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Accor Embraces International Earth Day

23 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, got their hands dirty yesterday (22 April) for international Earth Day.

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).
Accor presented a united front in New Zealand for its environmental project, with the entire group focusing on the protection of biodiversity - more specifically restoring native habitats. Employees from the corporate office and hotels in different regions around the country coordinate projects with their City or Regional Councils or the Department of Conservation.
In Dunedin, all staff rostered on the day were encouraged to use public transport or walk or cycle to work to raise awareness of their ‘carbon footprint’. Employees also worked with DOC to plant trees to help create a new habitat for a growing Sea Lion colony at Ravensbourne in coastal Dunedin. Accor’s hotels in the city are Mercure Hotel Dunedin and Mercure Leisure Lodge Dunedin.
Auckland employees from the Accor Corporate Office and the city’s seven hotels worked at Hamlin’s Hill Regional Park helping to build a 300m walking track/boardwalk and also carrying out weeding and seed collection. The group worked in a ‘chain gang’, passing along buckets of gravel to form the track, a first time experiment for the council whose Park Rangers were impressed with the team work and the result. Accor’s Auckland hotels are Novotel Auckland Ellerslie, Hotel Ibis Ellerslie, Mercure Hotel Auckland, Mercure Hotel Windsor, All Seasons Remuera Dunkerron, All Seasons Ellerslie and Hotel Formule 1 Auckland.
In Hamilton employees from Novotel Tainui Hamilton and Hotel Ibis Tainui Hamilton worked with Hamilton City Council to do a clean up of the riverbanks along the Waikato River. This is part of an ongoing project with the council to keep the riverbanks and surrounding areas clean and rubbish-free for tourists and locals to enjoy.
Rotorua employees at Novotel Rotorua Lakeside and Hotel Ibis Rotorua will mark Earth Guest Day on Thursday 24 April, when they will visit beautiful Whangapoa Springs forest to plant seedlings. The day will also include a unique Puia traditional Maori cooking in the geothermal hot springs.
Some 40 Wellington employees worked with the Greater Wellington Regional Council on a large scale tree planting at Kaitoke Regional Park, helping to plant more than 1000 native plants in an area previously used for grazing. While the area still contains farmland, the council is reintroducing native habitats to pockets throughout the park in the interest of improving biodiversity. Following the morning planting session and a well earned barbecue lunch, the group was taken on a guided walk though the national park, which contains some of New Zealand’s oldest forest, including some plant species pre-dating human settlement. Finally, the group inspected the previous year’s plantings, and the progress was fantastic to see.
Accor’s hotels in Wellington are Novotel Wellington Capital, Mercure Hotel Wellington, Mercure Hotel Willis Street and Hotel Ibis Wellington.
In Christchurch a group of employees from Hotel Ibis Christchurch and All Seasons Christchurch planted native trees in the suburb of Sumner with the assistance of Christchurch City Council, who donated the trees. Employees then donated the cost of the trees directly to Accor’s partner Cure Kids, the organisation that Accor is raising funds for as part of Earth Guest Day (more information on Cure Kids below).
In Queenstown, employees from the resort’s four Accor hotels gave the town’s Horne Creek and Frankton Track a facelift, coming together to plant 400 trees at the beginning of the Frankton Track. Staff at Novotel Queenstown Lakeside also volunteered to clean up the nearby Horne Creek where rubbish and building waste was picked up from the creek and its banks.
Later in the afternoon, employees from the four Accor hotels in Queenstown carried out a joint tree planting exercise at the start of the Frankton Track along Lake Wakatipu, planting 300 native trees and in less than an hour. The group was also joined by Cure Kids CEO Kaye Parker and young Cure Kids ambassador Sophie Newbold. Accor hotels in Queenstown are Sofitel Fiji Hotel & Spa, Grand Mercure St Moritz, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside and Mercure Resort Queenstown.

Accor also used Earth Guest Day to put the spotlight on one of the world’s most crucial issues - child protection. As its people project, Accor is 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.

Accor’s four hotels in Fiji – Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Novotel Nadi, Mercure Hotel Nadi and Tradewinds Hotel & Convention Centre -held an activity that combines both their environmental and social projects. The ‘Bag for a Band’ project saw dozens of hotel employees given a large rubbish bag to fill during a clean up of their local area that, when filled, were exchanged for a Cure Kids wrist band. Rubbish pollution is a crucial issue in parts of Fiji and during this year’s clean up produced approximately 150 bags of rubbish.

Other inspiring Earth Guest Day 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.

Accor is also a member of the New Zealand Business Council of Sustainable Development and the group was recently named in an independent list of the world’s top 100 companies for sustainability.
1) Accor employees Alison Maher (left) and Lotte Aarts (right) get stuck into the job.
2) Working on the chain gang to create a walking track

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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