From water conservation to waste management, elimination of single-use plastic to radiation free hotels, ITC Hotels has been adapting sustainable practices for over two decades. H C Vinayaka, VP, Technical, EHS & Sustainability at ITC Hotels writes about the many initiatives taken by the group adhering to their brand motto – Responsible Luxury
The year 2019 has seen an evolution in the way hoteliers run their businesses. With sustainable tourism and hospitality on the forefront, leading hospitality leaders and hotel businesses are relooking at the way they build businesses. It is notable to see that eco-friendliness has evolved from being a checklist to a top priority, given the rise in environmentally and socially conscious travellers.
Luxury hospitality is no different with the focus on going green and ensuring environmentally sustainable and responsible practices not hampering the guest experience. It is crucial to understand that adapting and introducing sustainable practices will positively contribute to a unique and authentic experience of the guest, thereby making them less guilty of leaving any carbon footprint.
ITC Hotels has adopted Responsible Luxury as part of its endeavour to proliferate a movement towards planet positive luxury experiences. Our belief is guided by the philosophy that luxury brands must have sustainable practices embedded in them. At ITC Hotels we call this Responsible Luxury- Luxury without compromising the earth and sustainability without compromising luxury.
Beginning at the design stage, each ITC Hotel adheres to the highest global and national green building standards to ensure that energy, water and solid waste efficiencies are maximised. From optimising 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 eco-system around them. At the same time, equal emphasis is given to sustainable sourcing – be in terms of building materials used or edible produce – a sizeable portion is locally sourced.
ITC Hotels has undertaken various measures to ensure reduction in carbon footprint and all ITC Luxury Collection Hotels are LEED Platinum Certified.
Elimination of single use plastic products
ITC Hotels will discontinue single-use plastic in all its hotels, from December 31 following PM Narendra Modi’’s announcement to restrict the use of single-use plastic in the country. “ITC Hotels has been adopting sustainable practices for over two decades with responsible luxury as its guiding premise – delivering authentic indigenous experiences, which are in harmony with the environment and society. ITC Hotels was one of the first to introduce glass water bottles in 2012. Such endeavors will only be enhanced in our commitment to a wonderful and sustainable future,” avers Dipak Haksar, chief executive, ITC Hotels and WelcomHotel.
As a result, cocktail stirrers will be replaced with wooden stirrers; regular toothbrush to bamboo toothbrush; plastic bottles to glass bottles; regular plastic combs to bamboo comb; plastic cutlery to wooden cutlery; already all toiletries at ITC Hotels come in bio degradable environmental friendly packaging thus eliminating further use of plastic.
To further maximise the impact, ITC Hotels have installed within its hotels, effective purification systems to generate international quality drinking water. We call it the Zero Mile water or SunyaAqua, as it involves no transportation. The purification system includes ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, pH correction and UV based disinfection.
This is done in most hygienic conditions in specially designed plant. The quality of SunyaAqua is strictly monitored by the inhouse Microbiological Laboratory in the hotels and also through external approved laboratories.
The invisible protection – With the exponential rise of equipment using mobile and wireless technologies, electro-magnetic radiations have filled up our habitats and atmosphere and excessive exposure to these radiations are affecting our physical and psychological health adversely. Keeping in line with our motto of “Responsible Luxury “, ITC Hotels have inducted technology that has the capability to nullify the harmful effects of both geopathic radiations and manmade radiations. With the minimised effect of radiations, our guests can have a safer stay and better sleep. All our employees are benefitted too, with better energy levels and health. ITC Kohenur was the first hotel across the chain to be installed with Radiation Harmoniser followed by other ITC Hotel properties.
Food waste management
Over 99 per cent of solid waste is either re-used or recycled. This has helped ITC Hotels in gaining zero waste generation status by reducing, reusing and recycling the solid waste generated. As maximum waste is generated by food at most of the hotels, it converts its food waste into manure by in-house organic waste convertor machine. The manure is further used within the hotels for landscaping and in garden areas.
Water efficiency initiatives
Both ITC Gardenia and ITC Windsor have separate waste-water treatment plant for grey and black water. Reutilisation of treated water for flushing, cooling tower, landscaping and miscellaneous cleaning helps the hotels in reduction of water consumption.
Increased treated fresh air infusion for cleaner and healthier indoor air quality. ITC Maurya, New Delhi is the first hotel in India to provide superior Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) at par with WHO standards.
More than 60 per cent of total electrical energy demand is met through renewable energy sources i.e. wind and solar. ITC Maratha and ITC Grand Central, ITC Rajputana in Jaipur, ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, ITC Windsor and ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru (Luxury collection hotels) and WelcomHotel Chennai, WelcomHotel Bengaluru and WelcomHotel Coimbatore in the five star category meet their total electrical energy demand through renewable sources. 100 per cent powered by wind turbines through our own wind farms.