Our environmental strategy is guided by the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:
We're reducing our environmental impact by minimising waste, switching to non-plastic alternatives, and designing greener buildings in all markets we operate. It is in our interest to fully commit to sustainable tourism as the majority of our business comes from coastal regions and other ecologically vulnerable destinations. Whether it's how we operate our hotels or what we do in the local communities, our obligations remain the same: to help preserve resources and protect the planet.
To minimise our impact on the environment, we provide support and training to our hotels and suppliers to identify ways to reuse, recycle, and divert waste from landfills.
Our first goal is to avoid generating any waste that will be sent to landfills. And because food waste is often one of the largest obstacles to managing waste streams, we do not manage food and beverage facilities and, instead, partner with local restauranteurs. This collaboration means holding our partners to the same high standards for waste management solutions that we have. So we work with them to find new areas to improve. And we share our learnings on how they can reduce waste and commit to a stringent disposable plastic restriction.
For the waste we do generate, we work to manage it responsibly. We have transitioned to 100% recycled bin bags for the rubbish we create at our hotels and offices across all countries. Fitting the local partnerships and regulatory structures, we aim to maximise recycled use through robust waste sorting principles — especially when it comes to waste like plastics, organic matter, and paper. For example, we're engaging with waste disposal authorities to make sure newspapers, and other paper scraps are recycled into new paper products, and biodegradable waste is sent to be composted. Projects like these help us find new ways to reuse and recycle everything we can instead of sending it to be incinerated.
We continually evaluate the hazardous waste we create. As we work to maximise the recycling of electronic devices, including printers, phones, and computers, we also make sure that electronic waste is treated to comply with local laws and regulations. We donate used devices through our e-waste management programme to our partners and suppliers. And with this contribution, we are able to conserve natural resources, prevent electronic pollution, and provide new devices for those in need.
Cutting down on plastic
disposable plastics avoided annually across our hotels.
We prioritise the use of plastic-free alternatives. We find ways to provide high-quality service and ensure that our guest needs are fulfilled while using as little plastics as possible. We offer products that are environmentally friendly, and we expect the same from our suppliers.
A major contributor to our waste elimination has been single-use plastics. As of today, we have reduced our disposable plastic use across our Southeast Asian hotels by 94%. Red Planet is working to eliminate the need for disposable plastics altogether across the entire chain by the end of 2020.
When we use less disposable plastics, we have less waste in the environment, more durable products, and lower costs overall. That's why in 2019, we launched a zero single-use plastics programme. The programme initially focused on removing all in-room disposable plastics across our Southeast Asian hotels. We’re on a mission to use only recycled and renewable materials in all hotel operations, and eventually in all countries. And most recently, we achieved the Tourism Authority's Thai Hotels Plastic Free Project certification for all our hotels in Thailand.
We've since expanded our efforts to look beyond our hotel rooms and operations. Red Planet removed all plastic straws, cutlery, cups, and lids from the coffee bars at all hotels in 2019. We now offer eco-friendly straws upon request only and paper cups for all beverages. We also implemented a programme to phase out plastic water bottles, replacing them with recycled glass bottles. The result is diverted plastic of more than 630,000 bottles every year across all hotels. And we aim to soon expand our programme to the Philippines, where we have already begun replacing water bottles with eco-friendly cartons.
In 2019, we began to install onsite water dispensers at our hotels, starting with Thailand and Indonesia, and moving on to the Philippines to add convenient, eco-friendly beverage options for our guests. In Indonesia, our guests can refill their in-room pitchers and glasses with fresh, clean water from the coolers located on each floor and in the lobby. And we have long-term plans to provide water dispensers and reusable bottles at all hotels by 2021.
We're currently using only refillable bathroom amenities across all hotels, avoiding unnecessary packaging and frequent replacement of soap and shampoo bottles. Our transition to refillable soap dispensers has driven down our plastic footprint by over 56% since 2015, and we have diverted over 18 tonnes of single-use toiletries from our landfills every year — which is equivalent to one full garbage truck.
We have also further expanded our supplier partnerships to provide plastic-free alternatives with Rethink Plastic in Indonesia, Cheww Ecosystem in Thailand, and Klara's in the Philippines. Through these cooperations, we offer eco-friendly, plastic-free options to in-room amenities, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap. And as the programme scales, we will continue to add new products.
Designing greener buildings
All but one of the hotels in our portfolio are newly built. We work with our property developers on green construction and renovation principles to lower our demand on the environment. And we construct and assess our buildings to meet recognised environmental standards and beyond applicable legal requirements.
To minimise our energy footprint, we design hotels with high occupant density that enable us to reduce the air-conditioned volume of each room and the number of building materials needed per guest. And when constructing our hotels, we use simple, durable materials to mitigate maintenance, while maximising their efficiency.
Since 2012, we have opened new hotels in Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Each of these buildings serves as an example to Red Planet's commitment to environmentally sustainable hotels with measures like compact and efficient room types, energy-efficient heating and cooling, captured rainwater, and maximised natural daylight.
At our hotels, we apply green building processes that are optimised to minimise energy use. A considerable amount of Red Planet's energy footprint comes from heating and cooling systems. So we work to reduce it and focus on improving our HVAC systems. For example, we install thermal insulation below roof decks to lower heat gain and associated room cooling loads. And our hotels feature electrical heat pumps which are up to three times more efficient than conventional electric water heaters.
To continue our progress toward energy efficiency at our hotels and offices, we focus on:
- Using occupancy-controlled lighting and air conditioning.
- Installing energy-efficient LED lights throughout.
- Replacing inefficient cooling and heating systems.
- Building hotels without corridor air conditioning and limiting temperature to 25°C in public areas.
Red Planet pursues green building certifications like the Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency (CASBEE) whenever possible. Launched in 2001, this Japanese government initiative recognises real estate that demonstrates the building's environmental performance. Red Planet Hiroshima, our newest hotel in Japan, received the second-highest green building rating A, keeping us well on track with our goal of minimum B rating in Japan.
Each CASBEE assessed building is ranked on a 5-point scale based on its performance relative to environmental quality and environmental load reduction. Reaching an A rating requires using durable and renewable materials, minimising the building's thermal load, and conserving water resources, which are all Red Planet's building principles. And we are committed to meeting and exceeding applicable standards to save energy and reduce our emissions.
Using water efficiently
Most of our planet's resources are finite, and even though water is abundant, our future depends on the sustainable management of it. We work to manage our water resources by using them efficiently and avoiding unnecessary water consumption — addressing the largest economic and societal challenge in the world.
The aim is to minimise our overall water consumption, find ways to reuse and recycle water and engage surrounding communities, guests, and employees in water-saving actions. It starts at our hotels, where we have installed walk-in showers instead of bathtubs. Our guests do not only prefer these showers, but they can also save up to four times more water than traditional bathtubs. And by using low-flow bathroom fittings, we can further decrease water use at our hotels and reduce the overall amount of wastewater that needs to be treated.
We continue to find alternative sources and recycle water at our hotels. We accomplish this by capturing rainwater from the roofs and gutters and diverting it to water tanks for other uses like cleaning and gardening. Unlike the public water supply, rainwater is naturally soft and high in nutrients. So we're giving the plants what they want while keeping pollutants out of the land.
We have also partnered with a water treatment plant in the Phuket province of Thailand, an area with many hotels and resorts that is often experiencing water shortages — especially during the hot, dry season. Our partner has implemented a wastewater treatment programme that purifies water through reverse osmosis and returns it to the hotel's distribution system to reuse in our bathrooms. Throughout this project, including regular audits to ensure the highest quality, we can improve recycling and prevent water pollution with water that works just as well as groundwater.
Engaging directly with the people at our hotels and local communities represents another way how we conserve water and educate about water efficiency. For example, we invite our guests to reuse their towels and bed linen by choosing not to have them cleaned every day. And we have installed onsite bottle-less water dispensers at our hotel lobbies — avoiding the collection and delivery of water and enabling our guests to bring their own bottles instead of purchasing bottled water.
Greener supply chains, greener hotels
We're committed to keeping our planet healthy, but we cannot do that alone. We also recognise our supply chain's impact on the planet's resources and are just as committed to the environmental friendliness of the people in our supply chain as our own.
Our strategy is to create a greener supply chain, where we've already invested in better laundry operations and sustainable procurement of eco-friendly products, and made sure applicable recycling regulations are followed.
We advocate greener detergents and cleaners in our supplier laundry operations. These detergents are free of harmful chemicals, which keeps pollutants out of our environment. In order to address climate change, our laundry suppliers minimise water and electricity use by cutting drying time, running precise washing programmes, and switching to energy-efficient equipment like flatwork folders. And in 2019, we went even further to require that our laundry suppliers are 100% plastic-free by removing disposable garment bags. These greener laundry operations avoided more than 60,000 plastic bags annually. Because of our efforts to conserve resources and prevent pollution, our suppliers can recognise the environmental impact of their operations and improve their environmental management systems.
Since 2018, we have partnered with suppliers to replace plastic room amenities with environmentally friendly alternatives that add up to less waste. We continue to add new products, including bamboo toothbrushes, tablet toothpaste, and silicone straws, to make acceptance of greener alternatives easier, even as price has increased. In the Philippines, we created a partnership with Generation Hope, a nonprofit organisation that donates all its profits to build public school classrooms. Together with Generation Hope, we sell drinking water in 100% recyclable carton packaging and continue to support local communities.
At our hotels, we continue to partner with local suppliers to take care of the environment. Examples include:
- ReReef. In Thailand, we sell ReReef's reusable silicone straws and sunscreen that does not damage delicate coral reef systems.
- Rethink Plastic. We work with Rethink Plastic in Indonesia to offer plastic-free kits that include bamboo utensils and soap wrapped in seaweed-based packaging.
- Klara's. Our guests in the Philippines can buy Klara's natural bathroom amenities, including shampoo and conditioner, that are good for the planet.