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8 \ News \ February 2013

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NEWS AND ANALYSIS:

Putting sustainability on the menu Africa’s leading hotel group blazes a trail for sustainability. Accor, Africa’s largest hotel group, is planning to build 35 new hotels in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020, the company announced. The Accor group already has 116 hotels in 18 countries and increasing urbanisation and demand for rooms of international standard are driving this expansion. In conjunction with these new plans the hotel group has launched a

sustainable development programme called Planet 21, structured into seven pillars. These include: health, nature, carbon, innovation, local development, employment and dialogue. Accor claims that their sustainable objectives are quantifiable, and include an innovative programme to use educational messages to “inform and encourage customers to contribute actively.” Recent examples of this sustainability policy include: tree planting, employee health care schemes, and responsible fishing policies. The company has also

supported 14 reforestation projects in Africa and a total of 1,251,000 trees have been planted. Another aspect of the group’s sustainability programme includes supporting local development schemes, such as buying local produce for their restaurants. An example of this is their sustainable seafood procurement programme in Senegal, which was set up in collaboration with an NGO in the country. As a result of this, Accor has divised a guide to sustainable seafood procurement which is used by all of their hotels.

Zambia’s eco-emeralds Gemfields reaffirms its commitment to ethical emerald mining in Zambia. by Rachael Kirby 2013 Gemstone mining company Gemfields plc, have released a statement that reaffirms the best interests of the Zambian people and

government as its main priority at Kagem emerald mine in Lufwanyama. The AIM-listed mining company took a 75 per cent stake in the bankrupt emerald mine in 2008, turning its fortunes around to contribute more than ZMW687m (US$129.6m) to Zambia’s direct foreign earnings over the past three years alone. “All these earnings have been repatriated back to Zambia, where they have been used to settle old debts inherited from the previous management,” the company states in a news release. The value of rough emerald production worldwide is estimated at US$500m per year, with Kagem now producing around twenty per cent of this figure. Gemfields continues to re-invest around ZMW150 million (US$28.5m) into the mine each year. With a view to becoming the ultimate industry authority, Gemfields has proved itself to be the pioneer of a new approach to gemstone mining that favours strong

ethics and strategic marketing. Its focus – “reliable and ethicallyproduced Zambian emeralds” – advocates a transparent route from the mine to the international market. The company holds claim to the world’s first integrated pipeline to bring emeralds directly from mine to market, meaning that customers are able to trace each gem back to its source. Gemfields champions social and environmental awareness, and believes its fair-trade practices result in conflict-free mines. “Our dedication to preserving the environment, nurturing relationships with local communities and upholding human rights remains paramount to our success,” alleges the company’s website. The Kagem mine employs approximately 650 people, and the workers rank among the highest paid in the Zambian emerald industry. The company pledges not just to sustain, but to increase, the benefit Zambia receives from its gemstone resources.

Gateway to Africa February 2013  

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