From biodegradable laundry bags to EcoSmart pillows, Marriott outlined initiatives it carried out to green its $10 billion global supply chain.
The supply chain changes, introduced in 2008 and 2009, were detailed in Marriott's just-published Sustainability Report 2008-2009 [pdf], the first the hotel chain has done adhering to Global Reporting Initiative guidelines.
Among accomplishments cited, Marriott says it has reduced energy consumption 11%, trimmed greenhouse gas emissions 10.7%, and is on pace to cut energy and water consumption per available room 25% by 2017.
Among supply chain initiatives carried out by Marriott, which has 3,400 managed and franchised properties and 18 brands in 70 countries, it purchased 24 million card keys in the U.S. built out of 50% recycled materials. That move meant 66 tons of plastic wouldn't be taking up landfill space, Marriott estimates.
The U.S. is behind Europe in this regard, Marriott says, as most European hotels already use card keys that "are fully recyclable or made from recycled content."
Marriott says EcoSmart pillows, introduced in 2008, are available to seven of its brands, including Marriott Hotels & Resorts, in North America.
Other initiatives include introduction of laundry bags which disintegrate in two to five years; room-ready towels which don't need to be washed by Marriott before initial use; laundry detergent in Asia hotels which reduces phosphates released into waste water; paint which is low in volatile organic compounds; and toilets outside North America which are more efficient because they provide light and heavy-duty flush reduction.
One drawback of Marriott's sustainability report, however, is that it reads like a press release.
There's little if any soul-searching or self-criticism.
When some companies -- including General Electric, for instance -- write their sustainability reports, they engage stakeholders who sometimes publish critiques of the report within the report, providing more balance about a company's sustainability efforts.
Marriott engaged stakeholders, but didn't publish their views.