Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC has doubled the sustainability content of this year’s Annual Report. In addition to reporting impressive financial achievements, the company has highlighted tremendous positive impacts made on environmental and social aspects. In reaching out to the local communities, the Group has directly and indirectly associated with changing their lives for a brighter future. Group views sustainability as a strategic avenue for growth in the long-term as opposed to ad-hoc philanthropy and provides tremendous opportunities and encouragement to local communities in villages that the hotels are located in.
Managing Director of Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings Mr. J M S Brito explains that “Corporate Sustainability has long been a tradition at Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings. It has been a way to connect with the societies in which we operate, a way to positively contribute to the global fight against global warming and most importantly, a way to enrich the lives of local communities our customers and employees”.
There are many heart warming stories of how local villagers have benefitted from the Aitken Spence hotels for livelihood and how they have improved their living conditions, some climbing very high in the corporate ladder. Thirty seven old Ranjith Kumarasinghe from Palukatula village in Kandalama joined the Heritance Kandalama Hotel as a trainee waiter and today he is the Human Resources Assistant Manager. He still works on his field during time off from work. A former labourer, S. M. Meiyappan was promoted and appointed as the Health Club Assistant at the Heritance Tea Factory. Meiyappan’s local knowledge on birds in the area has helped him to become the Heritance Tea Factory’s trekker as well. He now takes tourists on nature trails. Another former labourer hailing from Hethersett village, J. Sivasamy is now a supervisor with eight staff members working under him at the Hethersett Spring Water Bottling Unit at the Heritance Tea Factory. Sekeralage Siripala, a farmer from Upper Areula village in Kandalama has been playing flute at Heritance Kandalama since its inception for fifteen years, daily payments received from the hotel supplements his farming income .
The stories of Ranjith , Meiyappan, Sivasamy & Siripala and their families are only a few amongst hundreds of many others who are saying thank you to the Aitken Spence Hotels for changing their lives for brighter futures.
Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director Aitken Spence Hotels Management (Pvt) LTD. says “ Our company has for decades infused growth into the local economy through employment generation. It is extremely difficult to isolate our key achievements in sustainability, which covers a wide array of economic gains to environmental protection measures including mitigating Climate Change. However, we feel that the most incredible achievements are always people related; changing lives by spreading economic benefits to those who need it most brings about the best in our company”
Special efforts have been made by the company towards achieving completeness of the Annual Report by adopting universally applicable & accepted disclosure of information according to international reporting standards. The Sustainability Report has been produced based on the reporting framework developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) complying with the G3 guidelines and indicator protocols for economic, environment, human rights, labour, product responsibility and societal performance. The report outlines the company’s progress in embedding the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact and Climate Change mitigation actions.
The best practices followed by the Group for the conservation and protection of the environment have been recognized as global case studies on sustainable tourism. In addition to being the largest hotel group in Sri Lanka, the company is a rapidly growing regional player with a large portfolio of hotels under the brands of ‘Aitken Spence Hotels’ & ‘Resorts and Heritance Hotels & Resorts’ in India, Maldives and Oman.
Media Release – 09 July 2010