The hotel industry is undergoing a shift in the way it approaches Corporate Social Responsibility, more so when it comes to environmental sustainability. All the major hospitality companies in India are going the extra mile to minimise their carbon footprint. Many are extending a hand of generosity to the communities where their hotels and resorts are situated.
These five hospitality companies in India are giving major goals to others in the hotel industry when it comes to CSR and sustainability.
1. ITC Hotels
Flowing from the ITC Group’s sustainability-centric approach in all business operations with particular emphasis on carbon reduction, the ITC Hotels business has pioneered the concept of Responsible Luxury in all its super-premium luxury hotels. Responsible Luxury has set new benchmarks in responsible hoteliering. From optimizing the use of natural light to meeting their electrical demand through wind and solar energy; conserving water through harvesting rainwater and treating and recycling grey water; and attaining zero waste generation status by reducing, reusing and recycling the solid waste generated, every effort is made to preserve the ecosystem around them.
All ITC super-premium luxury hotels are LEED® Platinum certified. More than 60% of total electrical energy demand is met through renewable energy sources i.e. wind and solar. 100% of waste water is either treated or recycled. There was 50% reduction in water consumption in the past 5 years. Over 99% of solid waste is either re-used or recycled.
At the same time, equal emphasis is given to sustainable sourcing – whether in terms of building materials used or edible produce, a sizeable portion is locally sourced. More than 30% of edible ingredients are procured locally. Approximately 50% of stationery is either locally sourced or is FSC certified; 20% of materials used in new hotels is sourced from the region.
2. Hotel Leela Venture
Since its inception, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, part of Hotel Leela Venture Limited, has focused on “greening” by converting barren land on which the 5-star hotels are built into lush zones to benefit surrounding communities, further reducing energy and water consumption, and responsibly handling waste management while limiting carbon emissions, and inspiring employees and guests to support the environment. The Leela’s Founder Late Capt. C.P. Krishnan Nair has received numerous international and national awards for his initiatives towards environment conservation.
Even before Corporate Social Responsibility took centrestage in every major company’s philosophy, The Leela Mumbai had set its mark on responsible growth by landscaping wide swathes of urban property with over 6000 coconut palms and thousands of trees to beautify and cleanse the air. Even before the Sahar Elevated Access Road to the international terminus (T2 airport) was built from the Western Express Highway, the group took it upon themselves to clear up and transform the uneven access roads to the airport with dense organically grown foliage trees, thereby easing the commute of thousands that accessed the international airport.
The ecological consciousness of the hotel group goes beyond simple aesthetics—it uses biodegradable detergents in its properties, avoids plastic and exercises strict controls on the usage of electricity, water, heating and lighting. The group has also been acclaimed for its green construction standards that have achieved Platinum LEED certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council. Both The Leela Palace New Delhi and The Leela Palace Chennai have been awarded Platinum LEED certification. Then-President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the National Energy Conservation Award 2012 to The Leela Palace Bangalore for its notable contribution towards energy savings.
3. The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL)
The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) stable has iconic hospitality brands like Taj hotels, Ginger, Vivanta and amã Stays & Trails. IHCL has championed the cause of skilling less privileged youth in the country since more than a decade; long before the inception of the CSR mandatory spend.
The CSR of IHCL has trained and certified over 20,000 youth from under-served communities. They support over 60 traditional silk weavers and 6 social impact organizations through the Taj value chain. They currently run 14 Taj-Tata STRIVE skill training centres and 15 hotels offering Golden Threshold Programme in partnership with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) – offering pro-bono vocational training to target communities; 3 heritage sites being supported; 1600 kgs of used soaps donated to Diversey’s recycling initiative. IHCL hotels support the local neighbourhoods through needs-based activities and and have enabled indirect employment for over 100 artisans and cultural troupes members.
The Taj Public Service Welfare Trust (TPSWT) was set up in December 2008, in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks. Inspired by the resilience of survivors and the courage of those who came to their aid, their purpose is to reach out to people affected by disasters, both man-made and natural, with support to rebuild their lives.
IHCL hotels in environmentally sensitive areas near natural parks, forests and fragile coastlines are constructed using local materials and eco-friendly design. Through CSR projects for turtle conservation and coral reef restoration, they give hotel guests the opportunity to participate in preserving the natural beauty of the locations they visit.
4. The Park Hotels
The Park Hotels have embraced the humanistic definition of sustainability: That reconnecting with a healthy, meaningful and productive quality of life for humans now is the way to a more holistic sustainability, in a more abundant future. As a policy, all hotels undertake eco-activities in everyday operations like recycling, conservation of energy and chemical-free food offerings. There is great impetus given to local crafts in the design of the hotels and the items sold at The Box, the boutique store at The Park Hotels.
The hospitality major believes in sustaining history, connecting the contemporary with the traditional. The Park Hotels entered an agreement in the year 2000 with the Archaeological Survey of India and the National Culture Fund to preserve and maintain the iconic Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory and its environs. Beautiful landscaping is laid out around the structure, and a cohesive information signage system explains the yantras (or instruments) and their unique functioning has been put up on the site. Ambient lighting and adjective facilities have been added to make the site an attraction for tourists, or just a quiet place for contemplation and reflection in the bustle of New Delhi.
The Park Hotels strive towards serving the community, which is the hallmark of a good corporate citizen. Following a vision of social accountability and growth, they channel resources into partnerships with several NGOs, serving social responsibilities in the areas of disability, children, youth, women, health, crafts, arts, heritage conservation, education and development. Educational programmes with orphanages and youth reach drives, like anti-drug campaigns involving employee volunteers, sustain future generations. Initiatives with hospitals, blood donation camps and the urban poor generate solutions for health and societal challenges. Planting of saplings, cleanliness campaigns and awareness generation make up a large part of the green initiatives at the Hotels.
5. Oberoi Hotels
The Oberoi Group, founded in 1934, presently operates 33 hotels, two Nile cruisers and a motor vessel in the backwaters of Kerala. The Oberoi Group with SOS Children’s Villages provides for the upbringing and education to 210 parentless, homeless or abandoned children living in SOS Children’s Villages in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Cochin, Jaipur and Kolkata. The Oberoi Group also sponsors higher education through Bachelors Programs of 61 youths at various professional institutes. Team members from hotels and business units of The Oberoi Group are also actively engaged with the children of SOS Children’s Villages and help drive a number of initiatives around learning, fun and games.
With the aim to augment its sustainability initiatives, The Oberoi Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of 4 PSU’s under the Ministry of Power in April 2021. Under the partnership, EESL, through its nationwide network, will collaborate with all Oberoi Group Hotels to evaluate opportunities for saving energy and lowering emissions. Additionally, as a part of The Oberoi Group’s efforts towards sustainability, tailor-made energy efficiency initiatives for each of their hotels and resorts will be executed. The potential energy efficiency measures will include lighting, electric motors & pumps, air-conditioning, ventilation systems, indoor air quality systems and electric vehicles along with charging infrastructure.