On June 27, 2011, forty employees of Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong took to the New Territories in support of their company’s global commitment to sustainability. The 10 Million Trees project, established as a CSR initiative to celebrate the 50th Birthday of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, saw the staff planting 300 fig trees at the nearby Zen Organic Farm, Fanling.
“Other Four Seasons hotels and resorts around the world have made their own contribution to the tree planting efforts through various interesting activities. For our team it was about choosing a project that had many dimensions and would bring both short and long term benefits to the project we eventually came to work with,” says William Mackay, regional vice president and general manager, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, “It has also been about raising awareness of an important issue in our industry and one that is yet to take a firm foothold in Hong Kong.”
Executive Chef Herve Fucho first began to work with brother and sister team Ping and Joey Ng at Zen Organic Farm more than two years ago, sourcing organic vegetables for use in The Lounge, Caprice and other outlets. As a hotel committed to sourcing and serving the finest in food, combining the company’s environmental initiative with the opportunity to support a local community business was a natural step.
Led by Ping Ng, Four Seasons Tree Planting Team was tutored on a new greenhouse plot in planting their own fig tree saplings, which should potentially see their first fruits at the end of 2011. The existing 150 fig trees at Joey and Ping’s Zen Organic Farm are in harvest annually for about four months. Once mature, the further 300 fig trees planted by Four Seasons, which should live for forty years or more, will provide almost triple the supply for the farm to distribute during harvest time.
Passionate about the increasing readiness of organic produce in Hong Kong, Chef Fucho commented: “As the availability of organic produce grows in our vicinity, so will the education of the many health and environmental benefits of using these items. In Europe, Australia and the United States, organic produce is offered as part of the norm to consumers and caterers, so we are late to come on board over here. We have been using organic produce within the Hotel for many years but it is flown in from Australia, France and the US. While the taste is considerably better and is my top priority, I am always conscious of the carbon footprint this leaves, which I’m sure is the case with many chefs in Hong Kong. Having people like Ping and Joey dedicated to this cause in a place where land is so valuable is very inspiring.”
The Hotel team have been invited by the Ngs to return at the end of 2011, to see the fruits of their labour.
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