Tourism helps drive Thailand’s national GDP with Dusit International as a long-standing beneficiary. However, it’s important for providers to remain aware of their responsibilities to society in supporting the concept of sustainable tourism.
“Dusit owns and manages many properties both in Thailand and abroad,” says Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Dusit International, Chanin Donavanik. “In addition to running these businesses, the company constantly seeks ways to give back to the communities in which it operates.
“But measuring success in this field is not a straightforward process,” Mr Donavanik continues. “Dusit’s search for an agency that could quantify the results of its endeavours led the hotel group to EarthCheck, a credible, internationally respected certification programme.”
EarthCheck Certification is the world’s leading environmental management and certification programme, used by the travel and tourism industry. “Having already certified and benchmarked more than 1,300 organisations in over 70 countries, EC3 Global is highly regarded for its science-based approach,” explained Andre Russ, Vice President of Sales, EC3 Global.
“There are no short cuts, no ways to buy your way in; it’s a matter of being able to prove the integrity of an organisation’s operational practices year-in and year-out, and then be willing to have everything verified by an independent, third party auditor. By taking a scientific approach to measuring the effectiveness of their sustainability practices, Dusit International will be able to identify where they are out-performing other operators and where room for improvement remains.”
The key EarthCheck performance areas that are constantly monitored include:
• Greenhouse gas emissions
• Energy efficiency, conservation and management
• Management of fresh water resources
• Eco system conservation and management
• Management of social and cultural issues
• Land use planning and management
• Air quality protection and noise control
• Waste water management
• Solid waste management
• Storage of environmentally harmful substances
Dusit has appointed its Corporate Director of Engineering, Mr Juergen E. Seidel, as its Corporate EarthCheck Champion. He has taken responsibility for ensuring the company’s ongoing environmental performance, identifying risks, recording and monitoring impacts, and implementing environmental and social sustainability measures.
“After four years of affiliation with the EarthCheck programme, ten Dusit properties in Thailand and two of its international locations have achieved Silver Certification from EarthCheck,” says Mr Seidel. “These hotels and resorts continuously strive to remain environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, as proven by the achievement of this prestigious recognition.”
The group’s newest hotel, Dusit Thani Maldives, which had an official opening in September 2012 has already received the EarthCheck Bronze benchmark status. The infrastructure of Dusit Thani Maldives was carefully designed to minimize its environmental impact and has already been rated at or above Best Practice levels for Energy Consumption, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2), Waste Sent to Landfill, Community Commitment and Cleaning Products Rating.
Dusit International now aims to achieve all Silver and some Gold certifications by 2017, and with all Silver, some Gold, and Platinum certifications by 2021. The group continually invests time and resources on this long-term commitment. The hotel and resort group has for example, created a roadmap towards sustainable tourism, which includes establishing benchmarks for potential reduction in the following areas:
Energy: around 20–30 % kWh
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions: around 20 % kg (per guest night)
Water: around 30 % litres (vary between resorts and hotels)
Waste to landfill: around 30 % litres (vary from country to country)
The EarthCheck Certification programme is widely regarded as the world’s most scientifically rigorous environmental management and certification program. Using EarthCheck systems and capacity programs, tourism organisations commit to benchmarking local environmental and social issues, including biodiversity conservation, environmental investment and enhanced community socio-economic benefits. Key environmental indicators are also measured and reported including areas such as energy, CO2 emissions, water consumption, and total waste production as well as community commitment.