, May 25, 2011 /ChinaNewswire.com/ - Marriott International Pledges to Continue its Support for Fresh Water Conservation in China.

Sichuan, China (May 25, 2011) /ChinaNewswire.com/ — A high-powered delegation of Marriott International executives led by President Arne Sorenson recently visited the Pingwu County of Sichuan Province in China to see for themselves the first-year performance of its "Nobility of Nature"
programme – an ambitious fresh water conservation programme. The Marriott senior executives acknowledge that it is essential to build on the project's current success and provide bigger support to the fresh water conservation endeavors of China.

Announced in Spring 2010 at the World Expo Shanghai, the "Nobility of Nature" is a collaboration between Marriott International and Conservation International to support fresh water conservation and assist rural communities with sustainable business that put less stress on the environment.

Marriott International has been investing USD500,000 seed money to the "Nobility of Nature" programme. The fund is used to provide grants, training, resources and community development for local villages in Sichuan Province where the world's largest water source is located. The Guanba Village in Pingwu was one of the first sites to receive the support of "Nobility of Nature". The funding helped provide bee hives, state-of-the-art bee farming knowhow and other infrastructure for the Guanba Bee Farming Cooperative.

Heritage of Serving Communities
The members of the Marriott delegation include Arne Sorenson, Asia Pacific President and Managing Director, Simon Cooper; Asia Pacific COO Craig Smith; Regional Vice President – Marketing, Dominic Sherry; Executive Vice President Global Communications & Public Affairs, Kathleen Matthews and Managing Director of JW Marriott Hotel Beijing Robert Fabiano, as well as eight associate representatives from the Marriott hotels in mainland China and Hong Kong. The group visited the Guanba Village as well as the Wanglong wild panda conservation park in Pingwu.

"As I travel the world, I see how important social responsibility is to our guests, customers, associates and of course to our communities," said Sorenson. "The Nobility of Nature programme in China is a great example of this approach. Marriott International extends its 'Spirit to Serve' concept practiced in our hotels for some eight decades, to embrace the integration of social responsibility and sustainability in our business strategies."

Sorenson added that it was important to engage eight associates from Marriott hotels in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Guangzhou and Hong Kong in this visit. "They will become the ambassadors of the Nobility of Nature to promote the importance of water conservation to their colleagues, guests, family members and friends," he continued.

Sweet Taste of Success
For generations the bee farmers of Guanba village adopted the traditional methods of bee farming which were not very efficient. For instance, a bee hive could only produce 10 kg of honey a year. In addition, the farmers could only sell the honey to local wholesaler at a cheap price of about RMB16 per kg because of a lack of marketing know-how.

With the assistance and grant offered by the "Nobility of Nature" programme, the Guanba Bee Farming Cooperative replaced most of the old-fashioned one-piece type of bee hives with the advanced multi-slide ones. The new hive can produce 20 to 25kg of honey every year.

The Cooperative has also appointed a full-time patrol inspector to ensure that the water resources nearby are well protected. According to its farmers, clean water is pivotal to the well-being of floral plants which in result will lead to quality honey. The Guanba honey is made from some 15 different kinds of flowers and is sweeter than those produced in other areas.

In order that the Guanba honey can be marketed at a price that matches with its exceptional quality, Marriott International advised the Cooperative to apply for organic food certification last summer. It also invited Wuxi Chengbao Foods Co. Ltd, Marriott International’s preferred juice vendor in China, to support this initiative. Chengbao offered the Cooperative with counsel on certification application and helped design a trendy packaging for the Guanba honey for free.

In October 2010, the Guanba honey in a brand-new outlook was available for retail sale in the entire hotel network of Marriott International in China. The newly designed packing of Guanba’s honey features a stylish jar, a wrapping strip highlighting its 100% organic nature, as well as a tag that details the story of Nobility of Nature and the Guanba Bee Farming Cooperative.

"Marriott International has an enormous network of some 60 hotels in China, more importantly, our guests also support sustainability. Through marketing the Guanba honey in our hotels, this helps ensure our first Nobility of Nature project a huge success," said Simon Copper. "It turns out that our guests are very pleased to take part in this meaning initiative, and enjoy this sweet, 100% organic and quality honey."

The proceeds of selling the Guanba honey in Marriott hotels are used to provide further support to the development of the Cooperative. When meeting the Marriott International senior executives, the Guanba villagers had a nice surprise as they were told that part of the proceeds would be used to purchase a truck for them. The truck will bring a lot of mileage in increasing the operation efficiency of the Cooperative.

Marriott International and Conservation International are now reviewing the application of a second project target to be supported by the "Nobility of Nature" program.

About Marriott International, Inc
Marriott International is a leading lodging company with more than 3,400 lodging properties in 70 countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, the Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club and Grand Residences by Marriott brands; licenses and manages whole-ownership residential brands, including The Ritz-Carlton Residences, JW Marriott Residences and Marriott Residences; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, USA and had approximately 137,000 employees at 2009 yearend. It is recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the best companies to work for, and by Newsweek magazine as one of the greenest big companies in America. In fiscal year 2009, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of nearly $11 billion. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at www.marriott.com For the latest company news, please visit www.marriottnewscenter.com

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Source: marriottinternational