The philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International marks a decade of supporting projects in the Caribbean next week with a new social media initiative.

The Sandals Foundation has supported more than 120 projects and programmes annually across Antigua, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Turks & Caicos.

The foundation estimates to have helped more than 850,000 people in the region with the overall projects and programmes implemented valued at $58 million.

The organisation is entering its second decade with a campaign using the hashtag #FaceTheCaribbean, a special emphasis on the environment.

The aim is to encourage holidaymakers across the company’s 19 Sandals and Beaches Resorts to change the face of the Caribbean for generations to come through donations of supplies to local schools, volunteering and purchasing of Caribbean merchandise from resort shops.

All Sandals resorts eliminated Styrofoam from last month. The company is currently exploring opportunities to eliminate other plastic across its resorts by September.

More than 21 million single-use plastic straws and stirrers used across the resorts each year were cut last year, along with plastic laundry bags and plastic bags throughout gift shops.

The foundation is committed to engaging 100,000 people in environmental protection and conservation over the next ten years.

This includes working with schools and teachers to integrate marine education into lessons, spearheading hands-on field trips to protected areas and engaging residents in coastal communities on proper solid waste management.

School children will be provided with reusable lunch kits to reduce their dependence on Styrofoam.

Foundation executive director Heidi Clarke said: “The Caribbean Sea connects more than 700 islands and coastlines, which is a source of livelihood for thousands of people.

“The role we all play in supporting protected areas and teaching the next generation the importance of caring for their precious environment is crucial now more than ever.

“The Sandals group of companies and Sandals Foundation have intensified our efforts by reducing plastic pollution through our operations and in our communities as well as ensuring we engage all the key stakeholders in our efforts.”

Foundation chairman and Sandals deputy chairman Adam Stewart said: “Our goal has always been simple – to unite the Caribbean region, elevate its people, and protect its delicate eco-system – and I am so proud of how far we’ve come in our first decade.

“To build on our momentum and bring even more awareness to importance of supporting the Caribbean, we are tapping into the power of social media to launch a campaign to galvanise the world to join in our efforts.”