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OAK BROOK, ILL.—The latest member of Chicago’s local food movement is B., a hyperlocal farm-to-table restaurant located at the newly renovated Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center just 30 minutes west of downtown. Centered around three core pillars; local, fresh and seasonal, B.’s “casually dramatic” identity is distinctive in every aspect of the original concept, from its modern design meets Audubon setting to its globally artistic menu designed by Executive Chef Sean Patrick Curry. Among the highlights, the 167-seat full-service restaurant, which is now officially open to the public, features a patisserie helmed by an award-winning pastry chef, a bourbon-focused lounge, Chef’s Gardens for ingredient sourcing, and an on-site honey harvesting program aimed at raising awareness for declining honeybees. A wide selection of local, fresh and seasonal flavors is meticulously hand-crafted to create simple food with depth—what Curry calls, “modern farm cuisine.” The modern refers to contemporary, artistically plated dishes. The farm cuisine is the connection between the food and the people behind it.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK—In 1866 (not that long ago), 150 glaciers graced the spectacular alpine summits that today are within the boundaries of Glacier National Park. Today, only 25 glaciers remain large enough to be considered “functional,” say scientists who expect all the park’s glaciers to vanish by 2030. Many will disappear before that.
It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is competitive. Online ratings and reviews continue to be a crucial resource for consumers and the rise of the sharing economy has added a whole new element to the game. Hotel owners, executives and managers know how important it is to gain and keep a competitive advantage. They often ask themselves, “How do I bring new guests through the lobby doors while keeping past guests coming back time and time again?” The answer to that question just might be something unexpected: sustainability. According to a recent survey conducted by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), sustainability attributes and environmental impact considerations are an extremely/very important factor to a third (33 percent) of all U.S. consumers and 39 percent of Millennials when they choose hotel accommodations.
WAILEA, HAWAII—Today, Fairmont Kea Lani will hold a Power Up Celebration and blessing to mark the completion of a photovoltaic installation project. The 500 kilowatt, 1,528 panel solar installation generates 845,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough electricity to power 139 homes on Maui. The project is expected to reduce the resort’s current energy demand by more than 10 percent and reduce CO2e emissions by 462 metric tons of CO2e annually. This reduction in CO2e emissions is the equivalent of removing 97 passenger cars from local roads per year. “Fairmont Kea Lani’s commitment to social responsibility is deeply ingrained in the culture of the resort,” says Fairmont Kea Lani General Manager, Charles Head. “We are extremely proud to take a major step towards reducing the overall footprint of Fairmont Kea Lani with this important energy initiative.”
LAS VEGAS—In 2015 Caesars Entertainment Corp. and related entities generated $4.4 million of contributed value for every $10 million in revenue, according to the company’s seventh annual Corporate Citizenship Report. The report, entitled “Connecting for #Citizenship,” covers 2015 and the first half of 2016, and showcases the positive impact on guests, employees, the environment and its communities as a result of Caesars’ many corporate responsibility initiatives. In the past four years Caesars has generated more than $39 billion enterprise-wide in economic value, including $9 billion, or 87 percent of the enterprise’s total value generated, in 2015. Furthermore, in 2015, Caesars generated $4.4 million enterprise-wide of value for every $10 million in revenue, triple the estimated average of U.S. corporations. Caesars employees also contribute value to their communities, including in non-financial ways. For example, 45 percent of employees engaged in volunteer activity, versus the national average of 25 percent. Caesars’ Responsible Gaming (RG) program includes research, innovative technology and providing practical tools and comprehensive training for all its staff.
CHIANG RAI, THAILAND—John Roberts may be the only person on the planet to work for a resort company and have the word “elephant” in his title. When your company has resorts in areas where elephants either roam free in the wild or captive in city streets, it is easier to understand the need for a Director of Elephants & Conservation Activities. For Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, having someone dedicated to elephant protection aligns with its goal of creating luxury travel experiences that also benefit the local communities where each hotel and resort are located. Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas is a brand of Minor International. Minor International is the largest single donor of the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. Roberts has long had an interest in elephants, having seen his first one in the wild in 1999 in Nepal. Since that time he has come to understand the highly complex state of the elephant in Asia—there are more than 4,000 non-wild elephants in Thailand, for example.
ATLANTA—UPS’s 14th annual Sustainability Report provides a comprehensive update on the company’s sustainability efforts, including an announcement that the company has achieved its goal of driving 1 billion miles in its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet one year earlier than planned.
MADRID, SPAIN—The nearly-Zero Energy Hotels (neZEH) e-toolkit, which is available online at www.nezeh.eu, assesses the energy performance of hotels and proposes measures to improve efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy sources towards nearly-zero consumption. The toolkit is the outcome of a three-year long project funded by the European Union.
LOS ANGELES—Today the travel industry welcomes Kind Traveler, the first “Give + Get” hotel booking platform that transforms travelers into a financial force that benefits communities, the environment, and animals. Travelers “give” to a local or global charity; as reward for their donation, they “get” an exclusive rate to book directly with the world’s best hotels and unique properties. All of the donations raised on the Kind Traveler platform are given to charity. This new travel site has tremendous potential for positive global impact, considering the financial power of the seven-trillion dollar travel industry. Last year alone more than one billion trips were taken. According to Phocuswright’s “Good Travels” research study, “Nearly 75 percent of travelers polled think it’s important, somewhat important or extremely important that their travel dollars benefit the communities they visit.” Booking through Kind Traveler, donations support top-rated charities designed to impact local and global communities. The study also found that price is still the leading reason for booking with a particular travel company.
GLOBAL REPORT—The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) launched a new project which aims to ensure that all buildings are “net zero” by 2050, to help deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement and tackle climate change. Advancing Net Zero will see WorldGBC and Green Building Councils in countries with some of the biggest projected growth in building roll out net zero building certification and training so that these highly efficient buildings become commonplace over the next 35 years.