Marriott on the Move

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Addressing Climate Change

Posted: April 7, 2008 06:03:52 PM

Braga-Marriott-Viana I'm here at the Amazonia exhibit at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. I'm surrounded by the flora and fauna of the rainforest, including a two-toed sloth and some poison arrow frogs.

I'm really excited, so let me jump right into it. Our company and the Brazilian state of Amazonas just signed an agreement to protect 1.4 million acres of endangered Amazon rainforest. We're committing $2 million. The money will fund an environmental management plan administered by the newly created Amazonas Sustainable Foundation. We've been told this is the first partnership of its kind between the public sector and a corporation to prevent deforestation, which we know results in global warming. We hope other companies will follow our lead. By the end of the year, our guests - business travelers, families and people attending conferences - will have the opportunity to contribute to this rainforest fund so they, too, can offset the greenhouse gas emissions that result from their hotel stays. This is an easy way for our guests to help address climate change.

Here's why this partnership is so significant. Trees in the rainforest are being cut down because the timber is a valuable commodity. But these trees also absorb greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, and keep the planet from warming. Put another way, the burning and clearing of the rainforest produces more greenhouse gases than all the cars, SUVs, trucks and trains on the planet combined.

Addressing Climate Change




Marriott recently calculated its carbon footprint with the help of our friends at Conservation International. It will help us benchmark our progress as we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions globally. I've told you about some of the things we've already done in previous blogs, like replacing 450,000 light bulbs with fluorescent lighting and installing 400,000 showerheads and toilets that use less water. Here's where we're headed.

We plan to reduce our fuel and water consumption at our hotels around the world by 25 percent over the next 10 years. One exciting way to meet that goal will be the installation of solar power at up to 40 hotels by 2017.

And we've asked our top 40 suppliers to provide greener products and services. They've come up with some really exciting products, like a BIC pen that's made from recycled plastic. We buy 47 million of these every year. We also buy bamboo golf tees at some of our resorts. Bamboo is a renewable wood source.

Our employees will continue to play a major role. Next month, we'll unveil a "green meetings" option our sales team can offer to meeting planners. We're also making it easier to rent green cars, like hybrids from Hertz, when they travel for business.

If you want to learn more about our Amazonas partnership, how we calculated our carbon footprint or just about our environmental efforts overall, we've got a whole section on it at marriott.com.

I hope you'll take a look. Thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.�

Comments

Posted By: Alexandra Powell (04/07/2008 at 12:41 PM)
Comment:

I have been a Marriott customer for my entire life. I am currently a student at the University of Western Ontario for a project in my Environmental Issues class, I'm writing a paper about Marriott's contributions to the environment. Learning about everything that Marriott is doing to become greener has made me proud to be a Marriott customer. Saving the rainforest is vital not only to reducing green house gas emissions, but to saving thousands of endangered species as well!
I look forward to reading more about what Marriott is doing to save the planet!
- Alexandra Powell

Posted By: David Stewart (04/07/2008 at 02:00 PM)
Comment:

Bill,
Marriott is also the leading the hotel industry in the recycling of water used in your hotel laundries. In addition to saving millions of gallons of fresh water, the hotels which have installed recycle systems are also saving an enormous amout of carbon emmissions by reducing the amount of fossil fuel needed to heat the recycled water. Thanks for setting an example for others to follow, keep up the good work
David Stewart
AquaRecycle Global Sales Mgr.
(425) 821-6865

Posted By: Katin Miller (04/07/2008 at 03:12 PM)
Comment:

Why not add options to the reservation process like No Housekeeping or No Newspaper, which will help your guests further reduce the impact of their stay on the environment? You could even offer a Green bundle of reservation options - only 1 set of towels per person, no small shampoos, no newspaper, no housekeeping, etc. Even put the rooms on low floors (so guests can take the stairs) & use only organic linens & bio-friendly cleaning supplies in the room. I would definitely pay more for that & would feel better about staying at Marriott. The options are endless!

Posted By: Karen Stanko (04/08/2008 at 04:04 AM)
Comment:

We are a Marriott Vacation Club family who cherishes our time together at the resorts. The only spoiler to our vacations is the lack of recycling for plastics/paper/glass at the resorts. Since we're on vacation we use more disposable items than we would at home and so our family needs recycling more than ever when on vacation. Please get a recycling program for the resorts and start with Orlando!

Posted By: Thomas Yeung (04/08/2008 at 04:24 AM)
Comment:

Bill,
Great to hear what Marriott are doing to reduce their environmental impact! Reusing towels etc. is one way to reduce water use, but have you considered using filtered seawater/greywater for toilet flushing? In the UK, some 30% to 40% of water in residential (domestic and commercial) premises is used for flushing toilets - if non-potable water can be used, then this (expensively produced / cleaned / distributed)water can be released for other purposes. This way, Mariott can save money AND the planet at the same time!
Clearly, the used water will need to be treated before it can be sent back to the sea/river, but processes exist that can do this cheaply and effectively - we ourselves have one proven technique that treats seawater based sewage to EU standards, and other technologies exist as well.
I am delighted to see that Marriott is doing so many things to help save the planet - but all these actions should be part of an integrated approach to reducing environmental impact, and three of the most important areas for focus should be electricity, water, and waste (solid and liquid).
Hope this is helpful.
Thomas Yeung

Posted By: Heinz Steidl (04/08/2008 at 05:50 AM)
Comment:

Dear Mr. Marriott, do you have plans to offer smoking rooms again in your North American locations? I have been a loyal Marriott guest for many years and would love to return, but under the current circumstances I prefer to stay with other chains like Hyatt or Hilton.

Posted By: Feras Werr (04/08/2008 at 08:19 AM)
Comment:

Dear Mr. Marriott,
Excellent step. The continuous slaughtering of trees in the Amazon forest was a massive concern for our modern day scientists. The Amazon forest literally accounts for a quarter of the world's wildlife. It is a powerful corner stone in our earth's ecology. It is still feared that if the present level of tree consumption continuous the impact would be negative, tremendous and felt globally. I found this out from research a couple of months ago while in the process of preparing an article concerning global warming. I was successful in publishing it in Jordan, under the title What Lies Tomorrow in the January edition of Living Well Magazine of this year. In it I tried to state that how our modern day man sacrificed for his greedy comforts our global heritage that took nature 5.5 billion years to weave and produce. Your step with your nature partners in Brazil is magnificent and many should follow in the same path. Thank you for protecting our planet Mr. Marriott.

Posted By: John Swanson (04/17/2008 at 06:36 PM)
Comment:

Dear Bill: I have been a loyal Marriott user for nearly a quarter of a century. Marriott has constantly excelled in the quality of its service and facilities. Nonetheless, I was deeply impressed by Marriott's commitment to rain forest preservation. This is truly a legacy project,which will benefit current and future generations immensely. I only hope that other corporations will recognize the significance of your commitment and take similar steps toward sustaining the liveability of our planet. You have reaffirmed my faith in the values of the Marriott corporation. Congratulations and best wishes for continued success.

Posted By: Lisa (04/21/2008 at 04:19 AM)
Comment:

Bill
What about yourcarbon footprint at home? I am currently staying at the Hampton Inn in Miami, FL and the included breakfast is served entirely on plastic plates and cutlery with styrofoam coffee cups!
Lisa

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I'm Bill Marriott, Chairman & CEO of Marriott International.

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