Shangri-La partners with local communities to produce reusable masks

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa has donated enough linen to make up to 10,000 reusable face masks for Cebu

The Shangri-La Group has partnered with Diversey, a leading global hygiene and cleaning company, and the Municipality of Cordova to provide vulnerable Cebu residents with reusable face masks, an item now mandatory when one is out in public in The Philippines.

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa joined Shangri-La hotels in Manila, Colombo, Hambantota, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Surabaya, Jakarta, Singapore, Bangkok and Yangon to collectively donate 12,500 kg of used, clean bedsheets, duvet covers and pillowcases to local communities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to be repurposed into half-a-million reusable fabric face masks.

Volunteers portioning the linen to start sewing the face masks.
Volunteers portion the linen to start sewing the face masks.

In some cities such as Yangon, Johor Bahru, Colombo, Jakarta, Surabaya and Bangkok, the upcycling of masks will also generate employment opportunities for members in low socio-economic community groups.

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa has donated enough linen to make up to 10,000 reusable face masks for Cebu. Teachers, parents, and individuals on Gilutongan Island have volunteered to kick start the program and make 3,000 of the reusable fabric face masks, which will then be distributed to the residents on the island, as well as those in need on the mainland in Cebu.

The upcycling of clean, used linen into face masks also provides Shangri-La a meaningful way to help reduce environmental wastage. If new linen was produced to manufacture half a million fabric face masks, it would have incurred 60 million liters of water (the equivalent of 23 Olympic-size swimming pools) and a carbon footprint of 150 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 63,000 liters of petrol being combusted.

Unloading of the boxes from the boat on the way to Gilutongan Integrated School.
Unloading of the boxes from the boat on the way to Gilutongan Integrated School.

John Rice, Vice President for Operations in the Philippines said: “We’re deeply committed to helping our local communities in as many ways as we can. The pandemic has affected each and every one of us and this initiative not only offers some protection from COVID-19 to those most vulnerable.”

Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho said, “We are very glad to be working with Shangri-La Group and Diversey on the Linens for Life Face Mask project. Through this initiative, we can extend our support to local communities in need during the pandemic. This program will not only provide community members with their own face masks but will also help generate a source of income for some.”

Gilutongan Island residents gathered in their school courtyard to start making masks.
Gilutongan Island residents gathered in their school courtyard to start making masks.

Diversey Philippines Country Business Director Teri Betito said, “One of Diversey’s global priorities is to support local communities, particularly during COVID-19. The Linens for Life Face Masks program is a great example of how Diversey, together with our customer hotels and partner NGO’s is providing simple hygiene items to those who really need them and helping prevent the spread of infection.”

With hygiene and safety being top-of-mind for many, the Shangri-La Group has recently introduced its “Shangri-La Cares” commitment, reinforcing the Group’s efforts to caring for people as we begin welcoming guests back to our hotels and resorts. As part of its ongoing efforts to create a trusted and nurturing environment for guests, the Group has partnered with Diversey to implement a series of safety standards and precautionary measures across its hotels.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shangri-La’s hotels in the Philippines have continuously sought out opportunities to help their local communities and to uplift spirits. For example, the hotels and resorts have so far delivered over 32,000 packed meals to frontline workers in hospitals in Taguig, Makati, Ortigas, Manila, Mactan & Boracay, barangays and PNP checkpoints during the enhanced community quarantine.

Residents learn how to use the sewing machine to make the masks.
Residents learn how to use the sewing machine to make the masks.

Shangri-La’s partnership with Diversey on the L4LFM program builds on the successful Soap For Hope collaboration between the two entities globally, which has seen 427 tonnes of hotel soap slivers recycled into 3.5 million new soap bars for at-risk communities over the past three years. For more information on how Shangri-La Group is caring for local communities, please visit the group’s Corporate Social Responsibility blog here.