More than 50 Agoda employees, including CEO John Brown worked alongside the local Chiang Mai community to kick start the planting of 6,000 trees as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility sustainability initiative in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Thailand.
Left to right: 1. Mr. Apiwat Khonjaiboon (Director of the School of Forest Industry Organization No. 13), 2. Mr. Tuan Pham (Head of Sustainability & CSR, Agoda), 3. Mr. Sriwan Prapatsornwattanakul (Chief Executive of the Kong Khaek Sub District Administration Organization), 4. Mr. Ply Pirom (Project Manager, WWF Thailand), 5. Mr. Yingyong Vityananan (Head of Sustainable Market & Partnership, WWF Thailand), 6. Mr. John Brown (CEO, Agoda), 7. Mr. Rattapat Srichanklad (FLR349 Fund Secretary), 8. Mrs. Wattana Khrangsee (Director of the Mae Chaem Cooperative Land Settlement Office), 9. Mr. Preecha Kannika (Deputy Chief Executive of the Kong Khaek Sub District Administration Organization), 10. Ms. Kevalin Athayu (Manager of Sustainability & Global Affairs, Agoda).
In this, the first venture with WWF, Agoda pledged to plant trees on behalf of its 2019 Gold Circle Award winning hotel partners in Thailand and China, and on Friday 14 August 2020 Agodans, some of its hotel partners, alongside local community volunteers, students from the School of Forest Industry Organization No. 13 pitched in to get planting some of the 6,000 trees. The teams prepared the fertilizers and planted seedlings, as part of the WWF effort which also incentivizes ten farming families that manage this land to shift from mono-agriculture farming to Three Forests Four Benefits way of managing the land to help restore the environment and stop topsoil destruction.
“Through the multi-stakeholder setting of this forest reforestation project FLR349, WWF is grateful to work with Agoda, who holds great potential to mitigate climate impact and improve the livelihoods of those living in the local community. We share the same vision to return forests in headwater areas back to abundant levels, build sustainable careers for farmers, restore the local food system, and promote sustainable tourism,” said Ply Pirom, Project Manager (Sustainable Consumption and Production) of WWF-Thailand.
“We are proud to be part of this project and to work with WWF, which directly benefits smallholder farmers, and on a larger scale, the wider rural community and ecosystem. At Agoda, we passionately committed to giving back to the community in a meaningful way, whether that’s helping small business owners throughout Thailand to connect with, and benefit from the economic and social benefits of tourism in a sustainable way or supporting local community initiatives such as this one, which we can provide both a financial contribution but also ensure we volunteer our time and efforts too.
As Agoda is working on expanding its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives this year. Giving back is an important element of Agoda culture, employees can take volunteer paid time off, to participate in causes close to their heart. In order to further instill volunteering as a part of Agoda DNA, the sustainability teams at Agoda have launched tools like Kiva – a microlending platform as well as Benevity to Agoda employees in all its 30 country offices,’’ said Tuan Pham, Head of Sustainability and CSR at Agoda.
The project is part of WWF’s Forest Landscape Restoration Fund 349 (FLR 349), following King Rama XI of Thailand’s principles of Three Forests Four Benefits. Its mission is to restore ecosystem, create sustainable food system to help farmers to escape the debt cycle arisen from monoculture and at the same time conserve the soil, watersheds, and natural forest. Reforestation has tremendous ecological and environmental value. It also helps to restore clean air as well as reduce floods. Chiang Mai is known to be prone to flooding.