Global luxury hospitality group Mandarin Oriental Hotels has pledged to phase out all single-use plastics across its entire portfolio by March 2021. This follows recent moves by the group to remove plastic straws and single-use drinking bottles, and will see all disposable plastic items abolished across their whole operational chain including all rooms, spas, transport and F&B outlets. The pledge comes amid the big wave of green initiatives across the board in the travel and hospitality sector, especially as operators feel the pressure from increasingly eco-conscious consumers.
Operating some of the world’s top luxury hotels and resorts spanning 23 countries, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced plans to remove all types of single-use plastics in all its operations across the group’s 32 properties. The campaign will also involve working with suppliers to drive more responsible sourcing practices and provide alternative reusable products without sacrificing on travellers’ luxury travel experience. Each hotel will set out annual targets to address plastic use, and will be required to issue progress reports twice a year to remain transparent.
“Plastic waste is one of the gravest environmental concerns affecting our planet today…as one of the most iconic luxury global hotel groups, we are in a strong position to drive important changes in the industry,” said Group Chief Executive James Riley.
These plans come amid the slew of eco-initiatives that hotel chains, including many luxury chains, are committing to across the industry. Recently, Marriott International announced plans to replace disposable toiletries with larger refillable pump bottles across all its hotels, reduce landfill waste by 45% and transition to more ethical procurement practices by 2025. The InterContinental Hotels Group also vowed to switch to refillable amenities by 2021, and its brand Six Senses Resorts committed to a series of green campaigns. Asia-Pacific’s boutique hotel chain Ovolo Hotels has already replaced single-use toiletries with their own vegan-friendly bathroom range dubbed “OMG”.
What seems to be driving these greener practices is guest pressure and changes in travel consumer preferences. Customers, who are now more aware of global environmental issues such as climate change and plastic pollution, are now expecting businesses to take the lead. In a 2019 Trekksoft annual travel trends report, sustainable accommodation is rising in popularity, primarily due to the greener minded millennial and Gen Z demographic.
Even companies outside of the travel industry are pressured into making serious changes when it comes to tackling plastic waste. After facing global backlash, Coca-Cola will be switching to using bottles created from ocean plastic waste. Nestle Japan has taken some strides to reduce plastic by scrapping its original KitKat packaging for recyclable origami paper. What this indicates is that all companies can no longer afford to ignore the planet, and must make eco-friendly changes if they are to succeed in the long-term.
Lead image courtesy of Mandarin Oriental.