Denise Naguib Champions Sustainability, Supplier Diversity for Marriott International

10/3/2012 By Glenn Hasek

Name: Denise N. Naguib
Title: Vice President, Sustainability and Supplier Diversity
Organization: Marriott International, Inc.
Years at company: 7 years
Primary responsibilities: “I lead the sustainability strategy for global operations and drive sustainability through the design and development processes. I also am the primary communicator to our customers of our sustainability efforts.”
Company’s most significant sustainability-related accomplishment so far: “Our progress in rolling out Green Hotels Global, [an online environmental sustainability dashboard]. We previously did not have visibility into each individual hotel’s environmental initiatives. The system is in place in 2,100 hotels as of today.”
Company’s most significant sustainability-related challenge: “At the individual hotel level, helping each hotel achieve a better carbon footprint number [as reported as part of Green Hotels Global]. There are places where hotels do not have access to clean energy.”

BETHESDA, MD.—Denise Naguib has almost always been an environmentalist. Growing up in Egypt, she admired the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea. At the age of 11, after she had moved to Oregon, she wrote a letter to the governor of the state to relay her concerns about clear cutting. Today, after a career path with a number of twists and turns, Denise is one of the lodging industry’s most influential green champions as vice president, Sustainability and Supplier Diversity for Marriott International.

Denise focuses on the operations side of the hotel business and reports to Marriott’s senior vice president of Design and Development for Global Operations. When not traveling to industry events or other meetings, she works on multiple projects. She was the subject matter expert for Marriott’s most recent Sustainability Report and recently helped roll out an environmentally responsible meeting program for The Ritz-Carlton brand.

Denise is playing a key role in the creation of the Green Hotels Global tool, an online environmental sustainability dashboard (developed and managed by The Carbon Accounting Co.). The system collects data and calculates each Marriott hotel’s carbon footprint according to new industry guidelines. It also calculates each hotel’s water footprint and waste diversion rate and maintains a comprehensive list of each hotel’s environmental practices.

Tool Will Be Brand Standard

Denise says there are currently 2,100 Marriott properties that have completed the dashboard creation process. All approximately 3,700 properties will be in the system by March 2013. Utilizing the Green Hotels Global tool will be a brand standard for all Marriott properties.

For the last 18 months Denise and others at Marriott have been working with MindClick SGM in support of the MindClick Hospitality Sustainability Performance Index (HSP Index). The HSP Index measures suppliers’ corporate social responsibility, environmental operations, and product sustainability efforts. Marriott just announced that it will spend 75 percent of its 2013 furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) budget with suppliers that are part of the Index.

“We know that in order to get more vendors in the rating system (there are currently 23 suppliers, two architect/design firms, three purchasing companies, and one other company participating), we needed to put a stake in the ground,” Naguib says. So far, Marriott is the only hotel brand that has committed to using the Index.

Strong History of Supporting Diverse Suppliers

Ensuring that Marriott’s supplier base is as diverse as possible is also part of Denise’s job. Her goal is to get diverse-owned suppliers to bid on Marriott business. She says she will be hiring a small team of employees to support that effort. Marriott has put a lot of attention on supplier diversity in the past. Marriott is an active corporate member of multi-national organizations that support the development of diverse and historically excluded suppliers and collaborates with companies such as Avendra to help it reach its supplier diversity goals. According to Marriott’s recent Sustainability Report, it has spent nearly $4 billion over the last decade with diverse suppliers.

Prior to working in her current position, Denise worked as senior director, Sustainability for Marriott. Earlier, she was corporate director, Environmental Programs for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and led environmental strategy for the brand. She got her start with Marriott in 2005 when she moved to the Cayman Islands to implement Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The program’s success led The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to sign a 10-year agreement with Jean-Michel Cousteau to implement these programs at various properties throughout the brand. Denise is a LEED Green Associate and is pursuing LEED Accredited Professional for Existing Buildings.

When asked what she enjoys most about her job, Denise says, “I love having the ability to educate and influence leaders around the subject of sustainability.”

Go to Marriott International.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.


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