PALMA, SPAIN—The current health crisis has revealed the low levels of protection for the most vulnerable people in society, as well as the enormous difficulty they have in getting access to basic products to protect themselves from coronavirus. The situation is particularly relevant in developing countries where local communities lack the most basic health infrastructure and protection systems.
Meliá Hotels International and Diversey have joined forces once again to work to support the health needs of the most vulnerable local communities. The project comes after another circular economy project named Soap For Hope which both companies have been working on together since 2017. The project has involved the conversion of more than 45 tons of leftover soap into new bars of soap, allowing more than 35,000 people access to such a basic and necessary product to guarantee basic hygiene and help prevent diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia and now, COVID-19.
The project was piloted at the Meliá Bali with enormous success, and now involves 26 hotels operated by Meliá Hotels International, six in America and 20 in Asia Pacific.
With Linens For Life, Meliá Hotels International and Diversey have set a goal of making more than 250,000 masks that will be delivered free of charge to local communities by local organizations in the eight countries in which the project will be running.
Three Types of Benefits
With Linens For Life, Meliá Hotels International and Diversey aim to generate three types of benefits through their work together on a circular hotel economy. On the one hand, there will be a clear health benefit, something which is very much in need right now, and which will allow people in local communities around the hotels to get free access to active protection and prevention measures against COVID-19.
Secondly, the process of making the masks will also involve the local community, generating employment and a direct economic benefit as all the manufacturing is carried out by members of the local community.
And finally, there will be a positive environmental impact since the recycling of more than 1,110 kilos of linen will avoid the use of almost 5.2 million liters of water and reduce carbon emissions by 13.1 tons.
Meliá Hotels International and Diversey have enjoyed a relationship for more than 30 years. In addition to being one of the hotel company’s leading suppliers, Diversey has also been a strategic ally for Meliá during the current health crisis, having actively participated in the development and implementation of cleaning and disinfection protocols as part of the Stay Safe with Meliá program. Stay Safe with Meliá is a health and safety program designed to assist in the staggered reopening of hotels in the recovery after COVID-19, with the process being certified by Bureau Veritas to guarantee its compliance with the most rigorous health and safety standards.
Common Goals for Two Companies
In the words of Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, CEO & Executive Vice President of Meliá Hotels, “Having global strategic allies like Diversey, committed to society and to more sustainable and safer travel, is a source of great pride. Our understanding in terms of corporate responsibility has allowed both companies to take the relationship to a higher level and have an even greater positive impact on travel destinations. We did it with Soap For Hope, and we will do it again this time with Linens For Life and the delivery of all of the masks we intend to make. I believe that making sure we have a responsible, rigorous and secure supply chain is a priority for every company, especially at a time when safety and trust are a top priority for us.”
After the project launch, Phil Wieland, CEO of Diversey, said, “We have proudly been serving Meliá Hotels International for more than three decades and our mutual trust and understanding is allowing both our companies to embark on this new journey. In these uncertain times, we believe that sustainability and enhanced cleaning and hygiene can go hand in hand. And more than ever, we believe in Creating Shared Value (CSV), for our customers, for our communities and ultimately making us a better company. A meaningful example is Linens For Life: altogether a recycling, sharing, giving and protecting initiative.”