Edsa Shangri-la Manila

Edsa Shangri-la Manila

12 March, 2011
Green ahead of their time
Eco initiatives are nothing new for this Philippine establishment
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With its 5 star service, tastefully elegant interiors and lush tropical gardens, the Edsa Shangri-La hotel is a welcome refuge from the heat and dust from the streets outside. We visited the luxurious city resort in the heart of Manila to find out more about its CSR initiatives, some of which came into existence long before sustainability was a buzzword.

Like all Shangri-La hotels, Edsa employs a ‘Green Program’ to identify ways to reduce waste and eliminate practices that harm the environment, and an ‘Environmental Management System (EMS) Manual’ that helps to identify and address the immediate and long-term impact of the hotel’s operations on its local environment. Recently, Shangri-la has also implemented a ‘Best Practices Program’, which focuses on conservation of energy and water with a target of saving 400,000 tons of CO2 per annum companywide.

To this end, the group has implemented a number of eco friendly measures at Edsa and all its hotels, including water saving devices on guestroom taps and showers, energy saving lights in many guest areas, energy efficient chillers, waterless urinals and sensor taps in back of house areas, and thermal controls in all hotel areas.

What impressed us about the Edsa Shangri-La, however, was that energy is old hat to them. Way back in 2002, the hotel had already installed solar panels on the roofs of its two towers, to heat the water for the upper floors. This eliminated the need for large-capacity diesel boilers, reducing energy consumption by 20%. It’s no wonder that they have been recognized with the ASEAN Green Hotel Award for year 2010 – 2011. They’ve been green for a very long time!

Speaking with the Communications Director Lesley Tan, we were delighted to learn about the hotel’s own “Earth Savers League” (ESL, the same as the acronym for the hotel’s name). With the support of an active “Employee Council”, they are able to take leadership and implement activities like office clean-up days and initiatives like healthy menus in the staff canteen. Again ahead of the game, Edsa Shangri-La’s staff have even organized “Tiangge” events, which is Tagalog for a secondhand clothing sale, flea market or “swap”, a trend that is currently sweeping the eco scene in cities like London and New York.

On the other side of the CSR coin, the hotel takes very seriously its responsibility to the community in which it does business. Human Resources Manager Rodolfo Bazar shared with us a number of programs that harmoniously combine staff engagement, environmental stewardship and community service at the hotel. Some of the stories that inspired us most included annual sponsored vaccinations for local schoolchildren; children visits, parties, gifts and other support at the White Cross Orphanage; an ongoing blood donation program; and cooking demonstrations for students of a local deaf school.

We could plainly see that, thanks in part to an intuitive hiring policy and internal brand management, the individuals who make up the Edsa Shangri-La family truly “get” the five pillars of their company’s CSR commitment: Environment, Supply Chain, Stakeholder Relations, Employees and Health & Safety. We could feel the warmth and enthusiasm of everyone we spoke with at the hotel, and the sense of community among them. This can only translate into an even more rich and welcoming experience for guests, who may not get to see everything the staff do in the CSR space but can rest assured that the kindness in their smiles is 100% genuine.

As we left the Edsa Shangri-La, grasping giant chocolate donuts purchased from the hotel bakery (wrapped in recyclable paper, not plastic!), we noted to ourselves the commitment we had seen. We had been given a glimpse into a company that really, truly works.

By: Ecozine Staff
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