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NATIONAL REPORT—Most chafing dish fuel gels found today are made from corn-based ethanol, methanol and other additives to help the product burn hotter. Methanol is added to make it too toxic for consumption. Fuel gel using methanol and other additives is considered hazardous waste and should be treated as such, several industry experts told Green Lodging News for this article. Methanol gel, according to Don Haldenby, CEO of Ecoflame International Inc., is poisonous and contains dioxin and emits nitrous oxide, arsenic, carbon monoxide and excessive carbon dioxide when burned. It is dangerous to touch and dangerous to the environment when containers end up in the landfill. There, they leach their poisons into the water table. Dennis Paul, CEO of ECOFuel Worldwide Inc., said the emissions from most fuel gel today are not only potentially hazardous to those who work around it; they can also impact the taste and quality of the food the gels are working to heat. “You may be ingesting it and it changes the flavor of the food,” he says.
CLINTON, MD.—The TownePlace Suites is located across Old Alexander Ferry Road from Joint Base Andrews. A large segment of the hotel’s guest base is military personnel on temporary duty at Joint Base Andrews. The hotel prides itself on providing a “home away from home” and an inviting atmosphere to support troops. Both as part of participating in the military’s mission expanding the use of renewable energy, and as a way to cut costs and maintain affordable rates, the hotel started looking into a solar photovoltaic energy system last year. “We thought that solar would enhance our ability to offer a great hotel value to all our guests, especially our military guests and their families,” said Dr. John Miller, one of the hotel’s Managing Partners (along with Mark Rothman, Esq.) “Energy security is a big part of the military mission. We felt this was something we could do to enhance energy security and help the environment, while also giving us the ability to hold costs down.”
CHEVY CHASE, MD.—The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. has become the first Founding Partner of IMPACT 2030: The Global Initiative for the Advancement of Corporate Volunteering. IMPACT 2030 was introduced at the United Nations on Friday, December 5, 2014 on “International Volunteer Day” where The Ritz-Carlton and the fellow Founding Partner companies showcased the meaningful difference their employees are making locally, nationally and internationally through corporate volunteering. IMPACT 2030 is a global private sector led collaboration created to mobilize corporate volunteers to contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Initiative’s partner companies recognize that a commitment to corporate volunteering—when used in concert with the United Nations, peer companies, and philanthropic and nonprofit organizations—is a powerful tool to address critical social and environmental issues and inspire the private sector to positive action. The focus areas for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s social and environmental responsibility program, Community Footprints, are hunger and poverty relief; child well-being; and environmental responsibility, and are key components of the company’s culture of corporate social responsibility.
LIMA, PERU—The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that it has joined the Global Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform, along with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE). The Global Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform is a program of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Sustainable Energy for All (#SE4ALL) initiative. The USGBC and BCSE constituents represent thousands of businesses and organizations that are driving energy efficiency solutions all around the world.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and its Foundation today released the definitive industry survey examining the top trends in the hotel industry, which this year is marked by personal service, healthy lifestyles and convenience. The survey, “The 2014 Lodging Study Hotel Trends: An Inside Look at Popular Amenities and Guest Services” conducted by industry data provider STR, illustrates how hotels are adapting to consumer demands by adjusting their services and amenities to take into account guests’ needs. This survey, funded by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF), shows that in addition to advancing consumer service, hotels are also giving back, making charitable contributions and being good stewards of the environment. Environmentally-friendly programs, such as towel reuse programs, recycling capabilities and water savings programs are increasingly popular, with overwhelming majorities of hotels participating. Hotels are also giving to charities, and employees are offering their personal time to volunteer efforts. The innovation and creativity of the hotel industry continues to benefit the guests.
PARSIPPANY, N.J.—Wyndham Hotel Group, the world’s largest hotel company with approximately 7,590 hotels and part of Wyndham Worldwide Corp., announced its continued commitment to preventing human trafficking by partnering with Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors.
LONDON—To mark Human Rights Day 2014, the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) has released its latest Know How Guide on Human Rights and the Hotel Industry. The guide is a high-level introduction to human rights for the hotel industry—what human rights are, what they are in the context of the hotel industry, steps to implement the UN Guiding Principles and resources for further reading. Hotels touch every corner of the globe and employ and offer hospitality to millions of people very year. The hotel industry therefore has an important role to play when it comes to human rights and it is imperative that hotel companies understand the relevant issues. Human rights are often dismissed as too complicated or irrelevant. The International Tourism Partnership’s aim is to demystify human rights for the hotel industry—bringing together a complex mass of information into one document specifically for the sector. Human rights needn’t be complicated, or abstract. If they are embedded into a hotel’s strategy and operations correctly, it will be of equal benefit to employees, stakeholders and guests.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.—Koncept Events recently took an inspired cue from their mega client Nutra Blend, and took to the streets of South Florida to extend Nutra Blend’s “Drive to Feed Kids” program to their hotel brand partners in an effort to drive away hunger in South Florida.
RICHMOND, VA.—Winners of the Virginia Green Travel Star and Travel Leader Awards will be recognized at the Second Annual Virginia Green Travel Conference & Awards on December 8 & 9 at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, Va. The Virginia Green Travel Star Awards is the recognition program of the Virginia Green program, Virginia’s voluntary initiative to encourage green practices in the state’s tourism industry. The program is run through a partnership between the Virginia Tourism Corp., the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Assn. Virginia Green now has more than 1,550 tourism partners that have self-certified that they are engaged in a wide range of green practices and commitments. Virginia Green partners include hotels, restaurants, parks, museums, festivals and events, wineries and breweries, welcome centers, and supporting organizations—all aspects of Virginia’s tourism industry. The program also challenges green-minded consumers to travel green by choosing Virginia Green partners whenever they travel in Virginia by searching for Virginia Green at www.VirginiaGreenTravel.org.
PITTSBURGH—Grow Pittsburgh, an urban agriculture nonprofit which teaches people how to grow food and promotes the benefits of gardens in local communities, has updated its Braddock Farms site thanks in part to a $10,000 grant from Fairmont Pittsburgh. The improvements include a custom-built shipping container to be used as a storage facility and office space at the urban farm.
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