Corporate community engagement—also known as corporate community involvement or corporate community investment - refers to the activities that a company undertakes to enhance its relationships with, and contribute to the well-being of, the communities in which it has a presence or impact
It is the most visible way an organisation can demonstrate its ethics. It entails many different kinds of initiatives and actions, from donations to community partnerships, employee volunteering to work placements, but generally involves a company giving its resources in the form of time, money and products or services to a social or environmental cause.
The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP)’s Giving in Numbers report on trends in corporate philanthropy in 2010 is based on data collected from 184 companies including 63 of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500. The main findings were:
- The median total giving was $22.10 million;
- The typical company provides 81% of its giving in cash;
- 94% of companies offered at least one matching-gift programme;
- 89% of companies had a formal domestic employee volunteer programme;
- Health, education, and community and economic development were top priorities
Over the years, corporate community engagement has shifted away from philanthropic donations and ad hoc practices to a more sophisticated, strategic approach that aligns development priorities of local communities with the goals of the business, whether it is gaining a licence to operate, enhancing its reputation or improving productivity (see below).
For example, an HIV/AIDS programme launched in East Africa by Serena Hotels resulted in greatly improved productivity among the workforce as a result of lower absenteeism and reduced mortality. Today, the hotel group has expanded this into a broader wellness programme covering the full range of health issues affecting its staff.
According to a 2007 report, Corporate Community Investment in Australia, commissioned by the Australian Centre for Corporate Public Affairs and the Business Council of Australia, 75% of the 115 large companies surveyed indicated that they are increasingly looking to community engagement as a key contributor to their long-term commercial interests.
This is supported by Jon Lloyd, head of Corporate Citizenship, a management consultancy company with offices in the US and the UK. “Effective community engagement should deliver benefits for both community and the business, and companies should not be shy about expecting a return where appropriate,” he says. “However, the interests of the community must be centre stage and unless there is a clear and real impact on the community you can risk accusations of green wash.”
Why engage with communities: Main benefits for business
Licence to operate
There are many potential social challenges to a company’s “freedom” or “licence” to operate. It might include grassroots mobilisation to stop the development of a new building, or a boycott of a company deemed insensitive to a local issue. Companies need to find ways to prevent or reduce these obstacles, which means engaging and developing a strong relationship with communities built on goodwill and trust.
Other operating benefits resulting from corporate community engagement might include easier entry to the market, more favourable government relations and regulatory rulings, and the reduced risk of lawsuits, work stoppages or shareholder activism.
“Today, nobody has a licence to operate if they don’t have respect in the way they do business, be it labour issues, the supply chain, etc,” explains Patricia Gallardo, CSR director, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. “You take a resort that you are opening... it was a fishing and farming village and immediately when you open you are destroying the surrounding habitat. We don’t have the social licence to operate unless we work with the local community, design it in a way that respects the habitat and the species that they know and are used to.”
Enhanced corporate image
Corporate engagement is increasingly used by customers, shareholders, investors, employees and other community groups to measure a company’s performance. An organisation that can demonstrate strong values and a commitment to the community will enjoy an improved reputation and one that differentiates it from its competitors, potentially increasing customer loyalty and driving sales.
For any number of hotels with a strong community engagement programme, their investment in education and skills training and support for developing sustainable sources of income all communicate positively to shareholders, employees and guests about the values of the company. Wyndham Xiamen Hotel organises community events throughout the year specifically to have a positive impact on the host community and so enhance its reputation locally.
Community activities include special visits to the hotel for its employees’ children, donating clothes to remote rural areas in China, and organising for staff volunteers to clean up the local environment.
Companies showing leadership in community engagement are often seen as more attractive to investors. The FTSE4Good Index Series, for example, measures a company’s performance against globally recognised corporate responsibility standards and facilitates investment in these companies; an important part of such ratings is community activity.
Attracting shareholders is one of the many business drivers of community engagement for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. As well as giving back, it believes its communities not only become better places to live, work and do business, but it helps enhance the group’s corporate reputation, as well as attracting guests, employees and shareholders.
Support human resources goals
Employees’ involvement with corporate community engagement programmes offer companies an opportunity not only to develop staff skills, such as teamwork and communication, but also to foster a sense of purpose and a positive culture within the company, increasing morale and motivation, improving staff performance, reducing absenteeism and increasing a company’s ability to attract and retain employees.
The 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, which targeted employed adults aged 21-35 in the US, found that even if people do not generally volunteer in community engagement activities, the majority (61%) consider a company’s commitment to the community when making a job decision. It also found that employees who frequently volunteer are more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied employees and are twice as likely to rate the corporate culture as “very positive” compared to those who do not.
Evan Hochberg, national director, community involvement, Deloitte Services, says: “Corporate volunteer programmes are first and foremost set up to give back to the community but they are equally being measured at Deloitte and other companies on how they drive a company’s talent strategy and even their brand and marketing and reputation. Organisations need to appreciate that these are not just nice-to-do activities; if done well, they drive the bottom line.”
Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London encourages its staff to get involved in community initiatives, including volunteer days with a children’s charity and river clean-ups of the Thames, through LeapCR, a company that provides an IT platform linking businesses to charities. Gerard Denneny, the hotel manager, says that these activities have helped improve employee retention as well as the group’s efficiency at meeting CSR targets.
For InterContinental Hotels Group, the creation of local economic opportunities through education, training and employment as part of its IHG Academy programme puts it at the leading edge of its sector, giving the group a competitive advantage and resonating with key external stakeholders, including corporate clients.
They can also be a more cost-effective way of developing skills. According to Volunteering: The Business Case, a 2010 report commissioned by the City of London, the costs of developing skills through volunteering is considerably lower than more traditional approaches to training and development. Teaching individuals in the community new skills and knowledge also strengthens the talent pool available to a company. This may be particularly applicable for hoteliers in locations where there is a shortage of qualified labour.
AN ORGANISATION THAT CAN DEMONSTRATE STRONG VALUES AND A COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNOTY WILL ENJOY AN IMPROVED REPUTATION AND ONE THAT DIFFERENTIATES IT FROM ITS COMPETITORS
The benefits for communities
There are many ways communities benefit from corporate community engagement, including:
Access to jobs and livelihood development
Providing employment and building capacity to give people the skills, ability and confidence to earn a living and take a leading role in developing their communities is an essential element of community engagement. It helps address local unemployment, a major contributing factor to child poverty, ill health, crime and homelessness, and promotes self-reliance. As part of their community engagement programmes, companies often support projects that promote new types of livelihoods, particularly where current activities are unsustainable.
Many corporate community engagement initiatives focus on enhancing the local environment, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sectors where business depends on the quality of the surroundings. Whether the focus of activities is environmental education, clean-ups, wildlife or water conservation, recycling or energy efficiency, the result for communities should be an improved quality of life and more efficient use of resources.
Health and education improvements
In areas where diseases, such as malaria or HIV/AIDS, are rife, community engagement programmes will often focus on health issues, whether it is raising health awareness among employees or supporting medical care. Fairmont’s Makkah Clock Royal Tower in Saudi Arabia is working with the Ebsar Foundation to support people who are on the verge of losing their eyesight. Many community programmes also focus on improving educational opportunities for local people, from building schools to offering scholarships.
Infrastructure and facilities investment
Companies will often help to develop new infrastructure, such as roads or public utilities, in ways that complement or help fulfil local needs. This is particularly so for high-end hotels in developing countries, which often have to create infrastructure where none existed before. Businesses will also fund NGOs specialising in infrastructure development in the countries where they do business. Whitbread, in partnership with WaterAid, is funding a water project in 30 slums around Jajmau in Kanpur, India, which is creating self-help groups to build new and repair existing water sources, train mechanics to sustain and manage water and sanitation facilities, and construct child-friendly toilets.
Conservation of local heritage
Community engagement can help to sustain traditional ways of life and livelihoods. In the tourism and hospitality sectors, this might include promoting authentic homestays in local villages or supporting local craftsmen and women. Every Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts property showcases cottage industry crafts to help support the livelihoods of local artisans, while Orient-Express’ new Palacio Nazarenas property in Cuzco, Peru, has commissioned local people to make the textiles and furniture for the hotel’s interiors.
Spotlight on Costa Coffee
Costa Coffee, part of the Whitbread Group, launched the Costa Foundation in 2006; its target is to raise sufficient funds to educate 15,000 children in coffee-growing communities by 2012. Piers Blake, Foundation Manager, says: “In just three years, we have built 11 schools in Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Uganda. That's a total of 55 classrooms that are now being used by 6,700 children who otherwise wouldn't be going to school at all.”
There is also a deeper story of community empowerment, according to Tony Rowson, Regional Operations Director, Costa Coffee, and a Foundation trustee: "At Kilenso Rasa in Ethiopia, where we built a high school, there’s been a knock-on effect on the community. They managed to collect their own money to buy more land so we could expand the school, and they are now hand-building the road leading to it. There is a real sense that the school has triggered a desire among the community to help themselves.”
For more information, visit www.costa.co.uk .
Spotlight on the Youth Career Initiative
The Youth Career Initiative (YCI), a programme of the International Tourism Partnership and the International Business Leaders Forum, is one of the most successful industry-wide engagement projects. Supported by some of the biggest international hotel groups, including Four Seasons, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt, Marriott, Orient-Express, Starwood, Hilton, Carlson Rezidor and NH Hoteles, it is a six-month education programme providing disadvantaged young people, aged 18-21, with life and work skills. Participating hotels provide the human, operational and training resources to deliver the programme, combining theoretical and practical instruction and mentoring, with most of the tuition coming from senior managers and highly experienced staff. Each of the 11 country programmes, operating from Australia to Vietnam, tailors YCI’s global core standards to suit the local needs of its young people.
For more information, visit www.youthcareerinitiative.org .
Effective Community Engagement: Best Practise
Have a strategy
Effective community engagement should be based on a clear strategy aligned to a company’s business objectives and related to a company’s core competencies (see below) rather than reacting to a community’s requests on an ad hoc basis. “People need to understand why you are doing what you are doing or it may be perceived as being tokenistic or opportunistic,” says Jon Lloyd of Corporate Citizenship. “By telling the clear story of why you are supporting particular causes, aligned to your business, you are more likely to engage with stakeholders, and bring authenticity to what you do.”
Choose your activities carefully
A study of 60 international companies operating on six continents, Getting It Right: Making Corporate-Community Relations Work (Greenleaf Publishing) found that there was no correlation (and sometimes even a reverse correlation) between the amount of money spent on community programmes and the quality of the relationship with the community. This is supported by the International Finance Corporation’s Strategic Community Investment handbook, which states that companies focusing on high-quality initiatives in a few, well-defined areas tend to achieve greater impact and recognition than those that spread resources across many different activities.
Focus on your core attributes
Support community engagement programmes and activities in areas where you as a business have most to offer and where there are links to your business interests. As well as giving greater focus and direction, this approach is more likely to receive internal support and resources. “Drawing on the skills and knowledge within your business delivers the biggest impact,” says Jon Lloyd. “It makes sense, for example, for hotels to offer hospitality training, employment to local populations, and to mitigate against any local environmental impact.”
Accor Hotels in Indonesia are providing healthy meals to disadvantaged children, while InterContinental Hotels Group’s IHG Academy programme provides hospitality training. Many of the large international hotel groups are partners of The Youth Career Initiative, a six-month education programme providing life and work experience for disadvantaged young people.
Establish long-term objectives
The risk of quick impact projects and donations is that it can create dependency, so make sure your activities support activities offering long-term benefits. It may be wise to establish a few short-term goals, too, which can be used to respond to different business needs at various stages of the programme, such as using high-visibility projects at the start to show tangible benefits and gain acceptance. “Good community programmes should strike a balance between one-off, short-term activities and longer-term engagement,” says Jon Lloyd of Corporate Citizenship. “Short-term engagement can be a visible part of community engagement, help local communities and build team spirit. However, real benefits are often to be had from a long-term commitment.”
Measure the social value
As community investment becomes more strategic, companies want to know what impact their activities are having and how to allocate money, time and other resources to generate the highest social value.
This requires effective measurement, which will inform a company of:
- the impact of its investment;
- how it is viewed by the local community;
- if (and how) it brings business value;
Measuring the success of a community engagement programme is challenging, and many companies use external auditors or researchers to help them.
Common measuring techniques include questionnaires, employee job satisfaction surveys, tracking volunteer hours, customer awareness and support, media tracking, the number of young mentored people who enter employment within one year of the programme, or the improved output or retention rate as a result of a volunteering scheme.
Carlson Rezidor uses several ways to measure the success of its community engagement programmes, reported in its annual responsible business report, including employee satisfaction surveys, the amount raised for corporate and local charities, the number of hotels participating in its Responsible Business Action Month and the number of hours volunteered.
Companies often combine their own internal measurements with third-party tools, such as the London Benchmarking Group (LBG) model, to help them report their own performance and benchmark it against other companies. The LBG is widely regarded as the international standard and is used by companies to measure their overall contribution to the community in terms of cash, time and in-kind donations, as well as management costs. It also assesses what their investment achieves in terms of community benefits and business impacts.
Building a relationship with the community
Companies are moving away from simply assessing a community’s “needs” and “wants”, which can result in a long wish list and unrealistic expectations of how a business can meet these requirements. A more successful approach is participatory and collaborative based on a mutual trust, transparency and building consensus.
Manage expectations Define roles and responsibilities and communicate these clearly. Don’t promise what cannot be delivered.
Meet commitments Monitor what you have promised and follow through.
Share control Recognise that you will need to relinquish some control in exchange for sharing the risks and greater local ownership.
Investment Be prepared to provide the resources necessary in terms of expertise, facilitation and capacity-building.
Recognise diversity Communities are heterogeneous, so make sure all groups in a community participate.
- Religion and cultural beliefs may not favour equal participation and a fair distribution of benefits. For example, women may be excluded from decision-making or the power in a community may be highly stratified and dominated by a select few;
- Tensions in areas of conflict or post-conflict could be aggravated over resources;
- Mistrust due to the past actions of companies or the government;
- Lack of suitable local partners, such as NGOs and community-based organisations; and
- Corruption or vested interest may hinder good governance when dealing with local or national government.
- a deeper understanding and relationship with the community;
- reputational capital by association; and
- additional resources where corporate staffing or budget is limited.
- Finding a partner
- Many companies find that teaming up with a local partner, whether it is an NGO, school, business, community-based organisation or local or national government, can enhance the success of a community engagement programme. A partnership with a well-regarded organisation can offer:
- a deeper understanding and relationship with the community;
- reputational capital by association; and
- additional resources where corporate staffing or budget is limited.
Companies should identify stakeholders and potential partners and find out about existing local programmes and initiatives that it could support. They should also identify the type of expertise, skills and delivery capacity available and which projects have worked well in the past. Bear in mind that long-term partnerships are more effective; skills transfer and building capacity, for example, can only be developed over time.
Companies are also partnering up with other businesses to bring together diverse expertise. IBM found its clients were increasingly looking for opportunities to collaborate on community programmes. One such programme is IBM’s KidSmart, which makes computers loaded with educational software available to pre-school children.
Spotlight on Marriott International
Marriott International, in partnership with the state government of Amazonas in Brazil, is helping to preserve the endangered Brazilian rainforest in the 600,000-hectare Juma Sustainable Development Reserve. This involves a $2 million commitment over four years, together with donations from guests invited to offset carbon emissions. The award-winning project provides employment, education and healthcare for the reserve’s approximately 2,000 residents, who receive a monthly stipend and training in a sustainable livelihood such as Brazil nut harvesting and chicken farming. The programme has also provided residents with electricity, access to computers and internet, education beyond primary school age and basic local medical care.
In China, Marriott is working with Conservation International to promote water conservation. The hotel group has pledged $500,000 over two years to Nobility of Nature to assist rural communities in building sustainable business alternatives to hillside farming and logging. In the Sichuan Province, it is funding an initiative to develop a village’s honey industry. The hotel group is also buying the certified-organic honey to use in most of its Chinese hotels and selling it in its shops with proceeds going to the project.
For more information, visit www.marriott.com .
Spotlight on ENGAGE
Business in the Community’s ENGAGE initiative provides an opportunity for business and community partners to positively impact on a number of cities, from Beijing to Istanbul, Paris to Valencia. Each project is designed and funded locally to address key social issues, such as employability in young people, social inclusion and health and wellbeing. Groups of five to 15 companies, often a mix of multinational and local companies, pool available resources and work together to increase the impact.
ENGAGE also has an online Toolkit to help companies develop their Employee Community Engagement programmes internationally.
For more information, visit www.bitc.org.uk/global 
Community Engagement Activities
This refers to financial contributions to NGOs or community organisations to address various social, economic and environmental needs in disadvantaged communities. They might include:
- Corporate donations: Charitable grants allocated for a budget period.
- Employee matching gifts/funds: Companies match their employees’ contributions to charitable causes.
- Charitable corporate foundations: Traditional ways of channelling funds for community investment, which receive their income in various ways, include regular company donations or endowments linked to a company’s profits. Increasingly companies are making donations that are formal, structured and integrated with their business strategy.
AS COMMUNITY INVESTMENT BECOMES MORE STRATEGIC, COMPANIES WANT TO KNOW WHAT IMPACT THEIR ACTIVITIES ARE HAVING AND HOW TO ALLOCATE MONEY, TIME AND OTHER RESOURCES TO GENERATE THE HIGHEST SOCIAL VALUE
These are community donations made in goods and services rather than money. There are many examples of in-kind initiatives in the hospitality sector, including the Tablée des Chefs Food Recovery programme at Fairmont Tremblant and Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu in Quebec, Canada, which distributes food surplus from hotels and restaurants to families in need. Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore partners with Food from the Heart to donate unsold baked goods to welfare organisations and needy families, and the Boston-based Saunders Hotel Group give outdated furniture, TVs, linens and other items to homeless shelters.
Education, training and skills transfer
A company can build the capacity of the community by equipping individuals with new knowledge and skills to increase their opportunities and quality of life. This may involve everything from building and funding primary and secondary schools to work placements, mentoring, training partnerships with a local school or college, college scholarships or apprenticeships. The tourism and hospitality industry are particularly pro-active in this area; as well as providing individuals in the community with better employment opportunities, it creates a pool of potential recruits.
The American Express Foundation contributes to The Global Travel & Tourism Partnership (GTTP), which works together with education authorities, tourism ministries and companies to provide in-depth tourism-sector training to young people around the world. In Russia, for example, GTTP’s schools have expanded beyond St Petersburg and Moscow to cities from the Baltic to the Sea of Japan. In April 2010, there were 126,480 students in 1,971 schools studying the new curriculum developed by the GTTP.
As the recycling industry increasingly finds ways of turning waste into new products, so the choice of quality items made out of recycled and/or reclaimed content will grow. Responsible procurement managers will be increasingly looking to the recycling industry as a supplier of alternative “green” products, whether it is recycled aggregates for construction, crockery and glasses made from reclaimed materials or furniture created from salvaged timber. At Starwood Hotels & Resort’s Element hotels, for example, carpets are made with up to 100% recycled content and wall art is mounted on bases made from reused car tires.
Employee-volunteer programmes are planned and managed efforts that enable employees to volunteer under their employer’s sponsorship and leadership. It could include short secondments in a community organisation, board membership to offer professional and managerial expertise, or virtual volunteering, which might include email mentoring or a “listening” chat room.
Today, the emphasis is on using the skills employees gain through their everyday work—whether it is management expertise or creating an Excel spreadsheet—rather than seeing it as a chance to do something outside an individual’s skill set. Companies may have a structured programme of volunteering, usually working with a charity partner, and an employer will support it in work time, often by allowing employees a set amount of time, paid leave, or outside work time.
Team-building exercises involving a group of staff working together to achieve a specific benefit for the community, such as cleaning up a beach or building a school, are also popular. IBM’s Corporate Service Corps brings together teams of up to 10 staff to spend a month working on a project with a small business or NGO in an emerging market. The initiative is designed to build employees’ leadership skills and knowledge for doing business in these markets.
Best practice for employee volunteering include:
- Building a corporate culture that promotes volunteering;
- Establishing a volunteer recognition/awards programme; and
- Using volunteering as a tool for professional development.
Using local suppliers for goods and services draws on existing resources and expands opportunities for local businesses. Your company can provide business advice and one-to-one mentoring or skills development to help local companies meet your procurement standards.
This might include raising money for charitable causes with the support of the employer, such as matched funding or fundraising during work time. Whitbread will match employees’ fundraising pound for pound and double-match employees’ first donation.
Many companies collect funds, either through employee fundraising activities or guest donations, to support communities in times of disaster. Hyatt Hotels raised funds to support the recovery effort in Japan after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami of 2011; employees worldwide donated over US$95,000 to the Japanese Red Cross Society, while Park Hyatt Tokyo employees brought five truckloads of food and supplies to serve healthy meals to hundreds of evacuees.
Companies can empower local communities by providing information so they know their rights and support them in their attempts to address particular issues.
Involving guests in corporate community engagement programmes is a growing area in the hospitality sector. “Hospitality is increasingly about creating memories for guests,” says Sarah Dayboll, environmental affairs director, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts International.
This is particularly the case in the meetings and events sector, where planners are increasingly interested in a hotel’s commitment to its community and the opportunities for delegates to leave a positive legacy on the destination they visit .
Fairmont’s Meetings that Matter programme offers corporate guests the opportunity to give back to the community, from baking bread to give to a local shelter to building homes for disadvantaged families. IHG’s Insider Collection is a global meeting initiative designed to offer meetings and events “with authentic local flavour”, with community team-building activities that include renovating a local Fijian primary school or lending a hand at a Sydney soup kitchen.
Hotels are also meeting the demand for ““volu-tourism”, with guests increasingly wanting to volunteer and experience first-hand community programmes. The “Give & Get” programme, at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort in Florida, rewards guests who undertake such activities as renovating a butterfly garden, building homes or helping out at Marco Island's first local high school, by offering discounts on their stay.
Rezidor’s Radisson Blu hotel in El Quseir, Egypt, has built a development centre where guests can get involved in local music and cooking, and teach language and information technology to local residents. It helps tourists and locals relate to each other and see their common humanity—particularly important when Red Sea resorts have been the target of terrorism attacks in recent years.
Developing a Community Strategy
Companies can structure their community engagement with the focus coming from the top of the company, either globally or locally, or from employees on the ground. Most companies tend to use a combination of approaches, with many preferring to provide a clear structure with the flexibility to reflect the needs of individual markets.
Define a vision
Define your vision or sense of purpose for community engagement. It might include what the company stands for, how it sees its role and what legacy it wants to leave. Whitbread’s vision is: “To be a leader in the field of partnerships between business, the community and the public sector, demonstrating that working together for the common good is a responsibility of the Company and good business practice.”
Establish the business case
Decide how community engagement can help your company meet its business objectives and reduce its risks. Quantify the business value of your programme by estimating the cost of the project relative to the estimated value of the business benefits generated.
Planning a programme
Consult communities, local NGOs, employees and other stakeholders to identify the local communities’ most pressing needs and establish where you can most effectively help, matched to your expertise and business objectives. If you are already engaged in community activities, assess which ones are working well and which are not. Identify your selection criteria for which projects you will support, and make sure it is clear and transparent.
Delivering the programme
Decide whether you are going to implement the community engagement programme yourself or work with local partners. Find out which programmes and initiatives already operate locally that you could support, what type of expertise, skills and delivery capacity already exists, and which projects have worked well in the past. Plan how roles and responsibilities will evolve and consider what will be needed to sustain the activity in your absence by ensuring partners are equipped to eventually take over.
Identify which of the interested parties, from employees to NGOs, local government and community groups, will need skills training, management know-how, technical advice, etc. Then decide what type of capacity-building, from training to secondments and mentoring, will be most appropriate.
Decide on budget and resources
The International Finance Corporation says community engagement budgets should be needs-driven not budget-driven, although in reality they are normally budget-driven. In any case, companies should provide regular, flexible funding that can respond to changing circumstances at various stages of the programme, from the planning stage to the project end.
Measure the value of the programmes
Monitor and evaluate your community engagement programme. This will enable your company to allocate money, time and other resources to achieve the highest social value as well as driving performance improvements, increasing the credibility of the investment and making it easier to communicate the business and community value.
Identify the various audiences, from senior management to local communities and the investor community, and tailor the message to each group using a range of communications channels, from the media to community meetings, government briefings and brochures. Getting guests involved in some aspect of community engagement is a powerful way of communicating what your company is doing.
Spotlight on The Box Appeal
In 2007, Radisson Blu Dubai Media City launched a campaign that has since been expanded across the Middle East. Working with the Red Crescent, the Box Appeal asks local communities and businesses to fill a shoe box with essential everyday items, from toothpaste to shaving cream, distributing them to impoverished labourers in the region.
In 2011, the month-long campaign collected its target of 10,000 boxes from Radisson Blu and Park Inn Hotel properties in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Cairo. The appeal relied heavily on public and community relations. Partnerships were established with local companies, and the hotels worked closely with community groups, women’s guilds, religious institutions and embassies. A Box Appeal Facebook page was set up to bring the community together and local media was used to promote the initiative, which made the front page news around the region.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/theboxappeal 
Spotlight on Accor’s A Tree for A Child
This initiative, established in Indonesia by Accor Hotels and the Yayasan Peduli Tunas Bangsa (A Tree for a Child) Foundation in 2001, promotes the education, healthcare and nutrition of “at risk” children as well as helping to reforest areas of central Java and provide work for local farmers.
The plantation project, a collaboration with the Indonesia Ministry of Forestry, French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), has seen the reforestation of 70 hectares of land, the planting of over 100,000 commercially viable Sengon trees, and the creation of 150 jobs for villagers. The income from the tree harvesting is divided between the forestry company, farmers and the Foundation, which re-invests it into its education programme for children, including scholarships and food and health support.
“Accor employs a dedicated full-time social coordinator and an assistant to maintain regular contact with all stakeholders and to monitor the programme regularly to ensure its effectiveness,” says Ade Noerwenda, human resources director, Accor Malaysia-Indonesia-Singapore. Funds are raised through the sale of merchandise at Accor’s Indonesian hotels, personal donations from employees and guests, and events such as a golf tournament. Accor uses an annual scorecard to measure the initiative’s impact on the community, employees and the company.
Australian Centre for Corporate Public Affairs
Business in the Community
Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College
Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
International Finance Corporation
InterContinental Hotels Group
Jumeirah Carlton Tower
London Benchmarking Group
A Tree for a Child
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
Soria Moria Boutique Hotel
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Tourism for Tomorrow Awards
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
Youth Career Initiative
Corporate Community Involvement
Corporate Community Solutions
The Global Travel & Tourism Partnership