Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and Earth Day 2019 with over 25 per cent groupwide reduction of single-use plastic in a year. The Group announced a pledge against single-use plastic in support of Earth Day 2018 theme ‘End Plastic Pollution’. Within a year, this declaration has inspired the change across its 48 hotels worldwide and successfully eliminated 4.2 mn single-use plastic items, equating to a significant 26 per cent reduction in total usage.
Recognising the detrimental effect of plastic on the environment and marine life, the hotel company implemented a plan for all its properties to phase out the use of disposable plastics. The first year saw a strategic reduction of 31 commonly used plastic products, particularly 1 mn plastic bags (28 per cent), 1.3 mn plastic straws (51 per cent) replaced with paper, steel and bamboo straws, 1.28 million plastic bottles (28 per cent water bottles & 63 per cent soft drink bottles), cocktail stirrers (58 per cent), and plastic-wrapped minibar items (72 per cent).
Aimed to be launched this year towards overall plastic reduction, the Group’s lifestyle retail arm – Banyan Tree Gallery is developing sustainable alternatives for its range of guests’ amenities such as cotton buds, combs, and toothbrushes. Banyan Tree‘s reformulated body and aromatherapy products are made of 95 per cent natural botanical ingredients which are sustainably sourced. The 18-month research and development extended across the value chain of both its packaging and ingredients so as to create the best possible products for people and the environment read a statement by the company.
Dr Steve Newman, asst VP/ group sustainability director, said, “This is a positive first step in the right direction, considering the magnitude of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts’ ultimate plastic-free goal. The hospitality and tourism industry as a whole is a major consumer of this planet’s resources, often providing one-time use products on mass scales. Looking at the links between human activities, plastic pollution and biodiversity loss with environmental degradation, this presents a unique opportunity for our Group to impact and drive change on global plastic consumption amongst our stakeholders especially the suppliers. As a pioneer with ongoing stewardship in sustainability, the Group remains committed to our pledge to eliminate single-use plastic and continues to embed climate change within our sustainability efforts and projects.”
Driven by Banyan Tree Global Foundation, the non-profit arm (an integral part of the management’s framework) focuses on directing social and environmental responsibility across the group. Highlighting the power of responsible tourism to promote positive change, Banyan Tree continually educates and involve guests, and associates the community to actively do their part for the environment. This is achieved by driving activities including community clean-ups, sustainability talks on the environment. The Group also marked Earth Hour 2019 by engaging close to 15,000 people in 43 properties worldwide, leading to energy savings of over 5,000 kWh – enough to power a four-bedroom public housing unit in Singapore for 13 months.