Marriott International improves supply chain sustainability with MindClick

Checking sustainable supply chains.

Checking sustainable supply chains.

For some years Marriott International has been partnering with MindClick Group, working with them to increase sustainability within their purchasing and supply chain. Green Hotelier spoke with representatives of both companies to find out more.

MindClick Group is a leader in supply chain sustainability performance measurement, providing clients with a trusted marketplace for sustainable sourcing. Their Sustainability Performance Index platform is used by brands to ‘green’ their global supply chain and to source products to meet their environmental, social responsibility and business initiatives, which Marriott has been doing for several years.

As well as examining their sourcing practices, the companies also launched the Rest Better™ sustainability programme; a joint initiative to educate travellers about guest wellbeing and the benefits of positive social and environmental impacts of sustainable furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) hotel purchasing practices with the help of MindClick’s Sustainability Index.

Dave Lippert, vice president of procurement for Marriott International explained how they work with MindClick.

“Our FF&E Procurement team has implemented a ‘Marriott annual Supplier Sustainability Assessment Program (MSAP-FF&E)’ which is being administered by MindClick Group,” he explained. “The team has worked with them for nearly three years and over 75% of our FF&E purchases are now made with MindClick rated suppliers. The programme is an annual review of our vendors’ Fair Labour & Human Rights practices, environmentally responsible manufacturing efforts and product sustainability.”

The supplier assessment is based on globally accepted standards including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), USGBC LEED program, Carbon Disclosure Project, ISO standards and a Lifecycle Assessment.

Speaking about the initiative, Denise Naguib, vice president of sustainability and supplier diversity had said, “Our supply chain focus, which ties to our sustainability and commitment to diversity and inclusion, has also progressed with our achievement of 75 percent spend with sustainable suppliers through MindClick Group’s Sustainability Index for furniture, fixtures and equipment and $468 million in spend with diverse suppliers.”

JoAnna Abrams, CEO of MindClick Group pointed out why it was important for hotels to consider their supply chains, saying, “From a consumer standpoint, the current millennial generation of travellers cares greatly about sustainability. Our Sustainability Index facilitates the flow of information from the suppliers to the brands and from the brands to the consumer to meet the demand for sustainability.”

We asked Dave Lippert why it was important to Marriott to explore and ensure sustainability within their supply chain. He told us, “Marriott has always worked to ensure our suppliers' practices align with our values as an organisation. As sustainability continues to evolve, we recognise the importance and benefit achieved by partnering with our supply chain to operate and produce products in socially and environmentally responsible ways. Their efforts can help our properties and owner and franchisee partners reduce their environmental footprints, while at the same time demonstrating our global commitment to the next generation travellers and workforce. Marriott recognises that smart, socially and environmentally responsible policies bring us customer preference and loyalty. Travellers care about companies that do good and advocate broadly for issues of global importance that extend far beyond our properties and into our supply chains.”

Historically, Marriott’s move to improving their sustainability practices in purchasing dates back to 2006 when they formed an Executive Green Council reporting directly to the CEO to catalyse their sustainability beyond water and energy conservation. In collaboration with Conservation International, a global environmental NGO, Marriott set the following goals, including greening the supply chain.      Marriott’s Spirit to Preserve® Goals:  • Further reduce energy and water consumption by 25 percent per available room by 2017; • Expand our green hotel development ten-fold in five years; • Green our multi-billion dollar supply chain; • Educate and inspire associates and guests to support the environment; • Address environmental challenges through innovative conservation initiatives including rainforest protection and water conservation.

But researching and ensuring a robust and transparent supply chain takes a lot of resources and expertise which was why the company chose to partner with MindClick to take their procurement to the next level of sustainability.

Lippert explained, “MindClick brings four critical services: a deep expertise in sustainability metrics across a variety of product categories; technology tools to cost effectively and efficiently support data collection and reporting from our suppliers; independent supplier performance evaluation services based on a desk audit of supplier responses and their expertise in rating systems; and access to solutions to help suppliers improve their performance.”

JoAnna Abrams explained the potential risk to hotels which don’t investigate their supply chain. She said, “Today’s boardroom conversations - especially for publicly traded companies - include discussions on the need to better understand and mitigate supply chain risks to ensure the financial and operational sustainability of the organisation. In response to climate change, the speed and transparency of technology, and changing consumer values, hotel companies face the risks of:

  1. a) price impacts from scarcity of supply, b) reputational damage from supply chain related human rights and fair labour practice violations,  c) competitive threats from sitting back while others respond to consumer demand for local, for product safety, and for ensuring sourcing and manufacturing practices have a positive impact on people and the planet.

Her company provides supplier performance data collection, verification, analysis, and dashboard reporting; supplier education and process improvement guidance; and client team cross-functional engagement to help integrate responsible sourcing into R&D and operations. She explained, “Using our data collection, verification, reporting, education and corrective action tools, we help clients implement a programme to continually measure, improve and reward supplier sustainability accomplishments that align with the organisation’s goals and objectives.”

MindClick offers suppliers a reporting system which allows them to submit their adherence to a range of criteria, providing data which is open to analysis. Abrams said, “Our technology solution makes it easy for suppliers to report on their efforts and accomplishments in the sustainability categories of importance to our clients. Our standard data collection, verification and reporting solution follows the Hospitality Sustainable Purchasing Index, a supply chain performance framework based on leading global standards, created by the Hospitality Sustainable Purchasing Consortium.”

Doing so allows the company to use their expertise to offer advice as well as peace of mind to clients, as well as the ability to flag any potential areas of concern. She said, “We provide our clients with an understanding of supplier performance by product category, by specific sustainability indicator and relative to target goals. Given the recent emergence of supply chain sustainability as a focal point, we fully expect there to be suppliers who have not yet fully implemented leading socially and environmentally responsible practices. When we identify areas of improvement, we work with our clients and their suppliers to provide access to solutions, and to develop specific goals and timelines by which improvements are expected.”

Whilst Marriott has found a solution and partnership which works well for them, other hotels may be lagging behind, but Lippert pointed out why it’s an issue hoteliers need to be on top of. “We know the next generation travellers and workforce want to know what’s in today’s products, and what impact the manufacturing process has on the community and the environment. Hotels in essence are a larger extension of a traveller’s home, and just as they choose products reflecting their values, we want them to know Marriott chooses products that reflect our values. With an increased focus on issues such as chemicals of concern, fair labour practices, palm oil deforestation, local sourcing, and more, our focus on supply chain sustainability gives us the tools to proactively respond to the needs of our guests, our investors and our global community.”

For more advice on supply chains and responsible procurement, have a look at Green Hotelier’s Know How Guides.

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