Langham Hospitality Group is a global hotel company with more than 30 properties located in major cities over four continents. Their CONNECT programme is their commitment to sustainable development in all the neighbourhoods they operate in. CONNECT for a better, brighter tomorrow from their hotels, to society, to the environment, Langham realise that all their actions have reactions. We asked Timur Sentruk, VP of Operations for Langham Hospitality Group for his thoughts on sustainability and how he ‘walks the talk’.
Do travellers care about sustainability?
Yes, I believe travellers do care about sustainability.
The bar has been raised; sustainability now goes beyond re-using towel, bed linens. Guests expect hotels to be recycling waste, to use bio-degradable chemicals and paper (if used) from sustainable forests. Hotels also need to be EarthCheck audited and compliant, and be committed in sustainability efforts at all levels.
Is the hotel industry really serious about addressing sustainability?
Of course, the hotel industry is very serious about it. However, we still need to educate and communicate the hotel industry’s sustainability efforts to the guests and work harder to garner the support of our guests so as to make a bigger and more effective impact.
At Langham Hospitality Group, we have a dedicated CSR Director that focuses her efforts on the group’s global sustainability efforts. We are working towards bottling our own water, recycling and eliminating waste. We work closely with EarthCheck, the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism to make sure that our hotels are EarthCheck compliant. We agree with EarthCheck that we should be operating the hotels not only at ways that is good for the business but also good for the planet.
What do you see as the leading trends in sustainability for the hotel industry?
F&B sustainability – Hotels are increasingly sourcing from responsible sustainable food producers. Sustainable seafood is a key trend. Fresh, organic produce are also sourced from within a certain radius to reduce carbon footprint and support local producers. This also provides the hotels with fresher ingredients. Even packaging and
utensils are also from sustainable materials.
Minimize Wastage – Besides educating guests on wasting energy, hotels are trying to find ways to minimise water usage beyond installing water saving devices, like diverting rainwater to plants and gardens. At the Langham Hospitality Group, we have started filtering and bottling our own water in some of our hotels to reduce waste and promote re-cycling.
Sustainable Meetings and Conferences – Increasingly, guests will be interested in sustainable options for their meetings, conferences and incentive trips.
Launched across selected properties, Langham Hospitality Group had created CONNECT Conferences which offers a range of sustainable initiatives categorised by accommodation, cuisine and services, which allow planners to select sustainable options when planning any meeting or events. Each of these options is selected specifically to offset the potential environmental or social impact of any meeting or event. All variables are non-restrictive, so planners may select only those tailored to their budget and preferences.
We also hold the internationally accredited EarthCheck certification across the majority of our properties, making us one of the more sustainable international hospitality companies. This prestigious award reinforces our commitment to environmental sustainability.
What are the 3 biggest challenges for the hotel industry in the next decade and how is sustainability a part of the solution?
– Wastage in general: We need to reduce, reuse and recycle! The more we reduce, re-use, recycle and recover ourwaste, the greater the cost savings in materials, energy, transport and disposal.
– Climate change: Sustainability will result in the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources which in turn has a
huge impact on climate change.
– Educate and communicate with guests on the hotel industry’s sustainability efforts.
What bothers you most within the sustainability discussion?
Many corporations, in particular the hospitality industry, Langham Hospitality Group included are sincere in our sustainability efforts but we still need to continue to work hard and communicate more.
What do you see as the biggest urgency for the planet?
The biggest urgency is to reduce climate change, the clocks are ticking and everyone has the right intentions, with resources, all of us can do more. Sustainability is not just an action, it is a lifestyle.
As highlighted earlier, Langham Hospitality Group take this very seriously and we have a CSR Director at corporate level and also dedicated colleagues in every hotel looking into how we can do our part to save the environment and protect where we all live.
What legacy would you like to leave behind from your leadership?
People will not remember what you did but they will remember how you make them feel. I hope to inspire the next generation and people I work with, as much as they all continue to inspire me.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A pilot! I am glad I am still in the travel business.
Which is your favourite hotel, apart from your own, and why?
Apart from the hotels at the Langham Hospitality Group, I also really like the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. The hotel is beautiful and culturally, the Thais are very genuine and kind people.
Give us an example of how you, in your personal life, walk the sustainability talk?
I make it my mission to reduce carbon footprint, especially the use of paper unnecessarily. I have organised my life
electronically. It has reduced the things and clutter in my life, increased efficiency after I organised everything in my
electronic file system.
CONNECT is the corporate social responsibility programme of Langham Hospitality Group. They have chosen to partner with EarthCheck for their sustainability certifications, the world’s leading programme used by the travel and tourism industry to assess environmental sustainability. EarthCheck certification is Langham Hospitality Group’s KPI for hotels.
Platinum Certified (10+ years)
The Langham, Auckland (411 rooms)
Gold Certified (5+ years)
Cordis, Hong Kong (665 rooms)
Eaton, Hong Kong (465 rooms)
The Langham, Boston (318 rooms)
The Langham, Hong Kong (495 rooms)
The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, Los Angeles (380 rooms)
The Langham, London (380 rooms)
The Langham, Melbourne (388 rooms)
Chelsea Hotel, Toronto (1590 rooms)
The Langham, Chicago (316 rooms)
The Langham, Shanghai, Xintiandi (357 rooms)
The Langham, Shenzhen (349 rooms)
Langham Place, New York, Fifth Avenue (214 rooms)
The Langham, Sydney (98 rooms)
The following new properties will take part in the EarthCheck Certify scheme after 2 years of operations for the purpose of collecting accurate data for benchmarking:
Langham Place, Guangzhou – 500 rooms
Langham Place, Ningbo – 141 rooms
The Langham, Haikou – 249 rooms
Cordis, Shanghai, Hongqiao – 396 rooms
Langham Place, Beijing Capital Airport – 370 rooms
Langham Place, Haining – 263 rooms
Langham Place, Xiamen – 327 rooms