CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IS AT THE HEART OF OUR 20 YEAR CELEBRATIONS ‘HOLIDAY SMARTER, HOLIDAY FITTER’, ‘COMMUNITY’ AND ‘ABSOLUTE ECO-FRIENDLIER’ : THREE CORE VALUES OF OUR NEW CSR STRATEGY
Sustainability as a concept was popularised at the ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio in 1992 and has since been used and abused, becoming a buzz word often backed with little substance. It is this that we wanted to avoid when consolidating our past and present CSR activities.
The past 15 years of Absolute World Group’s CSR activities have provided a foundation on which to build, and moving into this 15th anniversary year and beyond we have developed three core values: Holiday Smarter, Holiday Fitter, which groups programmes assisting in the development of a healthier attitude to holidays for the benefits of our members and their guests; CommUNITY, which groups those for the benefit of the local Community; and Absolute Eco-Friendlier, which groups initiatives with a more environmentally conscious approach.
“CSR is something that has been a part of Absolute World Group since our beginning. We are aware of our social responsibility as a business and over the last 15 years have developed and implemented a number of CSR programmes within the local and wider community. Developing on our past initiatives, we felt it important to create a more strategic approach to our CSR programmes and new initiatives, and have created three core values under which all our CSR activities are grouped, implemented and evaluated,” said Bryan Lunt, CEO.
“To take things to the next level, we have brought in a dedicated CSR Co-ordinator, who helps to coordinate our ongoing CSR programmes, develop and implement new initiatives, and helps to ensure we continue to develop our CSR strategy for the next 15 years and beyond,” added Lunt.
In the 24/7 connected world in which we live, health is often sacrificed for convenience and perceived ‘needs’. Holiday Smarter, Holiday Fitter groups health-related activities and builds on our past success such as our hugely popular Staff Boot Camps, which are being expanded in size and frequency to encourage guest participation, and more recently the launch of a series of exercise in your room videos available on the in-room entertainment system for guests and members.
Our involvement with an array of local and national sporting events and activities, the impending launch of a dedicated Holiday Smarter, Holiday Fitter blogsite, the introduction of nutrition classes for our resort guests and members and donating sports equipment to local schools this year makes for a targeted CSR programme under the Holiday Smarter, Holiday Fitter banner.
With our strategic centre in Phuket, Thailand, we are of course aware of our home, our local responsibilities and the positive impact we can have on people’s lives locally through our operations, and internationally through delivering memorable vacation experiences for members and guests. To this end, activities with the core value of CommUNITY have in the past included supporting a number of local charities including the Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation, as well as raising money for local charities through our own business initiatives, such as the Alternative Ownership Conference for Hotels in Asia Pacific. We have also established an in-house ‘CommUNITY Committee’ to develop a staff volunteer service for local community and charity events, as well as developing a structured work experience programme throughout our business sectors to provide invaluable on-the-job training.
We continue to expand and integrate environmentally friendly operational strategies in our resorts, reducing energy consumption and waste. In the award-winning The Beach Samui, set to open Winter 2013, environmentally friendly technologies have been incorporated from the concept and design phase and throughout the build. With Absolute Eco-Friendlier as the core value, we are to launch a number of initiatives this year, the first of which was Mangrove Re-planting in honour of Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand’s 80th birthday, and in cooperation with the Phuket Provincial Administration Office.
“This is a grass roots initiative and one in which Absolute World Group staff will be hands on. A team of staff will co-operate with the Phuket Provincial Administration Office under this Thai Government reforestation plan as part of the celebrations of Her Majesty the Queen’s 80th birthday anniversary. Phuket’s coastal mangroves have been depleted significantly over the last few decades and this important natural resource needs a helping hand from humans,” commented Lunt.
Other initiatives for 2013 under the Absolute Eco-Friendlier banner include introducing a series of in-room organic products using refillable and recycled receptacles, developing the ‘Patong Green Club’ – a collection of like-minded resorts in Patong with a local action plan – ongoing eco redevelopment of our resorts (re-designs to help reduce energy and water consumption and our operational carbon footprint), and developing initiatives together with SEEK Phuket. You can follow our CSR initiatives on our Facebook channel and perhaps see what we have planned when you are next in Phuket – we would love you to join us.