sus·tain·abil·i·ty - How do you define it?

December 7, 2012

I looked up sustainability in the dictionary the other day.  It’s one of those words that I never used to come across and now it’s everywhere.  The dictionary has more than ten meanings that range from protecting the health of the planet to creating jobs and improving living conditions.  Marriott’s recent Sustainability Report has all the definitions covered.  I’m so proud to be part of a company that is leading the way in being a good global citizen.   We don’t just write a check and walk away.  Marriott is active in shaping the programs and this global involvement is really astounding. 

Here are a few highlights.  For example, there’s a section on the hotel being built in Haiti.  The hotel is scheduled to open in 2014, creating jobs and much-needed hotel and meeting space as Haiti recovers.

sus·tain·abil·i·ty: job creation; economic development

The report looks at Marriott’s partnerships to help protect the Brazilian rain forest and the fresh water in the mountains of China.  A world apart, these sustainability efforts have the same goal – protecting natural resources while creating sustainable livelihoods.  After all, we need a healthy planet for people to travel and explore.  In Brazil, the villagers harvest nuts.  In China, they harvest honey from bee farms.  Two ways communities are caring for their own environments and developing “sustainable” ways of making a living. 

sus·tain·abil·i·ty: environmental stewardship 

Viktoria, Berlin MarriottYouth unemployment is very high particularly among kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Hotels need well-trained workers interested in careers in hospitality.  In Europe, our hotels have partnered with two groups to provide this training: SOS Children’s Villages in Continental Europe and The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge in the United Kingdom. After completing her training in the SOS program in Berlin, Viktoria (right) was hired as a waitress at the Midtown Grill at the Berlin Marriott. 

sus·tain·abil·i·ty: educating and training the next generation

A universal definition of sustainability remains elusive, but that’s not a bad thing.  If Marriott’s Sustainability Report is any indication, the word’s meaning will keep growing and so will our commitment.

What’s your definition of sustainability?  Leave me a comment.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move. 

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Insightful piece.
Check out our site (Lexiconofsustainability.com) for more definitions about sustainability.

There was a piece on CNBC TV channel this morning that the open positions are going unfilled in manufacturing, or people leaving work after a short time because the unemployment benefits have been extended. I have never taken help from the Government and have been lucky. There are individuals who sustain themselves through work others look to the public sector. The best sustainers are people like you and Mr. Marriott Senior who have sustained others through employment opportunity you created for many people and help the needy sustain them. Keep up the good work Mr. Marriott. Syed T. A. Naqvi, Platinum emeritus.

Sustainability means keeping the environment viable, thriving for generations to come. Sustainability entails taking into account the actual situation and taking action to regain or repair what is damaged to keep this Earth going. I think that we as humans have reached a place where we need to take into account what we have done to but this Earth's viability into question. We need to put our greed, our selfishness behind us or we will not be sustaining this Earth's and its future. That takes a lot of thinking of giving up, of admitting wrong and mostly determination and humility. Can we do it? It's our biggest test as a civilization.