Article in TravTalk by Bani Haddad
Founder & Managing Director of Aleph Hospitality
We all have a responsibility to take care of our planet and people, and there are so many processes in hotels that can be vastly improved with regard to sustainability. Monitoring and analysing energy and water consumption, using eco-friendly cleaning products, recycling used products and promoting locally sourced food in the restaurants can be of great help in this direction.
When I founded Aleph Hospitality seven years ago, I was determined to create a sustainable development programme for the hotels under our management in the Middle East and Africa. I sincerely believe that we all have a responsibility to take care of our planet and people, and there are so many processes in hotels that can be vastly improved in regard to sustainability. So, I was thrilled when we were finally able to launch a well thought-out and comprehensive programme in 2022, named Aleph CARES. In this context, CARES stands for Community, Aleph, Responsible, Environment and Sustainability. The programme is based on five pillars: management approach, energy & water consumption, waste management, product selection and CSR & solidarity. All new team members at our hotels receive training in Aleph CARES as part of their induction.
Under the Aleph CARES programme, each hotel in our portfolio is obliged to appoint an Aleph Cares Pioneer, who is passionate about and responsible for raising awareness of sustainability and finding solutions in his/ her hotel, as well as able to educate their team members in best practices.
We have also made it mandatory for all hotels to monitor and analyse energy and water consumption, have a recycling programme in place, use eco-friendly cleaning products, promote locally sourced food in the restaurants and create a plan and take action around Corporate Social Responsibility. We are also setting measurable sustainable objectives for all our hotel General Managers (GMs).
On a corporate level, an example of Aleph Hospitality engaging with humanitarian projects is the group’s management agreement for three Boma hotels in Kenya, whereby we donate 5 per cent of our fees to the Kenya Red Cross. We are also committed to raising guest awareness at all the hotels under our management, so guests know how they can do their part to help during their stay.
Across our portfolio of hotels, we already have notable examples in place across the five pillars. At Ramada by Wyndham Addis in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, we are planting trees, outfitting the hotel with eco lighting and a water management system, as well as doing much needed community clean-ups. At Century Park Kigali in Rwanda, we have banned all plastic cups, introduced an extensive recycling programme and switched to straws made of rice. At The Boma Nairobi in Kenya, we are currently driving a Go Green competition where each department will be submitting their plans to be more sustainable. Furthermore, we are growing an organic kitchen garden, recycling water bottles, as well as donating and offering cleaning services to a children’s home and a local hospital. At the Best Western Plus Westlands in Kenya, the hotel has switched to low-flow showers, introduced a recycling programme, as well as started buying locally sourced products. And the list goes on.
Hotels have many and better options as far as product selection goes. Embracing this, we have banned endangered seafood species from the menus of our hotel restaurants, we use certified paper for printing, eco-designed materials in the rooms, dispensers and eco-friendly packaging for amenities and offer Fairtrade products.
Other long-term CSR efforts include encouraging the hotels to find and offer sustainable trips and activities close to the hotel, to support local associations that share our moral and ethical values, to donate products being phased out for reuse, such as towels and linen. Sustainability key to hospitality We all have a responsibility to take care of our planet and people, and there are so many processes in hotels that can be vastly improved with regard to sustainability. Monitoring and analysing energy and water consumption, using eco-friendly cleaning products, recycling used products and promoting locally sourced food in the restaurants can be of great help in this direction.