BY: Babar Ali
As the Chief Operational Officer, I am proud to lead an organization that recognizes sustainability as more than a trend—it is a necessity and a universal responsibility. We belong to an industry experiencing a profound shift in consciousness, ready and eager to make significant contributions to preserving our planet for future generations.
The rising demand for sustainable travel has been sparked by heightened global awareness and a genuine desire to mitigate environmental harm. This trend has made the adoption of sustainable initiatives a fundamental undertaking for organizations like ours. This shift is evident in the Sustainable Travel Report 2022 by Booking.com, which reveals that 81% of global travelers now regard sustainable travel as crucial. This requirement is primarily driven by the intensifying concern over climate change.
In response to this shift, we at Radisson Hotels have placed sustainability at the core of our operations. Our success is intricately tied to the attractions we offer—our pristine beaches, clear waters, and the unique cultural heritage of each locale, an enchanting blend of the natural and man-made world around us. Therefore, we owe it to our valued patrons and future generations to shield these offerings from the escalating threats posed by human activity.
Our mission is grounded in the pillars of sustainability—social, environmental, and economic. The Japanese philosophy of mottainai, which stresses resource efficiency and the recognition of untapped potential in objects, informs our proactive approach to sustainable operations. This philosophy guides us in reducing waste and better serving our community. We strive to create an organization that goes beyond merely adopting sustainable practices, aiming instead to cultivate a culture of responsibility and stewardship that extends into the broader commercial market.
In the Middle East, our industry is deeply committed to sustainability. Countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE have expressed their dedication to sustainability through bold net-zero targets, thereby cementing their commitment to delivering upon the Paris Climate Agreement. This presents immense value to our industry, which can leverage the unprecedented support being offered by these forward-thinking governments to drive sustainable transformation and meet the growing societal need for future-forward cities. In fact, the UAE declared 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability,’ with numerous ongoing environmental initiatives in full swing and an even greater surge in sustainability efforts anticipated at the upcoming COP 28 in Dubai.
Our strategy is multi-faceted, tackling key elements such as energy conservation, waste reduction, and the use of organic amenities. Energy conservation at Radisson involves both reduced usage and enhanced efficiency. We have established training programs that foster energy-conserving behaviors among our employees, and we constantly seek opportunities to incorporate new green technologies and products into our operations. In terms of waste reduction, we focus on sourcing food locally, or even growing it on-site when possible, reducing food spoilage, and transitioning to organic amenities to decrease our carbon footprint. These measures are not merely designed to impress our guests; they also provide tangible business benefits, including tax write-offs, financial grants, and faster regulatory permitting. It’s a win-win scenario all around.
A substantial part of our efforts centers on the issue of single-use plastics. We have committed to rethinking how we provide amenities to our guests. To reduce waste and align with our guests’ ever-evolving values, we have started replacing disposable shampoo, conditioner, and liquid soap bottles with reusable dispensers, among other similar changes.
Furthermore, the clear governmental commitment to sustainability and net-zero targets offers a significant opportunity for the hospitality industry. It encourages sustainable practices while also providing a framework for businesses to operate sustainably. Backed by government regulations and initiatives, hospitality businesses can now achieve their sustainability goals far more efficiently than ever before. Furthermore, this commitment sends a potent signal to travelers who are increasingly conscious of their environmental footprint, further reinforcing the demand for sustainable practices within our industry.
Our commitment to sustainable practices benefits not only the environment and local communities but also offers significant long-term advantages for our business. We’re proud to contribute to the global movement toward sustainability in hospitality and responsible travel, and we encourage other organizations to join us in this critical endeavor.
While challenges will always exist, we firmly believe that becoming more energy-efficient ultimately saves money, and being recognized as a sustainable brand will undoubtedly attract more patrons over time. We’re not just about doing good; we’re about making good business sense while doing so.
At Radisson Hotels, sustainability isn’t just an appendage to our operations—it’s a holistic way of life. Our aim is to establish a culture of sustainability that permeates every aspect of our operations, ensuring that travel and hospitality continue to be a joy for endless generations to come.”