Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the world’s largest hotel companies. It has an expanding portfolio of more than 1,440 hotels in operation and under development, a global footprint covering 115 countries and territories, and a powerful set of global brands: Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Radisson RED, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM.
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has three regional operations offering localized expertise. The Asia Pacific region has more than 115 hotels in operation and is nearly doubling in size with an additional 81 hotels under development. We ask Sanjeev Pahwa, Senior Vice President, Operations, South Asia for his thoughts on sustainability and how he “walks the talk”.
Do travellers care about sustainability?
Certainly, travellers are becoming more sensitive towards sustainable tourism. Especially hotels have introduced many environment-friendly initiatives in the past and hotel guests have responded positively to such actions. Many research and surveys have been conducted in the past wherein global travellers indicate that they are likely to choose a hotel and destination based on its social or environmental impact.
Is the hotel industry really serious about addressing sustainability?
With the kind of consciousness displayed by the industry in last decade or so, it appears that industry is committed to address sustainability. At Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, we have a long history of being a responsible business. We are passionate about caring for others, and that extends beyond the walls of our hotels. We believe Carlson Rezidor needs to be a thriving, sustainable and responsible business for people, communities and the planet. This is a core belief that is at the very heart of our business.
Our employees live Responsible Business – every day at home, together with their hotel colleagues and in their local communities. All these personal and community actions combine to create a ripple effect of positive impact on the planet.
What do you see as the leading trends in sustainability for the hotel industry?
Measuring Carbon footprints and taking steps to reduce it further has been a trend in hospitality industry. In my view, more travellers are looking to book stays with hotels that have green-friendly programs in place. If you don’t adopt a similar initiative, some of your prospects may pass you up for more transparent, environmentally-friendly options.
Carlson Rezidor is committed to finding energy solutions which lesson our negative impact on the environment while balancing the need for 100 percent guest satisfaction. Our hotels support this commitment through investment in environmentally friendly technology, use of renewable energy and achieving operational efficiencies.
What are the 3 biggest challenges for the hotel industry in the next decade and how is sustainability a part of the solution?
Hospitality industry is undergoing colossal revolution amidst serve competition and the challenges of sustaining cost-effectiveness. Traditional hotel groups are also coming up with new strategies to combat the rise of new travel technologies and alternative accommodations. Investing in renewable & eco-friendly resources may be a possible solution impacting the profit margins without compromising on the quality of guest experience. Travellers prefer to accommodate themselves at an environmental-friendly hotel room rather than an ordinary hotel room. With rising fuel/power cost and increasing pressure to cut carbon emissions, saving energy could be a priority for hotels.
What bothers you most within the sustainability discussion?
Generally during a sustainability discussion, the direction is very strategic and aspirational, however the conversation doesn’t comprise specific actions & implementation. Very seldom there is a discussion on participation & engagement. Especially employee participation & engagement is critical, employees are on the frontline of any business. Getting them to do something as simple as putting paper in a recycling bin all adds up when carbon emissions, waste, water consumption or energy use are concerned. But as businesses move beyond the basics, employers need a greater level of commitment from employees. There is no sole resolution for engaging employees – different solutions work in different environments, companies have different cultures, and the maturity of the corporate sustainability policy is also a determining factor.
What do you see as the biggest urgency for the planet?
Global warming is already having significant and costly effects all over and to tourism industry specifically. These consequences will only intensify as the planet’s temperature continues to rise. Global warming is accelerating the rate of sea level rise and dramatically increasing coastal flooding risks impacting tourist locations and the hotels in these regions. if global warming continues at this pace, some of our best destinations for travel will vanish.
What legacy would you like to leave behind from your leadership?
Successful leadership is all about cultivating more leaders, exciting people to do more & achieve more. It is much more than authority and recognition from the outside world. Instead, leadership is all about developing people and helping others reach their full potential. It’s about equipping others with the right tools and strategies to not only maximize the success of an organization but also the lives of individuals. It’s about breaking down barriers and leading others through the uncertainty of the future.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Serving the nation was, what I looked forward to while growing up, but as destiny has it, I am not in the decorated armed forces rather I am here serving the country in its own way, i.e. serving our people and providing them world class hospitality.
Which is your favorite hotel, apart from your own, and why?
I exactly don’t remember the name of the hotel, but there is a resort on a private island near Australia. The entire island is a hotel, built on everything available within the island. The resort neither uses any resources from outside the island nor generates any waste. Everything is utilized within. Beautiful landscapes where you find serenity and natural fresh ingredients as choice of food. A revolutionary concept.
Give us an example of how you, in your personal life, walk the sustainability talk?
I find proximity matters: we care about issues close to our daily lives. In our personal capabilities, we shall take “Small yet Significant Steps” to inculcate sensitivity amongst people and take meaningful actions impacting fundamentals like fresh and clean air, potable drinking water, health and wellbeing. So, let’s grab the bull by its horns and let’s start taking the small steps that makes us feel recognized and may also inspire others to take small steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle. The challenge is enormous and in order to succeed, we must realize that although small actions can seem insignificant, it is in fact critical.
If we, as individuals, feel personally involved and committed to sustainability then we are laying the foundations to embrace a change on a societal level. To summarize, sustainability is way of life for me, I consciously take actions to ensure there is no additional burden on the environment, safeguarding natural resources has become my habit.
EarthCheck Certified supports the goals of Carlson Rezidor’s global Responsible Business Programme, both of which require significant commitment at management and operational levels. Staff across all twenty-six properties have reported their environmental footprint to EarthCheck annually and permitted independent auditors to verify the credibility of their environmental and social claims. List of properties achieving certification:
Australia – Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney
China – Radisson Blu Plaza Xing Guo, Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World, Radisson Blu Hotel Pudong Century Park, Radisson Hotel Shanghai HongQuan
Japan – Radisson Hotel Narita
Bangladesh – Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden
Brunei – Radisson Hotel Brunei Darussalam
China – Radisson Blu Hotel Liuzhou, Park Plaza Beijing Science Park, Radisson Blu Plaza Chongqing China
Fiji – Radisson Resort Fiji Denarau Island,
India & Nepal – Radisson Hotel-Shimla, Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar, Radisson Blu Agra Taj East Gate, Radisson Blu MBD Hotel Ludhiana, and Radisson Hotel Kathmandu.
Philippines – Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu
India – Radisson Blu Hotel Rudrapur, Radisson Blu Hotel Greater Noida