February 20, 2015
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is leading the industry in sustainability, having recently become the first hospitality brand to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to the World Wildlife Fund’s recommended target.
The hotel brand announced that it has been able to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to 20 percent below its 2006 levels, thus achieving the ambitious goal suggested by the WWF’s Climate Saver’s Program. Individual hotels around the world used different strategies to improve their sustainability and bring down the company’s total emissions.
"We announced our Climate Savers partnership with WWF in 2008 and have been working hard since to meet our 20 percent reduction target," said Allison Long, business analyst, sustainability systems, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. "While this has been a large part of our sustainability programming recently and we are extremely happy to have met our goal, our focus on the environment dates back much further than this, and in fact our program started 25 years ago.
"We were the first major hotel brand to have a dedicated environmental program in place, and we are quite proud of our most recent achievement."
Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is both environmentally conscious and beneficial to the brand, as more sustainable practices often save considerable sums of money in the long run. Fairmont joined other successful companies and top businesses such as Johnson & Johnson and The Coca-Cola Company as a member of the WWF’s Climate Savers Program.
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Canada
The Climate Savers Program works to inspire companies to critically assess their own sustainability practices and attempt to improve their efforts at reducing emissions. One of many goals the program requires member companies to work towards is reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent below 2006 levels.
Fairmont used many creative strategies to accomplish this goal. Properties around the world took different tactics to reduce their emissions depending on individual locations and initiatives.
Fairmont employees plant trees in Makkah, Saudi Arabia
“From a corporation prospective it’s a fantastic achievement, and a great effort from everybody within the property sites – from management, employees, suppliers and guests,” said Diana Verde Nieto, co-founder of Positive Luxury, London. “It’s brilliant to see how sustainability is hard wired into Fairmont’s behavior.
“This is a fantastic strategy for staff engagement and support of the local environment, where challenges and opportunities will differ,” she said. “Allowing colleagues on the ground and in different locations to incorporate and utilize the local environment increases the success of the initiatives, and allows for a stronger impact that could continue for a life time.
The Fairmont Marina in Abu Dhabi
“This goal should always be at the heart of all good and positive practices.”
For example, the Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii now uses waste heat from a chiller system to heat its pool. Conventional heating methods can cost more than 90,000 dollars, and the new sustainable system is entirely cost free, thus saving Fairmont a significant sum at no loss.
The Fairmont Orchid team sponsors a coral reef cleaning in Hawaii
Sustainability is an important aspect of the Fairmont brand. The company has launched many initiatives over the years to reduce emissions and care for natural environments.
For example, in 2014 the Fairmont Beijing partnered with automaker BMW to offer guests emission-free transportation through the new electric i series.
The alliance brought both brands together to present guests with the opportunity to ride in the i series and experience Beijing. An eco-friendly package such as this likely interested environmentally conscious guests as well as BMW enthusiasts (see story).
In another example of its commitment to sustainability Fairmont Hotels & Resorts increased its commitment to bee preservation with an expanded “Bee Hotel” at its Royal York hotel in Toronto.
The existential threat posed on many fronts to bees has been widely discussed and has sparked a rescue effort by many interested parties. Fairmont intends to spur further action by emphasizing that bees need more land, hence the hotel, in addition to cleaner environments (see story).
These ventures have been very successful in helping the company improve its environmental sustainability. It is because of these creative projects that Fairmont was able to meet the WWF’s carbon dioxide reduction goals.
“Having sustainability embedded in their business strategy can be brilliant for reducing costs,” Ms. Nieto said. “With the right communication strategy it could be fantastic for customer and employee retention, as well as new corporate business.
Kay Sorin, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York