marriott sustainability efforts
Courtesy of Kunal D.

At Marriott we believe in embracing change, and our associates show us that oftentimes change can start with just one person in one hotel who believes things can be done differently.

“Don’t think because you’re just one you can’t make a difference,” says Kunal, Dual Executive Chef at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver and The Douglas Hotel, who started a sustainable revolution from his own hotel kitchen in western Canada.

Inspired by Marriott’s 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Goals — specifically the one about reducing food waste by 20% by 2025 — and the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Kunal started tracking food waste data during the pandemic. Little by little, that led him to optimize all of his hotel food operations with the goal of wasting the least amount of food possible and ensure the surplus goes to the people who need it most.

Beyond fighting food waste, Marriott aims to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by the end of 2025 (and we’re already at 24.6% (!!) reduction) and reduce waste to landfill by 45%. In addition, Marriott is striving to reduce the amount of energy we use and achieve a minimum of 30% renewable electricity use, and, as you’ll read in the stories below, there are many ways in which Marriott hotels across the globe are already implementing energy efficiency projects to get there. For example, The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, one of the largest hotels in Canada, expects to save over 145,000 kWh of energy per year by installing guest room mirror LED lighting throughout the property. These projects taken on by individual hotels amounted to huge results: In 2022, collectively we saved approximately 45,000 MWhs of energy!

These achievements show that one small action can have great impact. From the Executive Chef who made it a personal goal to fight food waste to an HR Manager who’s building a Green Team at a luxury resort in Bora Bora, Marriott associates around the world are implementing more sustainable ways of operating, having a direct impact on their teams, their hotels, their communities, and the planet.

Fighting food waste and finding purpose

Kunal D. Executive Chef Sustainability story

Courtesy of Kunal D.

On the wall in Chef Kunal’s office hangs this quote from the UN’S Sustainable Development Goals «By 2022, approximately 735 million people – or 9.2% of the world’s population – found themselves in a state of chronic hunger.»

For Kunal, passion is always connected with purpose and his is to see the end of world hunger in his lifetime. «If I can even help one person come out of hunger, I’d be happy,» he says.

Kunal recalls a specific moment, during the pandemic, when the hotel received a visit from an NHL team, and something clicked for him. He started noticing how much food was wasted by simply not paying attention to the eating habits of the players. He then embarked on his food rescuing mission that started with tracking food waste and analyzing guests’ eating habits. Today, Kunal is proud to say his kitchen saved over 14,000 meals just last year! They have also partnered with ThreeLinks Foundation, a local organization that rescues their surplus food every day and delivers it to the people who need it in the community.

On top of tracking all the data of food waste and possible solutions, Kunal has also implemented a composting station in the kitchen and even a smoothie station using the surplus fruit (which is in perfect condition!) from the banquet operations. “It’s healthy and it also serves as a mood booster for the team. They love it!”

And, according to Kunal, they have reduced the food waste in their hotel by 20%.

→ Learn more about Kunal’s Marriott journey and finding purpose and joy in helping others

Building smarter

marriott sustainability efforts

Courtesy of Angelise S.

As a Sustainability Manager in the Global Innovation & Experience Design Team, Angelise is in charge of staffing this important department and has key insights to how the company aims to reach our 2025 goals when it comes to sustainability. «This year, we prioritized mitigating the environmental impact from the properties of the future. We updated our global design standards for every brand to increase energy efficiency and prepare for onsite renewables, EV Charging, and waste recycling,” she explains.

Besides finding the best talent to do this, Angelise’s favorite part of her job is demystifying a subject that can sometimes feel overwhelming to discuss by getting people and teams excited about solutions and more sustainable ways of doing and building. «I think the way forward is about making people less scared of climate solutions.»

Growing teams for sustainable efforts

The Westin Bora Bora sustainability

Courtesy of Emilie M.

Emilie is the HR Director at The Westin Bora Bora, and she is currently in the process of building an entirely new team of “happy, involved, and productive employees,” at this French Polynesian paradise, set to open in summer 2024.

When we asked her which of Marriott core values resonates most with her sustainability came at the top. «Marriott strives to be a leader in environmental sustainability and social responsibility, which is in line with my own personal values,» she says. «It’s essential for us living in the Pearl of the Pacific to preserve the environment as much as possible and to have an eco-friendly hotel industry.»

For Emilie, the pre-opening phase of a hotel is a real opportunity to start from scratch and to raise awareness and train the hotel staff from the beginning. This hotel has «Green Teams» of associates that work specifically in sustainable initiatives like running the resort’s Eco Center.

«The two areas we feel strongly about, and which will be central to our sustainable policy, are waste sorting and reduction through the implementation of an environmental management system, and the preservation of biodiversity,» Emilie explains. «We’re also fortunate to have an eco-center that enables us to carry out coral research and replanting in order to preserve and grow the lagoon’s corals. In addition, our biologists take care of turtles that are victims of poaching. These biologists will train and raise awareness among schoolteachers, employees and guests.»

→ Learn more about Emilie’s Marriott journey all around the French Polynesia 

Engineering a greener future

Marcelo B. Engineer sustainability story

Courtesy of Marcelo B.

As a Multi Property Director of Engineering for the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel & Convention Center and Park Tower, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buenos Aires, Marcelo is particularly excited about the sustainable programs his team in putting in place to achieve their 5th sustainable certification. 

«Part of our efforts will be focused on the continuous process of optimizing the segregation, tracking and final disposal of our waste. Currently in the Engineering office we are composting the organic waste we generate with Californian Red worms and the compost that results from it is being used as soil fertilizer in the hotel’s green spaces.,» he explains.

As part of this mission, Marcelo and his team are in negotiations to implement renewable sources of energy and more energy efficient systems throughout the whole complex. They have also begun a room remodeling process where they will trade bathtubs for showers and install dual-flush toilets, and the exterior carpentry will be updated to improve the performance of the air conditioning system.

«Although it is complex and we are in a research stage, we are evaluating the possibility of treating wastewater from the laundry to reuse it and the implementation of a Biodigester to generate energy through the organic waste generated by our kitchens.»

Marcelo and his engineering team’s innovative efforts are not going unnoticed. This April, they were invited to present at the most important sustainable festival in the region, Bioferia.

«I appreciate the complete freedom the hotel is giving us to generate sustainable projects and initiatives,» he says. «The transition process from when ideas are generated to when they are translated into reality is arduous but extremely rewarding. Personally, I am passionate about the subject and surrounding yourself with colleagues who feel the same passion can only lead to projects that obtain results.»

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