The hotels are the first of 76 EarthCheck accredited hotels across the Taj portfolio to achieve the five year milestone, with 54 more properties on track to reach the target by 2016.
Using the EarthCheck program, the nine honored hotels are proving they can deliver robust environmental savings to complement Taj's existing CSR programs. In 2013, they collectively reduced energy consumption by 174,766,344MJ, enough energy to power 53,940 homes in India and cut waste by 7,172,259.2 litres, the equivalent of removing 186 shipping containers filled with rubbish.
“Taj has a long standing commitment to sustainability programs, and the EarthCheck benchmarking and certification accreditation perfectly complements our Taj EARTH internal process and campaign,” said Mr. Raymond Bickson, Managing Director and CEO of the Indian Hotels Company.
“EarthCheck benchmarking reiterates our commitment and sets the stage for conscious organizational effort to commit to energy and water conservation, better waste management practices and focused local sourcing of materials and manpower.
CEO of EarthCheck and EC3 Global, Mr. Stewart Moore added that while many global hotel brands are now measuring and benchmarking their CSR activities, few are certified by an external party.
“The fact that Taj Group is using EarthCheck capabilities and backing their benchmarking with a recognized third party is what gives this hotel group a point of difference in its sustainability efforts,” Mr. Moore said.
“What is also commendable is that the Taj Group has maintained this benchmarking for five years without wavering while some other hotel groups have dipped in and out of the sustainability space.
“This length of time and the growing number of Taj properties now engaged with EarthCheck shows absolute commitment to quality external benchmarking,” he said.
Reflecting over the five-year journey, Mr Moore agrees that the diversity of the Taj hotels presented challenges and a “cookie cutter” approach to sustainability was never going to work.
“Due to the variety and age of the hotels – some are hundred year old palaces others are brand new builds - each property had to start with a critical review of their operational footprint before they could compare their sustainability results against international benchmarks and baselines.
“Taj's success comes down to the fact that the hotel group, like their Tata parent company, has a rich tradition in caring for the environment and in empowering staff to make changes to their immediate environment.
A 25 year veteran in sustainability in the tourism and hospitality industry Mr Moore added that successful sustainability programs are more than just carbon foot printing and must blend social and economic aims into the environmental targets.
He said that Taj successfully combines all three factors within their EARTH and social responsibility programs.
Bickson explains The Taj Group is committed to the cause of building a sustainable environment by reducing the impact of their daily operations on the environment and improving operational efficiencies, resource conservation, reuse and recycling of key resources.
“The hotel group has focused partnerships and programmes towards ‘Building Sustainable Livelihoods' – the group's CSR theme for supporting neighbourhoods and less privileged communities.”
“Be it our Vivanta motifs for promoting the destinations in which we operate, our Gateway Active Foods concept for highlighting regional cuisines or the preservation and restoration of palaces undertaken through our luxury brand – it all manifests the same belief – a belief in continuing to make a difference everyday not only for our betterment but for the preservation and betterment of our ecosystems,” said Mr. Bickson.
The nine properties that have been gold certified include, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa in the Maldives, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa; Vivanta by Taj – Ambassador, New Delhi; Rambagh Palace in Jaipur; Taj West End Hotel, Bangalore, Taj Lands End Hotel in Mumbai, Vivanta by Taj – M G Road, Bangalore, Vivanta by Taj – President, Mumbai, and Blue Sydney A Taj Hotel located in Sydney's Woolloomoolloo Wharf.