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It’s Climate Change and Tourism for Serena Hotels: 13,000 More Seedlings towards Mau Conservation.

It’s Climate Change and Tourism for Serena Hotels: 13,000 More Seedlings towards Mau Conservation.

May 5th 2011:“…True to the Serena Hotels Eco Policy, we are determined to set a benchmark for responsible tourism in the communities in which we operate...” These were the undisputed words of Serena Hotels Managing Director Mahmud Jan Mohamed who has vowed to rise up to the challenge of planting 10Million trees over the coming years in recognition of the 2011 United Nations International Year of the Forests through the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for Environment (PSAKFE). This is just but a drop in the ocean, considering the 100Million trees planted by The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Asia and Africa over the last 25 years.

 

Friday6th May 2011 saw Serena Hotels’ Management, Staff and other Stakeholders, together with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) converge at Nderit Forest in Mau for the tree launch.  As one of the stakeholders in the Mau, Serena Hotels, Lodges and Resorts is very proud of the Mara Serena Safari Lodge which today draws its water supply from the Mara River besides the wildlife (the Great Migration) that is of great interest to its guests.

 

Serena Hotels has requested for a Block in the Western Mau Forest where it expects to be allocated about 100 hectares with a possibility of extension. Meanwhile, it will be working in partnership with African Wildlife Fund (AWF) which has been allocated 4,000 hectares. It is on the AWF Block (In Nderit Forest) that Serena Hotels planted the 13,000 seedlings on 6th May, 2011.

 

AKDN uttermost aim is to plant enough trees (including those planted in Serena Hotel Lodges in East Africa) and claim for Carbon Credit, later.The over 2 million trees Serena has planted at its Lodges, schools and government forests have been enumerated in the UNEP’s ‘The Billion Tree Campaign’.In the world today however, sustainable tourism entails striving to be carbon neutral. This means balancing  carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions that are produced from tourism-related activities like air travel, auto travel, heating, electricity,etc with equivalent carbon reduction activities elsewhere (offsets).

 

Carbon offsetting has roots in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that calls on polluting nations to reduce their greenhouse gases (GHG) emission levels and sets out fines for developed countries that exceed emission targets. By ratifying the agreement, the developing countries like Kenya having no GHG emission reduction obligations can participate in GHG reduction through clean development mechanism (CDM)  projects.

 

Statistics show that registered CDM projects worldwide is disappointingly low with none in Kenya, 20 in Africa and only 708 the whole world. Clearly, rather than wait to have registered carbon sequestration projects, there is need for tourism in East Africa to take action to minimize its carbon footprint. To that end therefore, Serena Hotels is working towards being fully carbon neutral by offsetting its carbon through community support and carbon reduction projects. In addition to this, Serena has introduced programs that offer guests the opportunity to offset carbon emissions by allowing them to contribute to community projects which aim at reducing GHG such as the reforestation.

 

Serena guests and property locals take up the responsibility of offsetting their carbon footprints every time they visit the facilities by planting at least five trees. Currently, this practice is at all Serena Lodges in Kenya. Amboseli Serena, being the pioneer in tree planting project from 1991, has a total of about one million trees that have taken root.

 

 

Serena Hotels Corporate Environmental Mission Statement:

 

We are committed to developing projects which pay the highest regard to environmental concerns in design, planning, construction and operation.

 

We will practice a responsible attitude towards energy conservation; reducing and recycling waste; control of sewage disposal, air – emissions and pollutants; reduce use of unfriendly products such as CFC’s, pesticides and other toxic substances; reduce noise and visual pollution.

 

We will be sensitive to the conservation of environmentally protected or threatened areas, species and scenic aesthetics and to achieving landscape enhancement where possible, with indigenous plant material reinforcement.

 

We must conserve rather than exploit nature.

 

For more information, please contact: Victoria Nyamunga, PR Executive, Serena Hotels

vnyamunga@serena.co.ke

020-284283/ 0734699868

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