Walking The Sustainable Talk
July 5, 2018, 1:06 pm
With more than one billion travellers criss-crossing the globe every year, tourism is a powerful economic driver and hotels can no longer afford to ignore the sustainability issue. Armani Hotel Dubai shares its own vision and action plan
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) declared 2017 the Year of Sustainable Tourism, urging the world’s hotels, airlines, tourism boards, cruise companies, care hire firms, destination management companies, ground handlers and everyone connected to the industry, to do their bit to build a better world and protect the environment.
With 17 UNWTO Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) providing a practical guide for effecting positive change, hotels have a pivotal role to play in initiating, developing and supporting sustainability-focused activities.
From ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns (efficient use of resources) and promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and work for all (think diversity of the hotel workforce) to taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (community-led action and advocacy), hospitality brands and their leadership are perfectly placed to make a difference.
This requires a clear vision, strategy and the buy-in of all stakeholders. It also requires a level-headed analysis of the realities of implementing internal sustainability goals, many of which come with capital expenditure implications, but can also be common sense grassroots initiatives.
POLICY INTO PRACTICE
Our environmental policy follows Emaar Hospitality and Dubai Government exacting codes of practice. International Green Globe certification is the industry standard and we have been certified since 2017.
A legacy commitment, not a one-off exercise, our resident Green Champion, Abdul Quddus Sheikh, Director of Engineering, spearheads all Green Globe activities, and as a team we work constantly to address energy consumption, air quality and waste management, and explore biodiversity initiatives, green procurement solutions and social sustainability opportunities.
Abdul Quddus was also named Sustainability Champion at the 2017 Dubai Sustainable Tourism Awards.
We ‘walk the talk’ in our ongoing efforts to reduce electricity and water usage within the hotel, minimise food waste, maintain guest satisfaction ratings, educate and inform stakeholders, engage the local community and, ultimately, increase annual audit performance standards.
To date, we have replaced all incandescent lights with power saving LEDs. Motion detectors have been installed in back office areas, and water saving devices and water aerators have been fitted.
Other important initiatives include the efficient segregation at source, whereby waste is disposed to designated recycling stations. The hotel has its own Food Waste Recycling Machine, that eliminates food disposal charges, reduces the hotel’s carbon footprint and converts food wastes into soil amendment. Fused-out tube lights, wasted batteries and used printer cartridges are also collected and provided to the recycling agency for safe destruction and recycling, where possible.
We also host training programmes led by professionals/third parties especially in waste management programmes.
For 2017, we intensified our commitment to Green Globe, with a target of 3% increase in annual audit performance standards, with the aim of lowering hotel-wide electricity usage by 2%, water consumption by 5%, reducing buffet food waste by 80%, maintaining our employee and guest satisfaction ratings, and continuing with our wide-reaching programme of departmental training.
In 2017, we reduced total hotel water consumption by 5%, reduced energy consumption by 4.5%, increased both employee ratings and guest satisfaction ratings and achieved departmental training goals.
Armani Hotel Dubai is committed to preserving precious resources and creating a sustainable operation that benefits our guests, colleagues, the local community and, most importantly, the planet.
As part of our Green Globe commitment the hotel is also an active member of Emirates Environmental Group and a UAE Food Bank partner.
We are also one of the key hospitality partners for the project that further promotes the noble ‘Year of Giving’ initiative marked by the nation in 2017.
We are continuously involved in community services such as the donation of food, toy, clothes, blood and soaps as well as initiatives such as walk for a cause, clean-up programs and the annual Earth Hour.
SPREADING THE WORD
In 2017, Armani Hotel Dubai also added another accolade to our list of industry and community achievements with a Certification of Appreciation from Dubai Municipality’s Waste Management Department.
This was awarded in recognition of the hotel’s distinguished efforts in the area of waste management, and our commitment to ensuring that we manage all hotel waste efficiently, effectively and in line with Dubai Municipality environmental sustainability standards.
While we focus efforts on driving forward our in-house programmes, we also support emirate-wide and national initiatives that are contributing towards achieving sustainability goals within the wider community.
BACK TO BASICS
Change can also begin by making small steps, and as part of our efforts to engage our guests and residents, we invite them to play their own part in making a difference by switching off lights and electrical devices when not in use, reusing hotel bathroom towels where possible, adjusting the room’s air-conditioning to the regular setting when not in residence.
We also have a Green Page in the guestroom iPads that promotes their involvement in our sustainability initiatives and outline our sustainability commitment on our website, www.armanihoteldubai.com.
Today’s international traveller and local resident are both increasingly invested in pursuing a sustainable agenda in different aspects of their lives.
If you look at the annual Green Lodging Trends Report, which uses data sourced from 2,093 hotels in 46 countries, the latest research notes that 44% of guest-related feedback on sustainability practice led to actual implementation of hotel initiatives.
As more and more guests expect hotels to integrate sustainability components into their operation, building and design, communicating efforts to your guests is also vital. While 73% of hotels globally are communicating with guestroom information, just 51% are using their own website to share green best practice – and we are proud to be among that number.