Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts clinches Asia-Pacific Nature-based initiative of the year by Environmental Finance for climate stewardship

Colombo, Sri Lanka – 02 Oct 2022:  Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts recently won deserved recognition for its climate stewardship and active role in rainforest restoration as the recipient of the Asia-Pacific Nature-based initiative of the year award at the Environmental Finance’s Sustainable Company Awards 2022. Launched in July 2021, the Cinnamon Rainforest project is an initiative spearheaded by Ruk Rakaganno in partnership with the Forest Department and Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, in memory of the former president of Ruk Rekaganno, late Mrs. Kamini Meedeniya Vitarana. The project is sponsored by the John Keells Foundation and aims to restore 59 acres of degraded land in the wet zone of Sri Lanka by March 2024, in order to create a sanctuary to safeguard and preserve the biodiversity for future generations.

The Environmental Finance Sustainable Investment Awards honour companies who have been leaders in the field of sustainable finance.

“As the threat of climate change looms, preserving natural habitats, especially rainforests have become a matter of humankind’s survival”. Hence, our dedication to rainforest preservation reaches beyond our responsibility as a corporate entity towards climate stewardship and environmental sustainability. Our key focuses in the initiative are to grow and nurture a mini forest and invite other stakeholders to replicate the model for greater good. Gaining recognition for our efforts will aid us in our mission to promote rainforest restoration and preservation of natural habitats. We are also honoured to be placed alongside names such as Moody’s, Bank of America, and Schneider. Moreover, as an invested player in the leisure and tourism sector in Sri Lanka, we consider it our duty to become an integral part of protecting the natural resources and beauty of the country both in the medium and long-term,” commented Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Hishan Singhawansa.

The Cinnamon Rainforest Restoration project offers guests at Cinnamon resorts the opportunity to discover the growing rainforest with a trained naturalist, and even become an environmental champion by investing in and planting a tree at the site to monitor its progress over the years. The project scope involves purposeful clearance of the site and replanting over 20,000 native plants to allow the natural habitat to thrive and grow to restore balance. The ongoing research and data gathering that takes place within the project scope is intended to inspire potential expansion of the initiative in the future. “At Cinnamon Nature Trails, we are excited to be a part of this effort that aims to convert a precious piece of land this close to Sinharaja. We are hopeful that this will become a home to many forms of wildlife. We look forward to seeing nature take over and reforesting this plot back to its pristine status” commented Vice President of Cinnamon Nature Trails, Chitral Jayatilake.  Cinnamon Nature Trails supported this project, being the technical lead, guided by resident biologist Vimukthi Weeratunga and a team of seasoned professionals.

“Thus far the project has yielded the desired effect and results. The credit for this goes to the enthusiastic and truly committed team of environmental champions who have been steadfastly working towards restoring the rainforest at the site.  The 59-acre buffer zone that we are restoring is considered to provide additional support of the ‘last viable area of primary tropical rainforest’ in Sri Lanka by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). As such, the team’s work is invaluable in preserving the ecological balance of not only the Sinharaja forest but also the entire nation,” added Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Hishan Singhawansa.

Volunteers from Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts and John Keells Holdings assisting in native tree planting and sapling development

The core project team at the launch of Cinnamon Rainforest Restoration project (standing from left to right)

  • President of Leisure Sector at John Keells Holdings, Suresh Rajendra
  • Consultant and resident Biologist at Cinnamon Nature Trails, Vimukthi Weeratunga
  • President Ruk Rakaganno, Dushy Perera
  • Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at John Keells Holdings, Carmeline Jayasuriya