Hotels & Resorts

How One of the World’s Most Luxurious Hotel Brands Is Making a Lasting Positive Impact

The Banyan Tree Global Foundation’s Greater Good Grants were created to help local communities and ecosystems around Asia-Pacific. Here’s what they’ve done so far, and how you can apply this year.

Angsana Xishuangbanna, in China, a resort in the Banyan Tree family

By David Ngo

Sep 3, 2021

WITH CLIMATE CHANGE and the global pandemic taking a severe toll on communities all over the world, the Banyan Tree Global Foundation has launched a bold, new initiative to help. In 2020, the foundation debuted its Greater Good Grants (GGG), which provide funding for projects in countries where there are Banyan Tree hotels and resorts. The brand has long been known for their dedication to sustainability, community empowerment and wellness initiatives. This new project continues their work of giving back and being the best kind of neighbors.

For the first round of GGG, eight NGOs were selected for their projects focusing on the following areas: Biodiversity & Conservation, Resource Use & Waste Management, Climate Change & Resilience, Education & Empowerment, Health & Protection and Culture & Livelihood.

Although the program has not been around long, it has already produced meaningful results. Many of the inaugural projects targeted local ecosystems. For instance, in the Anlung Pring Wetlands in Cambodia, the GGG-funded project set out to protect the Sarus crane, a threatened species of waterbird. Within three months, the team disposed of at least 990 pieces of toxic waste that would otherwise have contaminated the bird’s habitat.

Other areas where NGOs are working with the support of the foundation include Bach Ma National Park in Vietnam, the rainforests of Borneo, and Mahakam Delta in Indonesia.

Meanwhile in Bumi Indah village, Indonesia, a water-sanitation project funded by one of the Banyan Tree Global Foundation’s grants eliminated plastic waste from an entire village, forever improving the lives of 180 local residents. For the first time, all of the households in the village have access to clean water, in addition to improved kitchen and bathroom facilities. 

“The ongoing pandemic has affected many people in one way or another, but the indigenous communities are especially vulnerable,” says Dr. Steve Newman, assistant vice president, group sustainability director and coordinating director of Banyan Tree Global Foundation. 

Through September 30 of this year, the Banyan Tree Global Foundation is accepting proposal submissions for grants of up to US$10,000. The projects should be ambitious and, most importantly, designed to make lasting, sustainable changes that can combat some of the negative impacts of Covid-19.

In particular, the Board of Directors at the Banyan Tree Global Foundation is looking for projects that improve access to remote education and learning; increase access to fresh water, sanitation, and hygiene; promote alternative livelihood development that sustains the local culture or environment; controls the spread of mosquito-borne diseases; manages food waste; and promotes the physical and mental wellbeing of women and children in vulnerable indigenous communities. 

“We hope to connect with projects related to cultural and social environments and provide them with seed funding to get underway,” Newman says. “At the same time, society as a whole is also facing other pressing issues such as mosquito-borne disease and food waste, which have to be addressed urgently.” 

Despite the impact that Covid-19 has had on the hospitality industry, it’s inspiring to see hotel groups rising to meet the moment and using this time to help those most in need. Here’s to building a brighter future, one innovative idea at a time.

To learn more, or apply for a grant, visit Greater Good Grants.

All photos courtesy of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts

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