You may have read some of my blogs about our partnership with the State of Amazonas and Amazonas Sustainable Foundation to protect 1.4 million acres of pristine rainforest in Brazil. Marriott's $2 million contribution is funding a comprehensive, scientific program to safeguard the rainforest from illegal farming and logging. We've also funded medical facilities, a community center and a school to teach the children how to be guardians of the rain forest. We've told our associates, guests and meetings planners about the project and they have supported our efforts, also.
In Copenhagen, we hosted a panel with the State of Amazonas and the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation to share the results of the project. The results in Juma are providing practical experience about the viability of protecting rain forests, mitigating climate change and reducing poverty.
Over the last year, Marriott has worked with Avoided Deforestation Partners to advocate for rainforest preservation in U.S. federal climate change legislation. Avoided Deforestation Partners will host a side event this week entitled Reducing Emissions from Deforestation: Opportunities for U.S. Initiatives in Support of a Global Framework. Marriott will be in attendance at this event which is expected to include UN delegates and visiting U.S. congressional staff.
At the end of week, on December 18, Marriott will participate in a UN-sanctioned panel, Addressing the Challenges of Climate Change – Perspectives from the Travel & Tourism Sector. We will talk about how Marriott has integrated sustainability into our hotel operations. This includes the Juma rain forest project but also our commitment to reduce our energy and water use by 25 percent by the year 2017 and build greener, more energy efficient hotels.
I am proud that Marriott International has been invited to participate in this momentous event. Our commitment to the environment is something I feel strongly about. Above all, it’s a testimony to the dedication and efforts of countless individuals around the globe who share our “Spirit to Preserve” the planet. If you'd like to learn more about it, you can click on the rain forest link on marriott.com.
I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.