Vulnerable members in communities across 12 cities in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka will soon have greater access to reusable face masks with the regional Linens For Life Face Masks (L4LFM) partnership between Shangri-La Group and Diversey, a leading global hygiene solutions provider.
As part of the L4LFM programme, the 12,500kg of used linen donated by 21 Shangri-La hotels will be repurposed into reusable fabric face masks by local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Colombo, Hambantota, Penang, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Surabaya, Jakarta, Cebu, Manila, Singapore, Bangkok and Yangon. In some cities such as Yangon, Manila, Johor Bahru, Jakarta, Surabaya and Bangkok, the upcycling of masks will also generate employment opportunities for members in low socio-economic community groups.
The half-a-million face masks will subsequently be distributed to local communities in need, providing vulnerable members of society with a basic piece of protection that is now mandatory in many countries in the global fight against COVID-19.
The upcycling of clean, used linen into face masks also provides Shangri-La a meaningful way to help reduce environmental wastage. If new linen was produced to manufacture this quantity of fabric masks, it would have incurred 60 million litres of water (the equivalent of 23 Olympic-size swimming pools) and a carbon footprint of 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 63,000 litres of petrol being combusted*.
Mr. Chan Kong Leong, Regional Chief Executive Officer for Shangri-La Group in Southeast Asia & Australasia, said: "At Shangri-La, we have dedicated our last 50 years to caring for our guests, colleagues and local communities. Just as we have elevated our cleaning and safety protocols in our hotels as part of our "Shangri-La Cares" commitment to our guests and colleagues, we are heartened to be able to continue helping and caring for the communities around us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Linens For Life Face Masks programme provides clear health, social and environmental benefits for communities during these challenging times. Not only does it give our used hotel linen a new lease of life, it also provides the most vulnerable with a basic piece of protection and helps sustain livelihoods."
In Bangkok, Thailand, the Group and Diversey have teamed up with Cedar Learning Centre where local community members will upcycle the clean but used bedsheets, duvet covers and pillowcases into face masks and distribute them to refugees and asylum seekers in the city. Volunteers at WHY Loving Care in Penang will create and distribute the masks to vulnerable children in local schools and orphanages, while in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, with the help of the Kechara Soup Kitchen, disadvantaged women will receive an additional source of income from the sewing of face masks which will be distributed among poor families and the homeless.
Mr. Brijesh Rathore, Vice-President, Diversey Asia-Pacific Global Strategic Accounts said: "One of Diversey's global priorities is to support local communities, particularly during COVID-19. The Linens for Life Face Masks Programme is a great example of how Diversey, together with our customer hotels and partner NGOs, are providing simple hygiene items to those who really need them and helping to prevent the spread of infection."
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shangri-La Hotels across the region have continuously sought out opportunities to help their local communities and to uplift spirits - from donating essential items such as groceries to local communities across Southeast Asia and Australasia, to preparing fresh meals and donating personal protection equipment to courageous frontline workers.
With hygiene and safety being top-of-mind for many, the Shangri-La Group has recently introduced its "Shangri-La Cares" commitment, reinforcing the Group's efforts to caring for people as we begin welcoming guests back to our hotels and resorts. As part of its ongoing efforts to create a trusted and nurturing environment for guests, the Group has partnered Diversey to implement a series of safety standards and precautionary measures across its hotels.
Shangri-La's partnership with Diversey on the L4LFM programme builds on the successful Soap For Hope collaboration between the two entities globally, which has seen 427 tonnes of hotel soap slivers recycled into 3.5 million new soap bars for at-risk communities over the past three years. For more information on how the Shangri-La Group is caring for local communities, please visit our Corporate Social Responsibility blog here.
*The environmental impact figures are gleaned from an independent study by Metabolic in The Netherlands - https://www.metabolic.nl/news/improving-the-environmental-performance-of-hotel-linen/. The figures are taken from the life cycle analysis of cotton and poly-cotton linen and cotton towels used in top hotel chains.
About Shangri-La Group's CSR & Sustainability
Shangri-La Group is committed to operating in an economically, socially and environmentally responsible manner while balancing the interests of diverse stakeholders. We strive to be a leader in corporate citizenship and sustainable development and our CSR initiatives are focused on five key areas namely environment & biodiversity, community engagement, sustainable supply chain, employee development and health & safety. The two CSR programmes at the hotel levels - Embrace & Sanctuary - are aimed at promoting education and the environment. Embrace, Shangri-La's Care for People project, looks at the highest level of education and health support needed in under-privileged communities. Sanctuary, Shangri-La's Care for Nature project, promotes the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. For more information, please visit the group's CSR section on www.shangri-la.com.