From protecting endangered species to a commitment toward zero waste to landfill, these three hoteliers from international leading hotel brands share their sustainability initiatives and show how their properties are setting a green benchmark. By Eve Tedj
Three hoteliers and their green practices
Guy Heywood chief operating officer of Two Roads Hospitality Asia
Renowned for integrating innovative green design with indigenous cultural elements in unique locations, Alila is a Two Roads Hospitality luxury boutique brand. Bringing his operational expertise in luxury hospitality, Guy Heywood reveals how Alila takes the lead in sustainable practices.
What are the hotel industry’s biggest challenges in regard to environmental and social impact?
I do not see any challenges but only opportunities. Opportunities for businesses like us to use our resources and visibility to act as role models for other smaller enterprises and also in our communities. We need to act responsibly as the spotlight is on us, and because we have the ability to use our influence and reach to act as a catalyst for change, to enforce environmental initiatives and make a difference in the lives of all those around us. In today’s world, there is no excuse for big businesses not to be leading the charge in change and to see ourselves as the solution.
How long has Alila been committed with the Earthcheck certification? Has it been carried out in all Alila properties?
We have been involved with Earthcheck for around 10 years now and at varying different degrees of intensity based on each property’s location, ownership, design and time in the program. Sometimes we have to collect data for a couple of years before a property can be officially registered with Earthcheck. Our goal is to have all our properties Earthcheck certified and preferably built also to Earthcheck design standards. Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali holds a Gold Earthcheck status. It currently generates zero waste to landfill, produces its own compost, crushes its own glass and turns these into bricks. The resort captures rainwater on all its flat roof tops, has an Earthcheck design and build certification supports a local charity, employs over 50 percent of its workforce from the local area, uses black lava rock on the flat roofs to absorb heat to minimise the use of air-conditioning and adopts a “no plastics” policy.
Do you think some hotels use sustainability more as a marketing tool?
Unfortunately, yes and some do not even live up to their promises or commitments. How often do you get your towel washed even though you have hung it up as suggested to avoid being washed? I think that many years ago, in-room environmental procedures were seen as moves by hotels to
save money, but that changed a long time ago. Now it is expected that hotels will not wash bed linen every day and towels that are hung up will not be laundered, but this is just the basics and all hotels need to enforce compliance. Which initiatives have created the biggest impact in terms of sustainability? I am really excited about our Bali zero waste to landfill project, enabling us to soon declare that all four of our Bali properties recycle or reuse 100 percent of all waste generated. I am also excited about our efforts in bottling our own water as most of our hotels are in locations where tap water is not consumable, and so normally a hotel would be going through thousands of plastic bottles a week in bottled water. We do not use small plastic bottles for bathroom amenities but bespoke vessels that are unique from property to property that are washed and refilled from bulk product. We have also managed to reduce our total electricity consumption by just under 10 percent and water consumption by over five percent against the previous year. Is there any plan for a new property? We have many new properties under various stages of development right now, some that will open in 2018, 2019 and many beyond that. The approach for these new properties is in line with our current standards and principles, but we are also looking at electric boats and cars for guest transport, battery powered tricycles instead of golf buggies or cars as staff support vehicles, solar panelling and digital means of guest communication replacing paper usage in guest rooms among many other initiatives. It is through the implementation of many small ideas that makes a big difference in the long run.
By using black lava rocks on the roof to absorb the heat, Alila Villas Uluwatu is minimising the use of air-conditioning.