By Mr Rajneesh Malhotra, COO, Chalet Hotels
As Benjamin Franklin once said, "When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." No business ecosystem is more crucial than the elements of nature itself. Experts and authorities the world over have initiated campaigns to spread awareness and encourage citizens to do their bit to develop a sustainable ecosystem.
The tourism sector is a broader ecosystem that encompasses businesses such as hotels, airlines, restaurants, transportation, entertainment, and several other industries engaged in supporting travel, lodging & food service. As per UNWTO, tourist transportation accounts for an estimated 75% of total tourism emissions, accounting for 5% of all manufactured emissions and more than 20% of all transport-related emissions. The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled the tourism industry to refocus on resiliency, sustainability, and interconnectivity among varied stakeholders. As a result, worldwide trends such as clean energy, green architecture, and sustainable waste management reflect today's environmentally conscious travelers' consumption patterns. In 2021, it is crucial to promote the hotel industry's significant role in lowering the carbon footprint. It includes adapting to practices and values that encourage waste removal, increasing reusable energy, and discarding hazardous products.
The hospitality industry has been mostly cognizant and respectful of the environment & has acted responsibly for several years, however more needs to be done. Hotels have been investing in green infrastructure and sustainable operations & this trend is likely to become even stronger, with spends increasing. The ongoing pandemic has accentuated the need to 'do more.' The hospitality industry realizes the importance of accelerating the adoption of innovative solutions to reduce carbon footprint and create a cleaner, safer & sustainable environment for guests, employees, and the community at large. Green buildings designed with a focus on overall health hygiene and safety provide a safe working environment for employees and instill confidence amongst the guests.
Today's guests are very eco-conscious as they care about the impact of tourism-related consumption on the environment, making carefully evaluate their choice of hotels. As a result, they prefer brands that take initiatives to protect and preserve the environment. This awareness is mainstream, and therefore, new projects have been designed keeping the consumer trends in mind. All the stakeholders, including the architects/designers of today, realize the value of creating a lasting change and implement processes encompassing environmentally friendly elements. Hotel developers must track consumer sentiment and be up-to-speed with the new generation of hotel users; they must incorporate consumer expectations regarding the environment & sustainability in the hotel design.
Most of the green products used while developing the property come with performance indicators and metrics that are measurable. At Chalet Hotels, we ensure that the products used are certified by the concerned authority and meet the industry benchmarks. Some of our hotels, such as JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar and Whitefield Bengaluru, are already gold LEED-certified, and we endeavor to have all our hotels get the certification
Sourcing of power from renewable resources, responsible consumption of energy & water, and treatment of used water & other waste have been identified as critical areas of focus considering the impact of our industry on the environment. As an outcome of these efforts, our Company has achieved consistent year on year reduction in unit consumption per room of power and water. In the fiscal, 51% of the energy used in our operations was via renewable sources. We have been a zero wastewater discharge Company for the past many years, and additionally, the Company has achieved a consistent reduction in the use of single-use plastic. Chalet has now committed to EV 100, a Climate Group initiative on environmental impact which focuses on accelerating the transition to Electric Vehicles. We have also committed two other initiatives of Climate Group - EP100 on energy productivity and RE100 on renewable energy.
Even in a year of adversity, Chalet has kept its commitment to the environment.