Written by Choice Hotels
As Choice Hotels’ presence continues to grow in the Caribbean region, so does the company’s commitment to green and sustainability practices. The company’s 10 franchised hotels in the region support and participate in the company’s innovative Room to be Green program, and several are going beyond the program’s requirements in demonstrating green practices.
“The program, mandatory as of March 2017, focuses on five key pillars where we believe we can make a difference in our environmental impact,” according to Caragh McLaughlin, senior director of Choice Hotels’ Brand Strategy department. “Those pillars include energy conservation, water conservation, recycling and waste reduction, employee engagement and operational excellence, and smart, safe, and sustainable product usage.”
Hotels in the company’s Caribbean region have embraced the mandated sustainability practices, and have implemented additional measures to protect the region. Earle Bethell, general manager at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge Ascend Collection hotel in Abaco, notes his hotel’s commitment. “We send our aluminum cans to the primary school a few doors away from us. They have a recycling project going on. Additionally, our beer bottles are collected and reused. They are shipped to Nassau to the manufacturers of the beverages. And, we have a reverse osmosis plant where we make our own water.”
Environmental protection and sustainability are hallmarks of the region’s two Comfort Suites hotels. Tom Mason, general manager of the Comfort Suites in Grand Cayman, says ““A hotel operating with green initiatives is simply the accepted norm in our industry today. It was important for all of us at Comfort Suites to make an impact by reducing and recycling. We have taken this to heart, changing over our plastic cutlery and plates to glass and china in our breakfast room which saves over 300 plastic plates, cups and cutlery per day being sent to the landfill. We are also changing out every light bulb in the hotel to LED within the next three months. In a market like the Cayman Islands we can see the impact of waste on our ocean and it is important that we all do the best and the most that we can to take great care of this beautiful environment”.
Jermaine Wright, GM at the Comfort Suites at Paradise Island, says that his hotel has three Green Leaders in place who oversee the hotel’s sustainability initiatives. “With their guidance, we have changed all in-room lights to energy efficient, LED bulbs. Choice’s linen and water conservation program has been implemented. We’ve reduced electricity and water usage, and have increased the efficiency of our laundry for savings in both chemicals and labor. The team at Comfort Suites Paradise Island is committed to energy conservation and sustainability initiatives. We are focused on programs and policies that will help decrease the environmental footprint.”
Other hotels engaged with the company’s Room to be Green program include Comfort Inns in Puerto Rico and Ascend Collection hotels in Curacao and Puerto Rico, according to Bill Clegg, Choice Hotels regional vice president.