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Archive for July, 2009

Green Engage – IHG’s Answer to Global Warming

In early 2009, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) launched its own on-line sustainability program. Designed to aid hotel managers in reducing the waste, water, and energy consumption of their properties, Green Engage is revolutionary within the hospitality industry. Never before has a hotel company developed their own tool to measure, assess, and reduce the resources they use and the garbage they create.

Green Engage was conceived after IHG completed an extensive consumer research project in 2008. In addition to the standard guest wishes of ‘nice location’ and ‘good price’, they noticed that more people were interested in hotel sustainability practices than ever before. Combining this new data with their own interest in reducing the green house gases of their properties, the concept of a single, on-line application that would allow all IHG hotels to document, manage, and report their sustainability efforts was born and Green Engage was rolled out in January 2009.

Green Engage lives up to its name, providing data and suggestions for every department a of  hotel beginning with the site selection process for new properties.  During the construction, guidelines for sustainable materials are provided and information on IHG specific concerns, such as creating an effective and efficient building envelope to “maintain the desired indoor conditions and … permit the use of natural ventilation, passive heating, and day-lighting” are available.

Super efficient HVAC, lighting, and mechanical systems are suggested as a good way to reduce the hotel’s consumption and publicly showcase the efforts each IHG hotel is making toward becoming a more sustainable operation. The progress of all hotels is available to all lIHG properties so managers are able to research which green initiatives best suit their property and which programs will provide the best ROI.

IHG created the Green Engage platform to be used at all 4,100 of their properties and last year began training its Americas Region on what sustainability means to a hotel. Green Aware (About, Water, Air, Recycling and Energy) courses were provided to managers at approximately 500 hotels. And it does not stop there.

In September 2008, IHG moved its corporate headquarters into a new, green building in Denhem, England. This state of the art, sustainable building includes the Green Room, a mock up of their “room of the future,” that will allow them to test new sustainability products and systems before rolling them out to some of their 620,000 guestrooms world wide. For the rest of the building, not only were local, sustainable suppliers given preferential treatment, 400 tonnes was construction debris was spared from a life underground in landfills. Instead, 90% of the project’s waste was reused or recycled, reducing green house gases, bringing new life to previously used materials, and in the end, sustaining life for us all.

IHG provides another example of a company that “gets it”. Bringing sustainability into an organization does more than protect the earth. Being green provides cost savings from increased efficiency and conservation. These efforts can be rolled into new marketing opportunities focused on the rapidly growing eco-consumer. Sustainability programs can also make sure a business is ahead of the inevitable regulation that will stop those who lag begin in their tracks and reward those who stayed ahead of the curve. Like FairmontHotels and Resorts, IHG is leading the way in green hospitality, showing everyone that green business is good business.

Fairmont Continues to Fulfill Its Sustainable Mission

July 2, 2009 1 comment

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts recently added another guideline to its already impressive environmental program. Their new Green IT initiative will help the company reduce its carbon footprint by focusing on waste reduction, energy conservation, and responsible purchasing. The plan will be in place by the end of the year and includes guidelines for charitable giving and electronic recycling as well as a corporate wide power management scheme pushed down to each employees’ workstation. As these changes are implemented at more than 50 Fairmont properties spread across the globe, the company will enjoy cost savings and the satisfaction that comes with broadening its industry leading environmental sustainability program.

Fairmont’s Green Partnership Program was launched in 1990 and rather than remaining static, it has pushed them to consider their effects on the environment throughout the organization. From installing sustainable energy management systems for both guestrooms and function space to seeking out community members in need who can accept unused food and household products, thus keeping them out of landfills, Fairmont aims to minimize its impact on the natural world and promote sustainable business at every turn. For example, the Lexus Hybrid Living Suite at the Fairmont Washington, D.C., features style from famed green interior designer, Kelly LaPlante, while at the company’s Scottsdale property, faucet aerators and low flush toilets have been installed as a way to reduce water consumption in this desert environment.

An area where Fairmont truly shines is its extensive Eco-Meet program. Designed to provide superior sustainable service to conference planners and attendees, it is divided into four parts: Eco-Accommodation, Eco-Cuisine, Eco-Service, and Eco-Programming.

  • Eco-Accommodation provides energy efficient lighting and information about Eco-Meet in all guestrooms.
  • Eco-Cuisine means guests will enjoy high-quality food made from local, organic ingredients.
  • Eco-Service aims to make functions sustainable by using china and cuterly along with bulk cream and sugar and to ensure meetings are greener by providing white boards instead of flip charts.
  • Eco-Programming allows planners to provide sustainable education to meeting attendees through guest speakers, an eco-TV channel in each guestroom, and by assisting in carbon footprint calculations and offset purchases.

Fairmont’s Green IT is another example how this Canadian company “gets it”. Bringing sustainability into an organization does more than protect the earth. Being green provides cost savings from increased efficiency and conservation. These efforts can be rolled into new marketing opportunities focused on the rapidly growing eco-consumer. Sustainability programs can also make sure a business is ahead of the inevitable regulation that will stop those who lag behind in their tracks and reward those who stayed ahead of the curve. Having known all of this for the past twenty years, Fairmont is positioned to continue leading the way in green hospitality, pulling the rest of the hospitality industry behind them.