Now more than ever, it’s important for green travelers to seek out eco-friendly lodging. By choosing a hotel chain with strong interests in responsible environmental stewardship, sustainability, and conservation, you’ll be supporting an admirable business, as well as encouraging the spread of green hospitality practices around the world. It’s really an indispensable part of a truly eco-friendly vacation!
Of course, it can be difficult to know which hotels feature green policies, and which are merely “greenwashing,” or adopting superficially green practices to trick conscientious customers into staying at their hotel. The best way to determine if a hotel is truly eco-friendly is by delving into their corporate sustainability policies, which are typically made public online, especially if they have a particularly impressive green policy (we all like to brag a little!).
A hotel chain with significant green cred is the Fairmont brand. Organized under the umbrella of “corporate responsibility,” Fairmont works to better their operations by practicing “responsible business” and protecting the “environment and ecosystem.” Because they have hotels all over the world, in many cases “responsible business” applies to their impact on local communities, and the ways in which they navigate issues like hiring locally, using local suppliers for everything from cleaning supplies to food, and respecting local culture and heritage in any development.
Their efforts to make only a positive impact on the “environment and ecosystem” are perhaps more familiar to customers, but are equally important when it comes to sustainability and green legacies. In this area of focus, Fairmont makes sure that everything from initial construction to daily operations is run with the best green practices in mind. They even have “sustainability teams” at individual Fairmont properties to make sure that they’re operating as effectively as possible within their green guidelines. Their official environmental policy is also available here online if you’d like to look through it.
A few areas where Fairmont works to be greener:
Energy & CO2: Strive to reduce their use of energy and achieve energy efficiency through things like light bulbs, washing machines, and at select properties, alternative energy sources. Each property operates under an Energy and Carbon Management Program, which tracks greenhouse gas emissions. Individual hotel properties participate in the “Earth Hour” program.
Water: Aim to reduce overall water consumption and water waste by installing low-flow faucets, toilets, and showerheads, reduce water contamination through more responsible disposal practices, and create cleaner water within their communities. Individual hotels also participate in shoreline clean up programs.
Waste: Work to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills through initiatives like recycling, composting, and reusing. They also opt for vendors that run “take-back programs” where possible, where hotels can work with their suppliers to recycle difficult items, like old televisions or other technology.
Biodiversity: Protect natural environments through responsible building practices, building rooftop beehives to encourage pollination and increase bee populations, and growing their own herb gardens at select hotels. They also work to utilize organic produce and sustainable seafood across the board where possible.
Green Meetings: Offer multiple different green options to meeting planners to help reduce their impact on the environment, with features like “disposable free” food and beverage service, locally grown produce, and even activities for meeting attendees that involve appreciation of the environment.