Working with the community

The Fairmont Dubai public relations manager - and eco-champion - Alka Patel looks at the hotel's recent efforts to help environmental groups in the community achieve their targets.
Working with the community
By Administrator
Thu 03 Jan 2008 04:00 AM

Going alone is never easy, especially when it comes to environmental stewardship. Sometimes supporting a local group is key in expanding your environmental efforts in the community that you operate in.

What can you do for the community? Set up a community outreach programme to donate used items. In the hospitality industry, we must continually update our guest items such as furniture and bedding. When guests check out, their leftover soap and amenities, even if only partially used, are usually thrown away.

No matter where your hotel is located there will be people and organisations in your community who need help

On top of adding to the quantity of waste, soaps and other toiletries often contain disinfectants and phosphates - when these substances enter our environment, either through landfills or wastewater treatment facilities, they eventually reach our waste systems and can cause a variety of problems. No matter where your hotel is located, there will be people and organisations in or near your community who need help with basic household items, such as bedding, furniture, clothing and toiletries, as well as computers, cell phones and other office equipment.

It is easy to set up an outreach programme at your hotel or resort to donate used furniture, bedding, clothing or any household items. Key points to consider include deciding on a specific charity or cause you would like to support, what geographical region would you like to concentrate on and what type of support would you like to give.

It's important to note that community outreach not only involves the donation of in-kind goods, but can also be a rallying point for your colleagues. Such is the case with the hotel's relationship with Emirates Environmental Group (EEG). This local non-government organisation has worked for 11 years in the UAE enhancing environmental awareness, eco-knowledge, and capacity building. It is also the first environmental NGO in the world to be accredited with the ISO 14001:2004 certification for its environmental management system.

Since 1991, the Emirates Environmental Group has organised a variety of public education forums and community projects aimed at increasing social awareness about environmental issues that affect our everyday lives. Additionally the numerous community involvement projects from nationwide Can Collection Campaigns to Clean up Drives, organised by the EEG, have produced visible, measurable, contributions towards the improved quality of our local environment.

On December 12th, more than 50 colleagues at The Fairmont Dubai rolled up their sleeves and collected rubbish strewn across the desert landscape in support of the third annual ‘Clean up UAE' event. Hosted by the Emirates Environmental Group this annual desert clean up was held in all seven emirates simultaneously and was supported by more than 17,000 participants.

It is estimated that Dubai residents throw away more than a ton each of waste every year, one of the highest per capita anywhere in the world. The continuous dumping of waste in landfills threatens water tables, wildlife and domestic animals in alarming numbers.

Participants of the ‘Clean up UAE' campaign joined to combat this issue and collected more than 114 tons of waste. Not only was this a great environmental feat, colleagues at the hotel participated in an event that extended beyond the boundaries of their work and living space.

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