Conservation Corporation (CC) Africa, South Africa ccafrica.com —Although wildlife conservation has been fundamental to CC Africa’s mission since it began creating a portfolio of luxury camps and lodges more than 35 years ago, the company is deeply committed to strengthening the local communities that surround its properties. The company’s nonprofit arm, the Africa Foundation, operates in 30 communities in six countries, helping in education, health care, and business development with the understanding that supporting people is as essential as supporting biodiversity.
Room to Read, San Francisco roomtoread.org—Dedicated to creating libraries in developing world communities that are simply too poor to be able to buy books, San Francisco-based Room to Read has built more than 3,600 libraries (stocked with more than 2 million books) in Asia. It brought its program to Africa and will soon begin constructing libraries in Latin America. But libraries are only part of what the organization does to foster literacy and education. It also funds scholarships, builds schools, builds computer and language centers, and publishes books in a pioneering native-language program.
ACCOR, France accor.com—Since 1994, Accor, a global lodging company based in France with almost 3,800 hotels in 90 countries, has been an industry trailblazer in its focus on environmental issues. The group was among the first to take action on the environment, and remains one of the most globally influential, thanks to the size and scope of its worldwide operations.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Greenwood Village Colorado xanterra.com—A hospitality company founded in the 19th century in the American West, Xanterra Parks & Resorts manages hotels and lodges, as well as national and state park campsites. Because of its close relationship with U.S. parks, Xanterra has long been a champion of sustainable tourism and environmentally-conscious business development, from its hotels to its retail shops and transportation systems. The company’s most recent objective: a 10-year program, which began in 2004, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent and waste by 50 percent. Xanterra is already well on its way to meeting those goals.
Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Central Asia akdn.org—Recognizing the vital role music has played in the cultures of Central Eurasia and the Middle East, and fearing its increasing fragility in the face of rapid modernization throughout the region, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture established the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia in 2000. By setting up music schools throughout the region and supporting a worldwide touring program, the trust aims to preserve Central Asia’s musical heritage by ensuring its transmission to a new generation of artists and audiences—both inside the region and beyond its borders.
Jaipur Virasat Foundation, India jaipurfestival.org —Alarmed by India’s breakneck economic development, this foundation strives to connect the country’s traditions with its fast-emerging modern culture by promoting Jaipur as a center for arts, crafts, and folk music. Central to the organization’s efforts is its 10-day Jaipur Heritage International Festival (held annually in January), now in its fifth year and bigger and more respected than ever.