Guest amenities

has seen a similar shift among her B2B customers. “They’re thinking about similar things to us in terms of wanting to reduce their environmental impact, and travel is a huge part of that,” she says. And while leisure customers remain a little behind

Both IHG and Marriott committed to removing all single-use bathroom bottles by 2022.

At global hotel chains, this has manifested itself

in the form of short-term delays to plastic reduction, and a stronger drive to shift away from single-use plastic in the long-term. Initially at least, this is being pushed forward predominantly by the ‘hyper focus’ of corporate customers.

“We need to continue to think not only about how to innovate on the front end to create less waste, but also how to manage it on the back end.”

Denise Naguib “Previously, we’d had a lot of corporate customers

very focused on how they were driving sustainability within their own companies, but we’re now reaching the point where, as a major supplier to them, we have become part of their climate strategy,” says Denise Naguib, vice-president of sustainability and supplier diversity at Marriott International.

Scope for change Greenhouse gas emissions are categorised into three groups or ‘Scopes’ by the most widely used international carbon accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol. Scope three encompasses indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain, such as business travel. “As our corporate customers consider what their climate path is moving forward, and what meetings and events will look like as they go back to travel, we are part of that. I’ve never had so many conversations with customers over the past seven to eight months on that topic,” Naguib says. Catherine Dolton, chief sustainability officer and vice-president of global corporate responsibility at IHG,


– they’re not planning their travel as far in advance as big businesses, according to Naguib – it won’t be long before they follow suit, at which point programmes like Marriott’s Good Travel pilot in Asia will be ready for them. “We’re seeing more leisure travellers wanting to spend time in destinations where they can be connected to nature,” Naguib explains. “This scheme gives them the opportunity to not just travel to the hotel but also engage in social, environmental or conservation projects. It’s going to be a prevailing area of interest for leisure travellers, especially on the backside of this pandemic.” Both IHG and Marriott have some ground to make up on the single-use plastic front after pandemic-induced delays. After becoming the first major hotel group to commit to removing all small bathroom amenities bottles in 2019, with an original 2021 target for all hotels, some IHG hotels will now be delayed until 2022. Meanwhile, Marriott’s shift from small to large toiletry containers was completely paused during the pandemic. “We’re depleting our inventory and we’re now about a fifth of the way to total implementation; pieces of the puzzle are being implemented every day,” says Naguib. Delays have been partly due to the lack of staff who

would otherwise implement these initiatives because of furlough schemes, and partly because of the lack of guests during lockdown, which meant inventories weren’t run down as quickly as envisaged. On the upside, however, the pause forced by the pandemic has given hotels more time to think about what to replace single-use plastic with, and how waste reduction initiatives will work further downstream. “These kinds of initiatives will very much be back on the table,” Naguib predicts. “We need to continue to think not only about how to innovate on the front end to create less waste, but also how to manage it on the back end.”

Throwaway disposability Another unexpected benefit of the pandemic at IHG has been the reduction of throwaway items in guest bedrooms. “We’ve removed pens and papers from the room – the less that’s in the room, the less there is to clean,” Dolton explains. “There’s also been less in-room printed collateral and paperless billing, and as these things didn’t impact the guest experience, we won’t put them back. We’ve proved that guests don’t need them; guests don’t want them.”

Hotel Management International /

IHG Hotels & Resorts

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