Sixty AccorHotels’ employees spent last Wednesday April 5 2017, away from hotel life actively helping to regenerate Australia’s local ecosystems.

The group of green-thumbed volunteers teamed up with Greening Australia to plant over 1,000 trees in the Cumberland Plain Woodland – a critically endangered grassy woodland in the north-west basin of Sydney.

This small gesture is one of many activates driven by AccorHotels partnership with Greening Australia, as part of the Group’s Planet 21 sustainable development program and ‘Plant for the Planet’ initiative.

The program encourages guests to actively participate, offering energy and water savings from those who reuse their towels to be donated back to the Plant for the Planet Program.

AccorHotels Australia has actively supported its global Plant for the Planet tree planting program since 2008, and over the last five years have planted more than 45,300 native trees and shrubs across three Greening Australia priority landscape projects around the country;

*Sydney’s Cumberland Plain Woodland, NSW – Due to the growing urbanisation in the Cumberland Plain (Western Sydney), less than 5% of the pre-1750 native vegetation remains as intact bushland. The loss of habitat puts increasing pressure on the 300 native plants and the over 20 threatened bird and animals. The project aims at restoring key corridors within this urbanised zone to restore habitat connectivity. In the longer term the program hopes to reintegrate the koala once found in the Plain.

*Peel Biolink, WA – The South West region of Western Australia has been recognised as one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots due to its high richness and diversity of native flora and fauna. This biodiversity is however threatened by increasing population pressures and by a reduction in rainfall due to shifting climate patterns. The Peel Biolinks project aims to reconnect the Darling Scarp to the Ramsar Listed Peel Estuary system through the restoration of key biodiversity corridors within the Peel Catchment. Greening Australia works with farmers and landholders in this area to restore connectivity within a fragmented landscape.

*Habitat 141, SA – This agricultural region has suffered large losses of natural habitats since European settlement. Small and often isolated areas of native vegetation remain and support high numbers of endangered species threatened by habitat fragmentation and the effects of climate change. The Habitat 141 project aims at restoring and reconnecting migratory corridors for native fauna over a fifty-year time frame.

In 2016, AccorHotels announced that it would add a fourth Greening Australia project to help preserve local ecosystems around the Great Barrier Reef catchments. This winter, 4,500 trees will be planted in wetland areas near the Reef.

*The Great Barrier Reef, QLD – The alluvial gullies that make up the river systems of the Great Barrier Reef Catchment are eroding on a massive scale due to extensive clearing for agriculture. Every year an average of 1.4 million tonnes of fine sediments along with agricultural chemicals and fertilisers are washed into the sea threatening the fragile reef ecosystem. The project aims at reforesting gullies to halt soil erosion to preserve the reefs on which a large majority of the local economy and people are dependent on. The Fitzroy basin catchment – where large proportions of the sediments are originating from is a key focus area for planting. The project is part of Greening Australia’s Reef Aid program.

AccorHotels contributions to Plant for the Planet in 2016 will fund the planting of 14,542 trees during 2017. Globally the program to date has planted more than 5 million trees, with a commitment to reach 10 million by 2021.

“Australia’s tourism industry is reliant on our beautiful landscapes, and as the country’s largest hotel operator we have a duty of care to protect – and where need be restore – the precious natural habitats in which we operate,” says Simon McGrath, Chief Operating Officer AccorHotels Pacific.

“Planet 21 is as much about inviting our guests to join us on our sustainability journey, as it is about offering our employees and hotel owners the opportunity to give back and help maintain their local environments. It is through our partnership with Greening Australia they we are taking proactive steps to leave our planet in good health for generations of hoteliers and guests to come.”

As well as providing a significant boost to on ground restoration work with volunteers and financial contributions, AccorHotels actively promotes the Plant for the Planet Program to hotel guests around Australia.

“Through the Plant for the Planet program, AccorHotels is making a significant contribution to restoring Australia’s unique landscapes so that people and nature can thrive. It is great to see a renowned hotel group like this taking a real leadership role in this space,” said Jonathan Duddles, Greening Australia’s Director of Development.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management