As part of Marriott’s global commitment to sustainability and IUCN's Business and Biodiversity work, Marriott Hotels & Resorts Thailand and IUCN are working together to protect the environment and support Thailand’s local communities through mangrove reforestation, support for small community businesses, and procurement of sustainable seafood.
Through this initiative, IUCN aims to support Marriott Hotels & Resorts Thailand in their efforts to value and manage biodiversity and to contribute to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, while at the same time encouraging the mainstreaming of sustainable business practices in the Southeast Asia region.
The partnership is being officially launched on 19 September 2013, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the inauguration of a “Mangrove Education Garden” at the Renaissance Hotel in Bangkok. This engagement falls under the wider umbrella of Marriott's “Spirit to Serve” initiative.
On the IUCN side, the partnership contributes to the Mangroves for the Future (MFF) goal to increase private sector investment in coastal management; supports the intention to spread and replicate coastal resilience building from the Building Coastal Resilience (BCR) pilot sites to other provinces; and is part of IUCN’s Business and Biodiversity Programme.
IUCN and Marriott Hotels & Resorts Thailand have adopted a well-integrated and multifaceted CSR approach by strategically targeting three main initiatives:
- Marriott provides funding support for activities of IUCN’s Thailand Programme for supporting local communities in mangrove restoration.
- IUCN and Marriott work together to identify opportunities for creating small businesses in local communities for the production of sustainable souvenirs and gifts for their guests.
- IUCN helps Marriott in locating sources of sustainable seafood for their hotels from nearby communities.
In the last four decades, more than half of Thailand’s mangroves have been lost. After the 2004 tsunami, a renewed determination to replant mangroves in Thailand was marked by the symbolic planting of a mangrove by former US President Bill Clinton in Phuket and the launch by IUCN and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of “Mangroves for the Future” (MFF) in 2006. MFF is a partnership-based initiative promoting investment in coastal ecosystems for sustainable development.
Mangroves play a critical role in protecting the coastline from severe storms and sea-level rise. In addition, mangrove forests are important for conserving biodiversity and storing carbon. Through this new partnership, IUCN and Marriott will assist in rebuilding Thailand’s mangroves and support nearby communities. At a national level, their goal is to plant 500,000 mangrove saplings and relevant species within the next three years.
IUCN has identified several key target locations for mangrove restoration and for supporting local communities under their partnership with Marriott.
For the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, IUCN has selected Bang Kachao area in Samut Prakan Province due to its importance as a provider of oxygen to the city (the “green lung of Bangkok”) recognised by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in an attempt to conserve green areas near the capital, and to improve the local communities’ livelihoods and environment while maintaining their culture and lifestyle.
In southern Thailand, IUCN and Marriott are exploring the feasibility of a number of different actions including work on wetlands and mangrove restoration in Mai Khao, Tai Muang and Khao Lak, as well as dolphin conservation.
Working together to alleviate poverty, restore the environment, and encourage best fishing practices; the IUCN-Marriott project aims to set the standard for public-private sector partnerships and offers a sustainable growth model for all entities involved.
One of IUCN’s key approaches is “Deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food, development”. The IUCN-Marriott partnership will contribute to this by the large-scale planting of mangrove trees, supporting small businesses in local communities for the production of souvenirs and gifts, as well as developing sustainable sources of seafood from nearby communities for Marriott hotels.
Dr Robert Mather
Head Southeast Asia Group
Angela Jöhl Cadena
Business Relationship Manager