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At Marriott, Going Green a High PriorityMarch 24, 2009 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor
For the third straight year, Marriott International has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with its Sustained Excellence Award. Among a long list of "green" accomplishments, the EPA noted Marriott's energy-reduction strategy, through which the company and its owners avoided $1.3 million in costs; decreased greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent per available room; and increased its total number of ENERGY STAR hotels to 275, the most of any hotel company.
"Now, more than ever, helping to preserve the planet makes good business sense and is vital to the future of our company," said Chief Financial Officer Arne Sorenson, who co-chairs Marriott's Executive Green Council. "We continue to take steps to save energy, reduce waste and involve our employees and customers in new ways that they can help improve the environment."
Building on 20 years of energy conservation experience, Marriott is committed to protecting the environment and addressing climate change. Some of the most recent outcomes from the company's Spirit To Preserve strategy include:
• Marriott hotels worldwide will participate in Earth Hour on March 28 at 8:30 p.m. local time. From Washington, D.C., to Sydney and Shanghai, many of Marriott's 3,100 hotels will dim all non-essential lighting for one hour, joining tens of millions of people in this call for global action on climate change, initiated by the World Wildlife Fund.
• The company's corporate headquarters in Bethesda, MD, is pursuing LEED-Existing Building status by the end of the year. Next week, Marriott Headquarters will be the first site in the D.C. area to introduce Connect by Hertz. A fleet of four SmartWay cars will be available for employees who use public transportation or carpool to commute to the office, but need to run an errand or attend an off-site meeting mid-day. Last year, the building diverted 64 percent of its total waste from the landfill. This included 450,000 pounds of paper, food waste, computer components and other items. Much of this success was achieved first by transitioning to biodegradable disposable containers in its cafeteria, and then ultimately migrating to all permanent-ware. Soon, the cafeteria will also begin having its used cooking oil refined into biodiesel fuel.
• In February, Marriott launched "Green Your Hotel Stay." When guests book a room on Marriott.com or visit Green-Brazilian Rainforest online, they can help protect the 1.4 million acres of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Guests can offset the carbon generated during their stay for as little as $10, or $1 per day for 10 days. Watch Marriott's video to learn more and see the rainforest.