NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBE
Pleae enter your email address to subscribe to our newsletter
:
 
    Latest newsletter

   BENCHMARK CALCULATOR
Would you like to see how your property is performing compared to Irish and international benchmarks? Do you know what are the potential savings that could be achieved?

Find out here

   GENERAL EVENTS
2015 GHP Responsible Travel & Tourism Conference
Thursday, 15th October 2015 - The Marker Hotel, Dublin
read more ...
Resource Efficiency and Eco-certification Training Courses
Locations/dates TBC
read more ...
Upskilling - 1 day course - Certified Members
We will run a course where demand is indicated
read more ...
    Read all  |  Archive
Robert Fisk’s World: We're not taken in by luxury hotels' new green awareness

 

Robert Fisk’s World: We're not taken in by luxury hotels' new green awareness

'If you want clean towels, you’ve got to leave them on the floor like a peasant'

Saturday, 28 November 2009- The Independent - UK

Read article here

Read response by Mr M Bergin, Director GHA, here

 


4th December 2009

Dear Robert

Re your article 28th November 2009 “We’re not taken in by Luxury hotel’s new green awareness” Let me first declare my position – I run Irelands Hotel environmental award programme, the Green Hospitality Award www.ghaward.ie, and we encourage our members to implement Linen & Towel Programmes. Also, one of our excellent members is the Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel where you recently spent a night!

And yes, Robert, this type of initiative is in place all over the world – but not just in luxury hotels, and not on its own. That is the real point – if a hotel does this in isolation all they are doing is trying to save money and pretending to be “Green” and deserve to be outed by eagle eyed anti-hypocrites such as you.

A real Green hotel will have undertaken a whole raft of initiatives which will be designed to reduce the businesses consumption footprint, using less water, energy and producing less waste. Yes, many of these initiatives save money – but this also allows businesses to stay competitive and it is also the right thing to do – waste, for the sake of waste, is just not right, and just because you stay in a luxury hotel does not mean that your personal ethics should be cast aside.

The secret to deliver a real luxury green hotel stay is to implement all these initiatives without impacting negatively on the customers experience but also at times asking the guest if they want us to go a little further – after all when you look at the Towel & Linen programmes they only reflect what we do at home – or maybe you do have your sheets and towels changed every day in your own home – sorry, a cheap dig – but you get the point?

However, you are still right as most of these properties use the wrong language and don’t go the whole way. You won’t “Save the World”, we should be using non-phosphate detergents, renewable energy is available and rainwater is the best for laundry – so where’s the pollution? We do save money, and if we were really honest we should give something back – in some budget properties in the USA they will take money off your bill, Accor Hotels a few years ago made a donation to a regional charity every time a customer chose this option. These are the actions we should be taking and using less emotive language to try and “blackmail” customers.

Hotels should also take a much more visible policy in communicating all the actions they are taking – many hotels think that if they are “Green” they will be seen as mean – what rubbish – most of the most environmentally conscious customers in the world are very well off, others are so poor that to see waste is a crime. We need to grow up and recognise that we should be proud to tell you, our customer, what we are doing and offer you the opportunity to be part of our commitment and share the savings around.

So Robert, please keep criticising and when your hotels start telling you all the things they are doing please tell me so that I can help to open the eyes of the Irish Hoteliers.


__________________________
Maurice J Bergin
Managing Director
 


Original Article

Robert Fisk’s World: We're not taken in by luxury hotels' new green awareness

If you want clean towels, you’ve got to leave them on the floor like a peasant

Saturday, 28 November 2009- The Independent - UK

We journalists are collectors. Facts (preferably true), gossip (often untrue), predictions (always, of course, correct), old newspaper clippings, photos and press handouts and – in my case – propaganda leaflets (in hopelessly ungrammatical Arabic) dropped by Israeli planes over Lebanon.

Why, I still have my reporter's notebook covered in oil spots from Kuwait, after Saddam had set the oil fields afire in 1991. Then there's the small packet in which visitors to the Fisk Memorial Library will one day find a Havana cigar ring marked "The first cigar Mohamed Heikal gave me after 29 years of friendship!" I know Mohamed, Egypt's worthiest journalist and writer, reads this column – and will appreciate the above. Long life to him.

Recently, however, I've been collecting the most irritating load of old humbug I've come across in a long time, ever more frequently, alas, and doomed to be a constant part of our lives in this most hypocritical of ages. It's one thing to pick up the glossy advertising kits of arms manufacturers – "All for One and One for All" is the motto for the Boeing's Hellfire air-to-ground missile, without apologies to Dumas – or the codswallop from the oil conglomerates about how they are saving the earth. But the latest tomfoolery to come my way – all travelling readers will have come across the same nonsense – is the little card that lies upon my hotel pillow, exhorting me to spare the relevant spa, hostelry or caravanserai the cost and bother of cleaning my sheets, pillowcases or towels. This epidemic of cant comes in all colours and continents. I've got the message in Los Angeles, Cairo, Istanbul, Ottawa, Limerick, wherever hotel managements have started to think green – green as in dollars, I mean.

So let's kick off with the friendly old Hyatt. The very word "Conserve" is literally imprinted on their little card. And here goes the script: "As part of Hyatt's commitment to conserve the environment, we will change bed linens and towels as necessary or upon request. If you wish to have your linens and towels replaced daily, please contact the hotel operator." Note that wonderful word "commitment". Like "mission statement" (another piece of twaddle), it reeks of gravitas and seriousness of purpose. And what does "as necessary" mean? When the sheets or towels have reached such a deplorable, smelly state that even the room-maid cannot stand them? And note how you have to work to maintain daily cleanliness at the Hyatt... It is you who have to call the operator if you decline to accept this lovely "green" idea.

Across the channel now to that pinnacle of sixth arrondissement luxury, the Hotel Lutetia. "YOU DECIDE," it says at the top of the English-language pillow card. "Kindly be informed that only towels left in the bathtub or on the floor will be changed by your housekeeper. Thanking you for helping us to act for the environment." This really is great stuff. Firstly, there's the legalistic "kindly be informed" – it's not in the French version – which is a command that totally negates the "you decide" buffoonery at the top. Then there's the grubby suggestion that if you want to have clean towels, you've got to chuck them in the bath or leave them all over the floor like a peasant. And all this, please note, so that the Lutetia can "act for the environment". Like, er, was it actually given a special mandate to act on behalf of the world, a master (or mistress) of morality and honour?

So down to Cairo for some more flummery in a country where three words are always better than one – or, in the case of the Marriott Hotel on Gezira Island – where 108 are better than none. There's the usual stuff about commitment to "practices that preserve our natural resources"; it's followed by the weird suggestion that "while it is our practice (sic again) to change your bed linens (sic) every day, we are supportive of our guests' desire to help protect the environment and accordingly to change your bed linens after every third night of your stay." This is imperishable. The Marriott wants to clean our bed linen every day, yet it knows that we – the paying guests – want it to stay dirty. And so they will, unless you request otherwise. Then – and remember that Cairo is one of the dirtiest, most polluted, garbage-soaked cities in the world – there is this fantastical ending: "Working together, we can conserve millions of litres of water ... and minimise the release of detergents into the environment." Even in smog-filled LA, the Hilton thanked me for "helping us to conserve the earth's vital resources".

Off to tough-minded Turkey then, where the best airport hotel in Istanbul informs me: "You surely know that tons of detergent and water are being consumed day by day to wash towels that have been used for a short period only." Like the Marriott in Cairo, I have to leave the stuff on the floor if I want clean towels. "Thanks,' the Turkish pillow card concludes "for your contruibution (sic) to the (sic) nature." All "sics" go, you surely know!

But what a glow seizes the heart of Lord Fisk when shown to his suite at the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick. "Future generations will be thankful to you" – I kid thee not, O Reader – "for helping them to have a greener environment." Future generations, ye gods. And they're actually going to be grateful to little ol' me if I leave the towels on the bathroom rail for reuse. But cross the Atlantic with me, to the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa which is, of course, "committed to conserving our natural resources", etc etc. So I have to put their itsy-bitsy card out if I want my bed clothes changed. Did Churchill do this when he stayed there? "Thank you for helping us to be environmentally conscious."

None of this, you understand, has anything to do with saving the costs of cleaning and detergents. Oh no, indeed. It is we – who pay the bills – who are helping them, the five-star hotels, to look after the environment. Of course, if they really cared about all that green stuff, they'd hang a notice above the bathroom saying "Use Less Bloody Water!" But then again, I suspect that water charges are a fixed price – and the environment can be thrown out with the bath water.


 

 

 






   LOGIN TO MEMBERS SECTION
:
:
 
Forgot password?  

   NEWS
Sandymount Hotel wins a 2015 Pakman Award
read more ...
Wholesale gas prices decline 13% in a year
read more ...
Green roofs will become mandatory for commercial buildings
read more ...
Marriott International making big gains in corporate responsibility
read more ...
IHI Environmental Manager of the Year 2015
Apply Now - closing date - Monday 19th October
read more ...
Ibec Environment Awards 2015/16 *call for entries*
read more ...
UK AA Hospitality Awards 2015-2016 - Eco Hotel and Group
read more ...
How going green helps companies make money
read more ...
Ibec Environment Awards 2015/2016
read more ...
read more ...
Beware False Gifts......Further Update
The light bulb con - have you fallen for it?
read more ...
SFA 2016 Awards Announced - €50,000 package for all Finalists
read more ...
2015 REPAK Pakman Awards
Sandymount Hotel - Shortlisted
read more ...
New website for corporate responsibility
read more ...
2015 Chambers Ireland CSR Awards announced
read more ...
Towns clean up their act on litter issue
read more ...
Energy bills could soar as ESB and EirGrid ask for billions
read more ...
Starwood Unveils Water Story: Thinking Beyond Conservation
read more ...
Hotel identified as Legionella outbreak source that kills 12 in New York
read more ...
Sustainability is the Core of an Authentic Hospitality Experience
read more ...
Ecolab Releases 2014 Corporate Sustainability Report
read more ...
Booking.com survey shows trend moving towards sustainable travel
read more ...
Making the world a better place makes business sense
read more ...
Leading restaurateurs use more local food suppliers
read more ...
Energy Management - Refrigerators and Freezers
read more ...
Sustainable travel in the Burren
read more ...
Burren maintains its leading destination status
read more ...
Marriott Vacations Worldwide Releases CSR Report
read more ...
Burren Food Trail wins EDEN Award
read more ...
Blue Flag Beaches Awarded 2015
read more ...
New Mandatory Energy Auditing Scheme for large enterprises - is this you?
read more ...
Maritime Hotels Ocean Restaurant wins Irish Restaurant Award for Eco
read more ...
Taking the great leap forward on climate change
Thought Piece - Eamon Ryan, Green Party - Irish Times
read more ...
Paying the right price for energy
Thought Piece - JOHN FITZGERALD, Irish Times, 19/5/2015
read more ...
EDEN 2015 - Finalists announced
Best Use of Food
read more ...
Irish Country Hotels commit to Buying Local
read more ...
Top Green Hotels in the World Announced
read more ...
Accor marks advances in sustainable development
read more ...
Hotel Doolin wins at Green Awards 2015
read more ...
2015 Supervalu Tidytowns Competition takes off
read more ...
Marriott Announces Water Conservation Results
read more ...
Hotel Association of Canada Survey shows 47% of business travellers see eco-certification as very important
read more ...
TripAdvisor Effect’ Improves Hotels RevPar
read more ...
European Green Leaf Award launched for smaller cities
read more ...
Fáilte Ireland Launches Seventh EDEN Competition with Tourism and Local Gastronomy as This Year’s Theme
read more ...
Sustainable Tourism and CSR Highlights at ITB 2015 Berlin
read more ...
Is it Time to Stop Using Cleaning Chemicals?
read more ...
2015 Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility Awards were launched on Tuesday 3rd March 2015 in Dublin Castle.
read more ...
Xavier Font on How to Communicate Sustainable Tourism
read more ...
TripAdvisor Green Leaders – Blessing or Curse?
read more ...
GHP talks about Resource Efficiency to Northern Ireland businesses
read more ...
Read all  |  Archive    
 
     
   

 Media Partner