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SAN FRANCISCO—Kimpton Restaurants, a collection of 45 chef-driven restaurants in the United States and Canada, and a recognized environmental pioneer, announces three new sustainable initiatives. As the latest addition to Kimpton’s EarthCare program, guests can enjoy in-house purified still and sparkling water, increased eco-friendly wine selections, and sustainable seafood dishes at restaurants in 21 cities. Thirty percent of wine lists will feature eco-friendly selections by January 2010, including organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines from small and large producers. Only sustainable seafood selections will be offered at restaurants, in accordance with Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program (currently in place). In-house purified water will be available through a national partnership with Natura by July 2009.
OAKLAND, CALIF.—Continuing a long-term commitment to sustainable and innovative business practices, Oakland-based Numi Organic Tea announced its latest initiative toward minimizing impact: a partnership with Big Tree Climate Fund on a twofold offsetting program, including the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets.
HIDDEN VALLEY, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA—The Solar Eco Cabins and Interpretive Centre at Hidden Valley Cabins are an inspiration for the tourist industry and the community to follow, Stephen Pahl, CEO of Ecotourism Australia, said recently. “Hidden Valley Cabins is Australia’s first fully carbon neutral resort and tour business, and they have recently achieved Advanced Ecotourism Certification,” he added. “The official opening of the Solar Eco Cabins on April 4 is the culmination of the McLennan family’s commitment to environmental improvement over more than 20 years and they have achieved a model that should inspire the rest of the tourist industry and anyone interested in ways to reduce their carbon footprint.”
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—NYLO Providence/Warwick has received Green Hospitality Certification from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM). In a ceremony before Rhode Island’s hospitality industry elite, the 163-room, urban loft hotel was honored for its outstanding conservation and recycling programs. NYLO Providence/Warwick is the state’s first hotel to run on 100 percent renewable energy. Through a partnership with People’s Power & Light, the property offsets its entire electricity usage with a mix of local and regional solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric power sources.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.—Valley Forge Fabrics has introduced its newest FRESH innovation, LIVING FRESH with Tencel+Plus. Tencel+Plus is the only Eucalyptus fiber engineered for hospitality. LIVING FRESH with Tencel+Plus includes a Eucalyptus fiber and cotton blend. Valley Forge quietly introduced LIVING FRESH to the largest hotel brands earlier this year.
ST. LOUIS, MO.—The board of directors of the International Association of Conference Centers introduced a rigorous Code of Sustainability at the 28th annual conference in March to encourage member properties around the globe to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices in nine areas: education and awareness, waste management, recycling, reuse, water conservation, purchasing, energy management, air quality, and food & beverage. According to Lois Berg, chair of IACC’s Sustainability Committee (director of administrative services at The Johnson Foundation, Inc.—at Wingspread Conference Center), the Code will “allow member properties to commit to sustain and support IACC’s Environmental Policy, adhere to at least 75 percent of the tenets of the Code, and join other member organizations that have signed the Code in a global, association-wide effort to strive for greater sustainability.”
BOULDER, COLO.—Sustainable Travel International (STI), a global nonprofit leader in providing market-tested sustainability solutions for the tourism industry, announces the launch of STEP 2.0—its new version of the Sustainable Tourism Eco-certification Program. STEP 2.0, according to STI, is the world’s first comprehensive, global sustainable tourism eco-certification program offered by a nonprofit organization.
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND—As part of its corporate development, which is geared towards sustainability, Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts decided to set up an integrated management system conforming to internationally recognized standards. It has now succeeded in reaching its first milestone. At a recent event, Hubert Rizzi, chief auditor at the Swiss Association for Quality and Management Systems (SQS), handed over the official ISO certificate for Swissôtel Management GmbH to Meinhard Huck, president of Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts. The certificate was granted for compliance with ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 14001 (environmental management) and OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety) standards.
LEXINGTON, KY.—The National Tour Association (NTA) announced that it will donate one dollar to the Arbor Day Foundation’s National Forest Replanting project for each delegate who registers for its Annual Convention on opening day. For every delegate who registers May 19 to attend the 2009 NTA Annual Convention, November 14 to 18, in Reno, Nevada, NTA will make a donation to help America’s national forests. The Arbor Day Foundation says that every dollar donated will result in one tree planted. As a result of last year’s contributions, NTA delegates helped to plant more than 600 trees.
NATIONAL REPORT—Alternatives to the traditional 100 percent cotton or cotton/polyester blend towels are becoming more common in the lodging industry—especially at luxury and boutique properties. In fact, many suppliers now offer organic cotton towels, organic cotton towels with a blend of bamboo fibers, or 100 percent bamboo towels. One can also find 100 percent cotton towels with super-fine, Extra-Long Staple (ELS) cotton. Each of these new towel styles are more environmentally friendly in their own way when compared to the towels the lodging industry has been using for so long.
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