As part of its corporate development, which is geared towards sustainability, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts decided to set up an integrated Management System conforming to internationally recognised standards. It has now succeeded in reaching its first milestone, with Hubert Rizzi, Chief Auditor at the Swiss Association for Quality and Management Systems (SQS) handing over the official ISO certificate for Swissôtel Management GmbH to Meinhard Huck, President of Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts.
The certificate was granted for compliance with ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 14001 (environmental management) and OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety) standards, through which the processes and management tools needed for the group-wide implementation of the “Sustainability at Swissôtel” initiative are put in place. The hotels can access the management system online, and the rollout is already progressing apace. The main objective is to achieve global certification for all premises by the end of 2009, and for all hotels to be individually certified under ISO 22000, the food safety standard.
“By becoming certified, we are making a strong commitment to our many stakeholders to continue and expand our longstanding activities in the areas of quality, the environment, health and safety, and social responsibility”, commented Meinhard Huck. “We are firmly convinced that business success and sustainability must go hand in hand. We had to start by getting things in order at head office, but now we can press ahead with our initiative and cascade it to our hotels worldwide, who can look to us as an example of how it is done.“
Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts’ efforts on sustainability are divided into four main areas: environment, guests and partners, staff and local communities. Sustainability teams in the individual hotels pursue local initiatives and develop schemes to enable the hotels to work together to meet their objectives in the four areas. In order to verify the effectiveness of the measures introduced, numerous key indicators will be recorded in a web-based database, analysed and evaluated on a monthly basis. Best practices will be singled out for recognition and shared with the teams in other hotels via a benchmark platform. The plan is to call on the 6,200 employees from different nations and cultural spheres as a rich source of ideas which can then be channelled in a purposeful way, as part of a learning process, for the benefit of the stakeholders.
As far as social responsibility is concerned, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts have already been working with SOS Kinderdörfer (SOS Children’s Villages) for some time now. All the hotels have been collecting donations and hosting charity events in aid of the organisation since 1999: the hotel chain sponsored the building of a family home in Uganda, for example, and last year CHF 160,000 was donated to SOS children’s villages in Lavrovo (Russia) and Termitau (Kasakhstan).
The needs of the 6,200 employees of Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts will be taken into consideration by providing a stimulating working environment. A variety of internal and external training courses for staff development will be on offer, and young junior members of staff will take part in leadership programmes to prepare them for future management roles.
Probably the greatest and most important challenge facing the hotel group concerns radical changes in human behaviour to help combat climate change, water shortages and deforestation. The group’s objectives here are focused on reducing CO2 emissions, improving waste disposal, using energy and water sparingly, and optimising the entire value chain. “In our hotels resources are used in an environmentally conscious way as a matter of course. Our energy and water efficiency is regularly checked and optimised by external partners, indeed a group of experts from the Basel efficiency agency is currently doing its rounds, inspecting and assisting the hotels”, explains Lilian Roten, Vice President of Operations, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts.