Muhammad Ihsanullah Qamar, director of Environment, Health & Safety at Rotana Hotel Management, told delegates, at the inaugural Hotel News ME Procurement Conference, held earlier today at the Grosvenor House hotel in Dubai, that guests would pay up to 10% more if they knew the hotel was sustainable.
Heading up a workshop on specialist procurement Qamar stressed that the future of procurement must change, to become more specialist and sustainable, to offset its impact on the environment. Qamar outlined the fact that hotels are the top five highest energy consumption sectors, one of the highest in food wastage, and one of the highest in terms of water consumption – using, on average, 940 l/gn vs 450 l/gn in domestic water consumption.
Qamar argued that sustainable procurement must be a process by which environmental, social, ethical and economical considerations are taken into account when making a purchasing decision. He said: “In simple words we look beyond the traditional parameters of price, quality, functionality and availability, choosing products that have a lesser impact on human health, society and the environment.”
Elements of responsible procurement include the cost effectiveness and durable quality of products, which are eco-friendly, safe and none hazardous. “Sustainable procurement is about preferring local origin goods and reducing distance. In the UAE less than 2% is sourced locally.’
The principles and criteria of sustainable procurement are life cycle costing, quality – opting for the highest available – energy efficiency, avoiding hazardous materials, preferring natural or organic, and focusing on recycling and reclaiming.
“Choose Fairtrade, enforce certification schemes and look for reputed ecolabels. Carry out impact assessments, analyse the availability and cost of sustainable alternatives and implement change gradually,” said Qamar, adding: “But be aware of green washing – very few certificates are actually worthwhile.
“In implementation you must develop a policy or code of practice and identify the people and resources accountable for implementation. Invite key suppliers, staff and a wide base of stakeholders and set clear guidance and minimum expectations. Set measurable goals and integrate sustainability criteria into purchasing and contracting procedures and, finally, engage with and help your suppliers and continually monitor the progress.
“Looking to the future we must ask how much longer can businesses increase greenhouse emissions and search out new landfill sites. Today’s savings must not be at tomorrow’s cost,” warned Qamar.