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Accor Embraces International Earth Day

21 April 2008

Accor Embraces International Earth Day

Employees join the fight to protect children and preserve biodiversity

Accor employees throughout New Zealand, as well as some 170,000 staff throughout the rest of the world, are demonstrating their commitment to sustainable development in the lead up to international Earth Day on April 22 with a range of events and initiatives.

Called Earth Guest Day at Accor, the day is a culmination of campaigns pursued by employees throughout the year and highlights the Earth Guest program introduced by the group in 2006 to join together its social and environmental responsibility initiatives. The idea behind Earth Guest Day is that we are all 'guests of the Earth' and should take time out to give back to the planet.

In nearly 100 countries around the world, Accor teams support sustainable development programs that are organised around both people (for example projects to protect children, support local development, promote balanced nutrition and fight against disease) and the environment (such as projects to control energy use, limit water consumption, manage waste and preserve biodiversity).

Preserving Biodiversity and Protecting Children
Accor will present a united front in New Zealand for its environmental project, with the entire group to focus on the protection of biodiversity - more specifically restoring native habitats. The aim is to plant a native tree for every Accor employee in the country – that's more than 1200 plants. Accor teams in each region will be working in conjunction with local councils or the Department of Conservation to coordinate the plantings, which will see native trees, shrubs and flaxes used to restore habitats that have been damaged or destroyed by humans or invasive pests or weeds. In areas where tree plantings are not possible, Accor employees will focus on maintenance of local green spaces, including clean ups, weeding and maintenance of walking tracks.

The group will also use Earth Guest Day to put the spotlight on one of the world's most crucial issues - child protection. As its 'people project', Accor will be selling funky wrist bands to employees, friends and guests to support charity Cure Kids, which raises funds for vital medical research into life threatening illnesses affecting children. Accor is a key partner of Cure Kids, and has raised more than $1 million dollars since the beginning of the partnership in 2003. Wrist bands will be on sale for several weeks at the reception of all Accor hotels in New Zealand and Fiji for a minimum donation of $2.

Accor's four hotels in Fiji – Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Novotel Nadi, Mercure Hotel Nadi and Tradewinds Hotel & Convention Centre - will hold an activity that combines both their environmental and social projects. The 'Bag for a Band' project will see dozens of hotel employees given a large rubbish bag to fill during a clean up of their local area that, when filled, can be exchanged for a Cure Kids wrist band. Each hotel will then ensure the rubbish is disposed of responsibly. Rubbish pollution is a crucial issue in parts of Fiji and last year's clean up in Nadi for Earth Guest Day was a tremendous success.

Following on from the success of Accor's partnership with Cure Kids in New Zealand, Cure Kids Fiji was started with Accor in 2006 and raises funds for basic medicine and equipment for the children of Fiji. So far more than FJ$300, 000 has been raised, which has provided a range of vital equipment and drugs including foetal monitorsm infant probes, catheters with introducers, used for children on long term antibiotics, and a vaccine to treat children with kidney disease. Fiji employees will also hold a picnic for the children at Lautoka Hospital later this week, with toys, entertainment and face painting.

Accor and the Earth Guest Program
Some inspiring projects throughout Accor's international network include tree plantings and improvement of waste management systems in parts of Africa, HIV and AIDS awareness training in Vietnam, an auction of Fair Trade products in Spain and healthy cooking classes for children in Germany.

Vice President Accor for New Zealand and Fiji, Paul Richardson says the key aims of Earth Guest Day are to actively engage employees, to act collectively at a local level on these projects and to raise awareness of the environmental and social issues being targeted.

"Sustainable development is an issue of huge importance to any business operating today and it is vital to put your policies into practice. Accor has a 65 point international Environmental Charter, which each hotel must work towards compliance of and the group remains dedicated to exploring opportunities for sustainable development in the future. Our commitment to Cure Kids is as strong as ever and is part of what the Earth Guest program is all about."

Accor is also a member of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development and the group was recently named in an independent list of the world's top 100 companies for sustainability.

Accor, the European leader and a major global group in hotels, the global leader in services to corporate clients and public institutions, operates in nearly 100 countries with 170,000 employees. It offers to its clients over 40 years of expertise in its two core businesses:
- Hotels, with the Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure, Suitehotel, Ibis, all seasons, Etap Hotel, Formule 1 and Motel 6 brands, representing more than 4,000 hotels and nearly 500,000 rooms in 90 countries, as well as strategically related activities, such as Lenôtre.
- Services, with 30 million people in 40 countries benefiting from Accor Services products in human resources, marketing services and expense management.


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