The Board of Directors of Landmarks Berhad has always been mindful in ensuring that its businesses are operated in a sound, sustainable way. As responsible corporate citizens, the Group gives cognisance towards overall stewardship of sustainability, creating value for its stakeholders economically and environmentally in the Marketplace, Workplace and Communities that it operates in.
This report illustrates the Group’s initiatives, highlighting its collective programmes and accomplishments in championing four core areas of sustainability which are:
- reducing carbon footprint;
- restoration and conservation of the environment;
- recognising and engaging the community; and
- responsible employer.
REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINT
The Group continues to focus on reducing its carbon footprint and greenhouse emission by ensuring that the Group’s operations are eco-friendly by incorporating innovative technologies and methodologies. These efforts have been acknowledged with awards by The Andaman such as the ASEAN Green Award (March 2010) presented at the 2010 ASEAN Travel Forum, ASEAN Green Hotel award at the 2011 ASEAN Travel Forum, International Hotel Awards 2011 in association with Bloomberg Television – Best Sustainable Hotel (Malaysia), ASEAN Green Award (January 2012) presented at the 2012 ASEAN Travel Forum, International Hotel Awards 2012 in association with HSBC – Best Sustainable Hotel (Malaysia) and Best Spa Hotel, Hotel Club Awards 2012 – Top Green Hotel (Malaysia), International Hotel Awards 2013 – Best Sustainable Hotel (Malaysia) and most recently the ASEAN Green Hotel Awards 2014.
The Group’s resort in Langkawi, The Andaman, is operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (“Starwood”) and is located within an ancient tropical rainforest on the pristine sandy shores of Datai Bay - home to a diverse variety of marine life and precious fringing reef said to be 6,000 to 8,000 years old. The resort which recently underwent renovations stayed true to its promise of being an eco-friendly resort by incorporating recycled natural elements into the architecture and designs. The desk lamps in the newly renovated rooms are made out of the fallen rocks that form the backdrop of Datai Bay, some of the oldest geological material on Earth dating back more than 600 million years. In re-roofing the resort, original Belian shingles made from local Iron Wood were given a new lease of life and used for sections of Jala Restaurant’s roof as well as cladding for support columns in the main dining area. The architecture has also been designed around three giant Meranti trees, the tallest trees in our rainforest. Jala’s resourcefulness is also extended to the furniture – the showpiece being a sleeping giant Meranti tree that fell at the resort during a storm last year, now converted into a dining table to seat up to 20 guests. Efforts have also been made to eliminate completely the use of plastic bottles by serving water the indigenous way in a Labu Sayong, refilled daily with reverse osmosis drinking water in its new rooms.
Environmental protection is an intrinsic part in the Group’s projects in Bintan. Upholding sustainability in every aspect of its development, the Group demonstrates its commitment toward sustainability in the heart of every decision made via local sourcing where possible for its construction and further exploring opportunities to do business with local companies, protecting nature particularly via compliance with laws and legislation to ensure that every aspect of reducing pollution and effective waste management is maximised.
RESTORATION AND CONSERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
In Langkawi, The Andaman continues its initiatives to heal the coral reef that was damaged by the 2004 Tsunami by conducting monthly Coral Clearing activities and educating guests on the fragile ecosystem. The resort has now elevated its efforts to the next stage of coral rescue and regeneration, and has built a Coral Nursery to facilitate these objectives. Believed to be the first of its kind in South East Asia, this project aims to restore and enhance the existing coral reef by growing new coral. On World Oceans Day, 8 June 2013, The Andaman joined forces to form an environmental partnership with Lafarge Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (“UKM”), as well as local community representatives to create an Artificial Reef Module System (“ARMS”) in the vicinity of our bay. The ARMS project consists of the deployment of artificial reef modules to assist in the regeneration of our precious Coral Reef. The initiative also aims to provide a sustainable fishing industry for the next generation of local fishermen. An innovative design for the artificial reef modules was created by Dr. Gerry Goeden, Consultant Marine Biologist at The Andaman in partnership with scientists at UKM, tailored specifically for the unique nature of the existing coral reef fish species at Datai Bay. The artificial reef modules have been designed to create maximum ‘hiding spaces’ for fish of many sizes, in sustaining the underwater eco-system and preserving the biodiversity of marine species.
The Andaman is also committed to environmental conservation through its Sustainable Meeting practices, a programme that meets the needs of customers, while reducing the impact of the resort’s business on the environment. This includes, elimination of drinking water bottles – replaced by a pitcher and elimination of paper wastage with delegates only taking what they need from the stationery centre.
Apart from that, creative sustainable social events are also organised by the resort, one of them being the ‘Malam Alam Eco Dinner’ hosted at the beach, using minimal lighting – with the area being lit up by Tiki Torches and beverages served out of coconut shells and other fruits (i.e. pineapple, guava etc).
The Group has also initiated a mangrove rehabilitation projectas one of its key activities in Bintan Island, where its next development, Treasure Bay in Pesona Lagoi Bintan, has commenced.Supported by the local community groups, the mangrove replanting project covers 23 hectares of land in Sungei Kecil, Desa Sebong Lagoi and Kecamatan Teluk Sebung located North-West of Bintan, 21 kilometres by road from Treasure Bay. The initiative aims to restore and rehabilitate degraded mangrove areas in order to restore ecological benefits such as improve shoreline stabilisation, reduce erosion, enhance coastal fisheries and also promote public awareness on the importance of mangrove ecosystems through direct community participation.
RECOGNISING AND ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY
Investment in the community reflects the Group’s commitment in improving the socio-economic status of the society by embracing the local community, culture and adding value via sustainable sourcing. The Andaman has partnered with local fishermen in Langkawi to ensure the freshest catch arrives daily to be served in Jala Restaurant – elevating the culinary experience of its guests while also supporting local fishermen.
In engaging the community, The Andaman worked alongside Malaysia’s renowned celebrity interior designer Eric Leong, to run a design competition for its exclusive rainforest and ocean motive Sarongs that speaks of the resort’s locale in the form of indigenous batik art and printed on organic voile cotton that is manufactured in an environmentally conscious way through an eco-batik process.
The Andaman plans to do more as a corporate member of our community by rolling out community outreach programmes in Langkawi. Such programmes will include providing financial assistance towards the education of underprivileged children as well as community support in aid of one of the local orphanages. These efforts, together with annual projects in partnership with UNICEF, Starwood’s adopted charity since 1995, ensure the Company realises its role within the global community, serving the interests of both current and future generations while constituting the foundation for enduring success.
The Board of Directors has approved a policy to provide assistance for the disadvantaged and underprivileged children in the local community in Bintan by providing financial assistance for education, food, clothing and shelter to uplift their quality of life as part of the community outreach programme. Donations have and will continue to be made to schools and other charities for their fund-raising activities.
As a further example of our commitment to sustainability the Board recognises that one of the Group’s most important assets is its human capital. As a responsible employer, our workforce reflects the diversity of the community at large. The Group emphasises staff welfare, providing employees with a safe and clean working environment. Medical benefits which include medical care for staff and their families, hospitalisation and surgical insurance benefits, maternity and paternity leave and flexible working arrangements are provided for staff. On-going efforts in building a closer work team amongst staff are being practised via activities in an informal setting. During these informal gatherings, the Group’s direction and goals are shared and communicated, thus ensuring better understanding and commitment in achieving the Group’s goals and objectives. Staff get-togethers are also organised on a regular basis to promote bonding for a more cohesive and friendly working environment.
While we are encouraged by the steps that we have already taken towards protecting the environment, the Board recognises that there are many more opportunities to further improve our sustainability efforts. Hence, the Group will continue being proactive in maintaining and enhancing its sustainability efforts.