New Sustainability Consortium Proves Green is Gold

Going green can no longer be viewed as a perk from a hospitality standpoint. It has become increasingly apparent that green is gold and ought to be a standard in hospitality design. In this vein, a group of leaders in the hotel industry representing brands, hotel suppliers, architecture firms, purchasing companies and sustainability experts launched the Hospitality Sustainable Purchasing Consortium, led by MindClick SGM. The new consortium will work collaboratively to facilitate greening the furniture, fixture and equipment supply chain for hotels.

Travel Agent chatted with David Lippert, vice president of procurement at Marriott International, which is one of the founding members of the consortium, to get the scoop.

"There has been conflicting information and conflicting rating systems when it comes to determining what is green," Lippert says. "We have had some initial discussions with MindClick to create a unified tool that would work for both us and suppliers."

Led by MindClick from an overall sponsorship point of view, the venture was looking for founding members and Marriott stepped up as the first hotel management brand company to be in the consortium. "Marriott has been very interested in sustainability for 20-plus years," Lippert tells us. "MindClick was looking for brand companies of hotel owners and suppliers that support the hotel industry and to really get a mixture of varying sizes of companies to bring to the table for input."

The model of the consortium allows suppliers to file their green products through this tool. The consortium will work together to validate the sustainability of the products. Suppliers will have to answer questions about the manufacturing processes related to sustainability and go through a screening process to get a green rating. "This allows hotel management companies to evaluate vendors and determine the sustainability of products. It gets past some of the 'green washing' out there and gets down to a 1-5 scoring system that will uniformly evaluate vendors and products," says Lippert.

The consortium is still in its initial stages and will be taken through a high level of testing over the next three months. It will be kicked off into full gear sometime in early 2012.

"We really look at this as creating a valuable methodology that will allow us to source our products, evaluate them and really take them from the source and manufacturer to the guest rooms. Further down the path we look forward to being able to communicate and educate our guests on strides we have made," Lippert adds.

Other founding members include Audit Logistics, Benjamin West, Delta Faucet Company, Innvision, InterfaceFLOR, PE INTERNATIONAL Inc., RTKL, SERA Architects and Valley Forge Fabrics.


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