EarthCheck, a global leader in environmental benchmarking and certification, will today present nine Taj hotels with Gold Certification for five years of continuous benchmarking and reporting under the EarthCheck Standard.
The hotels are the first of 76 EarthCheck accredited hotels across the Taj portfolio to achieve the five year milestone, with 54 more properties on track to reach the target by 2016.
Using the EarthCheck program, the nine honored hotels are proving they can deliver robust environmental savings to complement Taj’s existing CSR programs. In 2013, they collectively reduced energy consumption by 174,766,344MJ, enough energy to power 53,940 homes in India and cut waste by 7,172,259.2 litres, the equivalent of removing 186 shipping containers filled with rubbish.
“Taj has a long standing commitment to sustainability programs, and the EarthCheck benchmarking and certification accreditation perfectly complements our Taj EARTH internal process and campaign,” said Mr. Raymond Bickson, Managing Director and CEO of the Indian Hotels Company..
“This reiterates our commitment and sets the stage for conscious organizational effort to commit to energy and water conservation, better waste management practices and focused local sourcing of materials and manpower.
Mr Bickson said that Taj also has focused partnerships and programmes towards ‘Building Sustainable Livelihoods’ – the group’s CSR theme for supporting neighbourhoods and less privileged communities.
“Be it our Vivanta motifs for promoting the unique elements of destinations in which we operate or promotion of regional cuisines through our Gateway Active Foods concept or preservation and restoration of palaces undertaken through our luxury brand – it all manifests the same belief – a belief in continuing to make a difference everyday not only for our betterment but for the preservation and betterment of our ecosystems,” explained Mr. Bickson.
CEO of EarthCheck and EC3 Global, Mr. Stewart Moore added that while many global hotel brands are now measuring and benchmarking their CSR activities, few are certified by an external party.
“The fact that Taj Group is using EarthCheck capabilities and backing their benchmarking with a recognized third party is what gives this hotel group a point of difference in its sustainability efforts,” Mr. Moore said.
“What is also commendable is that the Taj Group has maintained this benchmarking for five years without wavering while some other hotel groups have dipped in and out of the sustainability space.
“This length of time and the growing number of Taj properties now engaged with EarthCheck shows absolute commitment to quality external benchmarking,” he said.
Reflecting over the five-year journey, Mr Moore agrees that the diversity of the Taj hotels presented challenges and a “cookie cutter” approach to sustainability was never going to work.
“Due to the variety and age of the hotels, each property had to start with a critical review of their operational footprint before they could compare their sustainability results against international benchmarks and baselines.
“Taj’s success comes down to the fact that the hotel group, like their Tata parent company, has a rich tradition in caring for the environment and in empowering staff to make changes to their immediate environment.
“Each year, these nine hotels have paused and asked themselves, ‘How can we do it better?’ Sometimes it is a matter of starting with simple steps and then progressively moving forward to year-on-year improvements,” explained Mr. Moore.
To share success, Moore and his EarthCheck team coordinate a bimonthly ‘EarthCheck Engineers’ Forum’, a video webinar to share world’s best practices and focus on specific challenges experienced.
A 25 year veteran in sustainability in the tourism and hospitality industry Mr Moore added that successful sustainability programs are more than just carbon foot printing and must blend social and economic aims into the environmental targets.
He said that Taj successfully combines all three factors within their EARTH and social responsibility programs.
Mr Bickson agreed that the Tata group’s beliefs on sustainability have led to a corporate policy that emphasizes environment preservation. Tata companies work on projects that include repairing green cover, reducing effluents and emissions, maintaining local ecologies and improving long term corporate sustainability.
“Taj’s community and environment-based initiatives reflect Tata Group’s commitment to act on climate change, and drive community engagement and improvement programmes,” Mr Bickson said.
“Taj Hotels have always believed in society and environment being integral stakeholders in their business along with their shareholders, customers, vendors and others.”
The Taj Group promotes corporate citizenship through their strategic public-private partnerships which encourage building livelihoods of less-advantaged youth and women. Causes include reducing malnutrition, promoting indigenous artisans and craftsmen and enhancing employability of identified target groups by sharing their core competencies as a leading hospitality company. They encourage training and development of differently-abled youth.
The Taj Group is committed to the cause of building a sustainable environment by reducing the impact of their daily operations on the environment and improving operational efficiencies, resource conservation, reuse and recycling of key resources.
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www.ec3global.com | www.earthcheck.org | www.sustainabletourismonline.com
EarthCheck, managed and owned by EC3 Global, is an internationally recognised environmental management and certification program with members in over 80 countries. The program improves operational performance of member organisations and reduces costs. Recent studies show that six million people a week are impacted by EarthCheck’s branded solutions. The company takes a scientific and systematic approach to risk mitigation and legislative requirements and is regarded as one of the world’s best practice environmental sustainability leaders. For more information, visit www.earthcheck.org.
About Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces
Established in 1901, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is one of Asia’s largest and finest group of hotels, comprising 110 hotels in 64 locations across India with an additional 17 international hotels in the Maldives, Malaysia, Australia, UK, USA, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East. From world-renowned landmarks to modern business hotels, idyllic beach resorts to authentic Grand Palaces, each Taj hotel offers an unrivalled fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service and modern luxury. For over a century, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, the iconic flagship has set a benchmark for fine living with exquisite refinement, inventiveness and warmth. Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is part of the Tata Group, India’s premier business house.