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Tue 22 May 2007 04:58 PM

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Fairmont goes green

When it comes to environmental best practices, Fairmont Dubai is leading the way, says Steven Webster, chair of the hotel's Green Team.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts set the standard in energy management in the early 1990s with its book on environmental stewardship, the award winning
Green Partnership Guide

.

More recently, the World Travel & Tourism Council awarded the company with the Global Tourism Business Award - known as the Oscars of the environmental industry - for its best practices in responsible tourism.

First implemented in the Canadian properties, the green mandate today is part of the culture of Fairmont hotels and is practiced by more than 25,000 employees worldwide.

Championed through the company's office of environmental affairs, the programme covers everything from setting expectations with external vendors to daily business decisions affecting hotel construction, operations, renovation and training.

At Fairmont Hotels & Resorts' flagship property in the Middle East, The Fairmont Dubai, one of the cornerstones of the company's multi-faceted environmental plan is a philosophy that adds "re-thinking" and "re-fitting" to the more traditional "reduce, reuse and recycle" mandate.

This approach also makes sense from the position that our consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally-minded than ever before.Also, there are cost savings that result from successful green initiatives, offering a definite return on investment for the company.

Now in its fifth year, The Fairmont Dubai, has launched a number of green initiatives to date, from partnering with the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), a local non-government organisation that has worked for 11 years in the UAE on enhancing environmental awareness, eco-knowledge, and capacity building, to participating in several clean-up drives organised by EEG and Dubai Municipality.

For instance, last November, employees of The Fairmont Dubai joined over 15,000 volunteers to collect more than 3500 tons of waste in Dubai Municipality's "Clean Up the World" campaign.

This was the second year the hotel has participated in this community-based environmental programme, which aims to inspire our local community to conserve the environment.

Our green policy also touches the hotel's kitchens, as the company endorses environmentally sound suppliers and products.

From organic wines to sustainable menu selections, The Fairmont's approach is reflected in its 10 restaurants and entertainment venues.

And the green programme doesn't end with the hotel. It also extends to the company's employee housing village, located in Al Quoz, which houses more than 600 staff.

All waste materials from the village are processed in the company's sewage treatment plant to create water that is one treatment step away from becoming drinking water. This water is then used in all of the landscaping and restroom facilities throughout the housing complex.

There is even enough water left over to donate to a local hospital for its landscaping purposes.

The employee housing village also operates a power-saving awareness programme, encouraging the staff to switch lights off when not in use.

The housing also uses light timers in each block, and operates a 50% block lighting concept during the day, with every second light turned off to save power. This has resulted in great energy savings while still providing ample lighting for the complex.

Finally, water savers have been installed on every sink in the staff accommodation, including all private rooms and public bathrooms.

Hundreds of thousands of Dirhams-worth of pumps have been installed to increase pressure and reduce our mains water usage, and compressors have been installed to reduce electricity consumption in the laundry.

The key to the successful implementation of an environmental plan at any five-star hotel lies in quantifying the results of the green policy through internal auditing.

By conducting quarterly audits, we now have demonstrable evidence of the success of this environmental programme, which can provide the groundwork for any further green measures at the property.

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