Hotel companies of all sizes are partaking in the green movement. From the 14-property RockResorts to the 4,500-property Intercontinental Hotels Group, chains are making the commitment to sustainable practices. Here are three more to add to the list.
Three years ago, RockResorts launched its green meetings program as a way to formalize initiatives already in place and set preferred standards across its portfolio.
The chain's list of "environmental automatics," or green standards that come packaged with every meeting, include:
• Local and seasonal menus;
• Meals and snacks are served on reusable dinnerware, flatware, glassware and service items;
• Coffee and tea are served in reusable cups;
• If used, disposable cups and paper products are biodegradable, recycled or compostable;
• Individually packaged condiments such as creamer and sugars are limited;
• Cloth is favored over paper napkins;
• Untouched food is donated to needy employees while plans for donation to nonprofits are underway;
• Pens and notepads are placed in a central location to be taken as needed;
• Notepads and other printed materials must be produced on a minimum of 30 percent postconsumer content and using vegetable-based inks, and
• Dry erase boards are available.
In 2009, RockResorts launched a green meetings carbon calculator on its website, allowing planners to accurately determine the impact their event and attendees will have on the environment.
This 19-property chain is working to ensure its brand is environmentally friendly, even in the absence of a formal green meetings program. In 2009, for example, Loews partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program to increase energy efficiency and implement green products and practices.
In addition, Loews' brandwide green standards include:
• A partnership with America's Second Harvest to donate untouched, edible food;
• A banquet recycling program for cans, bottles and napkins;
• Implementation of low-flow shower heads and CFL light bulbs;
• Seasonal and local menus;
• Exclusive use of reusable linen, dishware and silverware for all room service, lounge, bar, banquet room and restaurant meals; and
• The use of EcoSmart cups when disposable, on-the-go cups are requested.
The entire Loews staff also has undergone a green-training seminar to brief them on the their hotel's practices and how to carry them out correctly. In addition, each hotel has its own Green Team that researches and implements new eco-friendly policies and technologies.
In addition to using recycled paper products and printing paper, Four Seasons Hotels implements a number of recycling programs, and gives all guests the option to reuse linens in an effort to conserve water; "green teams" are on hand at each property to seek out more efficient methods of water usage, recycling, and energy consumption.