Starwood Launches Green Meeting Guidelines for All Hotels

Starwood Launches Green Meeting Guidelines for All Hotels

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. has introduced green meeting guidelines at its North American properties and plans to roll out the practices globally next year.

The hotel chain, which operates 1,000 properties around the world, unveiled the Starwood Sustainable Meeting Practices this week. The strategies are to be incorporated in all meetings and events conducted at the facilities operated Starwood and its brands.

The program involves 18 practices that are grouped into five core categories. Highlights include:

  • Paperless Meeting Planning -- Tools typically used in the planning process have gone digital, including sales proposals, menu selection, room list creation, and reservation cross-checking.
  • Sustainable Meeting Services -- When paper products are needed, materials made from recycled and recyclable content can be provided; use of eco-friendly non-paper tools such as LED signage and white board is offered; access to green transportation services is available; and recycling bins are provided for all meeting spaces.
  • Sustainable Food & Beverage Practices -- In addition to providing sustainable food choices for meeting menus, the hotels can use tables that do not require coverings as well as china, utensils and other tableware that are reusable. The properties are to provide alternatives to bottled water and eco-friendly containers for box lunches or other circumstances when packaging is required. Donation of leftover food also is to be arranged if requested.
  • Impact Assessment Tools -- Hotels are to generate a report for clients that shows the impact of their meeting on the environment.
  • Socially Conscious Activities -- Hotels are also to advise clients of team-building or volunteer activities that enable meeting attendees to aid the local community.

A year in the making, the program "formalizes environmental practices our hotels have been implementing and we are excited to encourage," said Sandy Swider, Starwood's vice president for Global Citizenship said in a statement.

Meeting and business travel has begun to recover from the flatline resulting from the recession, and according to Starwood demands for sustainable meeting solutions are on the upswing as well.

The Starwood brands include St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton and the recently launched Aloft and Element hotels.

Last week, Travelocity made it easier for travelers to locate eco-friendly lodgings in the United Kingdom. The online travel service has partnered with the Green Tourism Business Scheme and flagged hundreds of hotels in the United Kingdom with its green leaf tag.

In all, Travelocity has listed more than 1,700 properties in its Green Hotel Directory. To qualify for the directory, lodgings must be endorsed by a leading green hotel certifying body, appear in the Rainforest Alliance's Eco-Index of Sustainable Tourism, or demonstrate "significant strides" in at least three of the four areas of the Tourism Sustainability Council's criteria.

Image courtesy of Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center.