove planting site as this would lessen the impact of waves on the saplings and ensure a higher chance of survival and growth for these trees.

“Mangrove habitats and ecosystems are of utmost environmental importance for a whole range of reasons – they store and cycle nutrients, filter pollutants, protect shorelines from erosion and storms, and play a vital role in modulating climate as they are a major carbon sink and oxygen source, and, in addition, sustain livelihoods of coastal communities. With this new project, it is of great hopes that we can restore balance to the ecosystem of the area and contribute to conserving these functions that benefit the environment,” said Andrew J. Sebastian, Head of Communications of the Malaysian Nature Society.

In addition to undertaking mangrove planting to protect the barren coastline at the tsunami hit site on the island, M4L’s emphasis included bringing the local community together to learn about and plant mangroves together as a team. The passion for this project was shared with 48 students aged 10 to 12 from the local school.

Conducted by Dr Evelyn Lim, the Honorary Secretary for Ecotourism and Conservation of Malaysian Nature Society and co-facilitated by the media, the Mangrove Awareness Workshop for the school-going children fostered awareness on the importance of mangroves and conserving them through interactive and fun-filled learning activities. The children were briefed on the characteristics of different mangrove species and the threats they face, causing deforestation. The children then participated in group dynamic activities incorporating a mangrove habitat scavenger hunt and several other interactive games. Following this session, the students were also involved in a tree planting session where an additional 98 mangrove saplings were planted at Berjaya Langkawi Resort’s mangrove site.

Staying true to the organisation’s corporate value – LIVE & CARE: Care for the Planet and Care for the People, the BHR team and the media also visited and spent time at Rumah Nur Kasih Langkawi as part of the CSR weekend on the island. In efforts to spread some love and foster togetherness, food items for a mini celebration were delivered to the shelter which houses orphans, abused, abandoned and underprivileged children.

“This is not just about a PR exercise where we organize an event to highlight the plight of underprivileged children or unfortunate situations. It’s about really wanting to give back to the community and to the environment. We believe that a CSR culture should be ingrained within the company and trickle down, as it rightly should from the top of the ladder to the very fabric of the organisation.

BHR would like to focus on inculcating that culture and engage our people to be part of these activities. We do it because we want to do it; and not because we have to. Having a team that is also very passionate about doing this is a big plus. Not only that we are able to incorporate our personal passion into work and derive greater satisfaction; but more importantly, in our small ways making this world a better place,” concluded Nang.