ITP members steam ahead in World Water Week

It's time to act to safeguard water

Members of the International Tourism Partnership are underlining their ongoing commitment to good water stewardship and their work on the HWMI Working Group with further strong actions during World Water Week (23-28 August).

Earlier this year Carlson Rezidor announced their partnership with Just a Drop; encouraging guests to forego daily linen changes in exchange for a donation to the charity which helps provide fresh, clean water in areas of most need.

Emphasising their commitment, Rezidor hotel the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Stockholm is proud to be hosting a number of World Water Week events in the conference’s Jubilee year.

The conference, organised by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. The lack of clean drinking water is a significant problem worldwide. Although the planet consists of 71% water, only 1% is drinkable. About 750 million people have no access to clean drinking water, and every 20 seconds a child dies from waterborne diseases. Experts predict that more than half the world's population will suffer from water shortage by the year 2025.

Inge Huijbrechts, Vice President Responsible Business for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said, “As stated in the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7C and in the soon to be released Sustainable Development Goal 6, the world is working to provide safe drinking water and basic sanitation to all. As one of the world’s leading hotel companies and a large water consumer, we want to help more people get access to clean drinking water, and also closely monitor and control our own water consumption.”

Previously, announcing the partnership with Just a Drop Huijebrechts said, “Hotels use a vast amount of water in the course of their daily business and it is a fine balancing act between guest comfort and running a business responsibly. We are committed to reducing our water usage as much as possible and have implemented significant efficiencies in the last few years. Between 2007 and 2012, we achieved a 27 percent reduction in water use across our hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa and we aim to reduce consumption by a further five percent by the end of this year.”

Carlson Rezidor alongside their fellow ITP members are active participants in the HWMI Working Group which sees members collaborating to create the hotel industry’s first consistent water measurement tool: the Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI).

In its thematic document for 2015, World Water Week says: “If we are to progress beyond ‘business-as-usual’ that did not fully deliver on the MDGs, we need to think innovatively – together – about new development pathways. Our various communities, too often separated in silos, need to form new alliances, innovative public-private partnerships and social entrepreneurships for an effective and socially accepted development agenda.” ITP and the HWMI Working Group are actively meeting that challenge.

Meanwhile InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has today announced the appointment of global water-use experts, the Water Footprint Network, to develop a worldwide water stewardship programme for IHG.

As part of the programme, IHG and the Water Footprint Network will develop a deep understanding of IHG’s water usage at a local level, applying best practice techniques and behaviours to manage and reduce its water footprint. The partnership will build on the good progress IHG is already making to reduce water consumption per occupied room in water-stressed areas, one of the company’s 2013-2017 Corporate Responsibility targets.

Paul Snyder, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility – Environmental Sustainability, IHG said, “We are delighted to add the Water Footprint Network’s expertise to the great work we’re doing towards achieving our reduction targets around water consumption. IHG has a presence in nearly 100 countries, so ensuring we are good water stewards locally generates significant environmental and economic benefits for both IHG and the communities in which we operate.”

IHG helps its hotels to manage freshwater usage through the company’s online environmental sustainability tool, IHG Green Engage. In addition to water, the system gives hotels the ability to track how much carbon and energy they are using, as well as to assess how waste is managed. IHG’s global estate of over 4,900 hotels is enrolled, giving them access to more than 200 specific actions – or ‘Green Solutions’ – designed to reduce hotels’ environmental impact.

There are nearly 30 Green Solutions devoted solely to water. These include the ability to track consumption on a monthly basis, as well as guidance on more specific water-saving solutions such as metering, rainwater harvesting, and the installation of devices such as low-flow taps and showerheads. Such solutions helped IHG drive a 4.2% reduction in water use per occupied room in water-stressed areas to the end of 2014.

In addition Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has shared its holistic water story detailing the company’s efforts to tackle water stewardship. With more than half of its current and future properties in areas facing critical water issues, Starwood has in place a strategy which includes scarcity, flooding, and quality, and has set a system-wide water reduction goal, as well as introducing new technology and dedicated on-property actions, plus offering conservation-focused guest programmes.

Ken Siegel, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Head of Global Citizenship at Starwood said, “Some say water is the new oil and, as we execute a global growth strategy, water is not only an environmental consideration, but also a potential business risk that impacts guests, properties and the communities where we operate. Starwood has to look beyond conservation and leverage innovation and partnerships to limit its environmental impact, support and enhance its local economies, and protect people and the planet, all while delivering an unmatched guest experience.”

In July, Starwood announced that it was nearing its 20% water reduction goal by achieving a 17.26% decline in water consumption since 2008. The reduction follows the launch of Starwood’s 30/20 by 20 environmental goals in 2009, aimed to cut energy use by 30% and water use by 20% by 2020 globally.

Watch the video Starwood’s Water Story: Thinking Beyond Conservation below, and see an infographic on the situation and their actions here.

Marking themselves out as sustainability leaders, all ITP members have been addressing water security, risk and conservation for some years. Outcomes include ITP’s Know How Guide on Water Conservation, ITP’s stakeholder event at WTM 2014 to address water issues, and a Water Risk Assessment Report commissioned from SIWI.

Taking that progress and know-how forward, the ITP HWMI Working Group, with representatives from global hotel chains including Carlson Rezidor, Diamond Resorts, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Marriott International, NH Hotel Group, Soneva, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Taj, Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels, Whitbread, Wyndham, Accor and MGM Hotels & Resorts are pooling their expertise to develop the HWMI.

Finally, to mark the World Water Week and Stockholm Water Prize celebration in Stockholm and raise global awareness around water scarcity, all Radisson Blu hotels in Stockholm will organize a “Walk for Water” charity event to support Just A Drop. All visitors and guests of Radisson Blu can participate in a short walk of 10 meters with cans filled with water. For every hundred meters walked, Radisson Blu will donate the money needed to give a child clean drinking water for life.

“We are organising Walk for Water to let people get a real sense of the hardships involved in carrying water every day in order to survive. We hope that a lot of the World Water Week delegates and Radisson Blu guests will Walk for Water with us”, said Lena Bergengren, Human Resource Manager at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Stockholm.

Walk for Water will take place on Wednesday, August 26, from 8:00-18:00 at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Radisson Blu Strand Hotel, Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel, Radisson Blu Sky City Hotel and Radisson Blu Arlandia Hotel in Stockholm.


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