As organizations around the world mobilize their networks in ongoing attempts to restore our world, Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International – is intensifying its Caribbean conservation efforts by committing to plant 10,000 trees by June 2022.
The effort forms part of a wider Caribbean Tree Planting Project coordinated by the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance in collaboration with Trees That Feed Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and other partners to plant one million trees across 14 Caribbean countries by June next year.
Over the last 12 years, the Sandals Foundation has engaged local schools, community groups, partners, team members, travel agents, and guests to plant more than 17,000 trees across the Caribbean.
This intensified tree planting mission, while taking on a more controlled approach in line with national Covid-19 protocols, will undoubtedly strengthen the region’s climate resilience as it empowers even more persons to take action in line with this year’s Earth Day theme to ‘Restore Our Earth’.
Through the efforts of environmental partners in each of the seven countries it currently operates, the Sandals Foundation will coordinate the planting of fruit trees, timber and mangroves to protect the terrestrial and coastal zones of the islands.
“Never before has it been more important to reinvest in the sustainability of our natural environment,” Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation says. “Our tourism product as a region, and the livelihoods of all Caribbean people are intricately linked to the health of the environment. It is therefore our duty to play our part to strengthen this amazing ecosystem,” she said.
In 2019 the leadership of the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance recognized the need to accelerate specific activities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Professor Rosalea Hamilton, Chairperson for the Alliance, says planting trees was identified as a practical activity that could help mitigate the threat of climate change.
“Planting trees not only improve soil and water conservation, provide shade, store carbon, regulate temperature extremes, and improve the land’s capacity to adapt to climate change but also provide sustainable livelihoods for many in need. The environmental, economic and related social benefits are essential for Caribbean development,” Hamilton said.
The commitment from the Sandals Foundation, Prof. Hamilton says, “is a great example of corporate partnership and social responsibility in accelerating the achievement of SDGs in the Caribbean!”