Hotels must comply with sustainability requirements by July 1, says DST

Dubai - The requirements will improve and unify Dubai hotels’ environmental practices and enhance the competitiveness of the city’s tourism-linked economy.

Dubai strongly encourages hotels to comply with the 19 sustainability requirements. — Supplied photo
Dubai strongly encourages hotels to comply with the 19 sustainability requirements. — Supplied photo

Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Mon 17 May 2021, 3:20 PM

Last updated: Tue 18 May 2021, 8:59 PM

A directive from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) mandates that all hotels comply with the sustainability requirements for hotel establishments by July 1, 2021, as set by Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST), an initiative to further enhance Dubai’s position as one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations.

Yousuf Lootah, vice-chairman of Dubai Sustainable Tourism.
Yousuf Lootah, vice-chairman of Dubai Sustainable Tourism.

Under the directive, hotels must also resume monthly submission of carbon emission drivers. The system has the long-term objective of advancing sustainability performance across the sector. Back in 2019 Dubai Tourism led by DST trained 528 hotels on the implementation of these sustainability standards and currently inviting hotels for a refresher webinar ahead of July 2021.

Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the deadline was extended for an additional 12 month, a decision that Dubai Tourism took to strengthen the foundations for recovery of the hospitality sector. The progress on implementation of the mandatory standards will be tracked by hotels and audited by DST.

Yousuf Lootah, vice-chairman of Dubai Sustainable Tourism, said: “Over the past year, the strength of the city’s tourism industry is reflected in the safe and successful reopening of Dubai to domestic and international visitors. In alignment with the city’s wider carbon reduction strategy, we know that tourism can also be an area where Dubai truly sets the benchmark at a global level with forward-thinking sustainability and corporate social responsibility practices. We strongly encourage hotels to comply with the 19 Sustainability Requirements set by Dubai Tourism and provide carbon calculator submissions by July 1. We know that with the ongoing support of the relevant government bodies these hotel establishments can play a huge part in achieving the overall carbon emission reduction target over the next year and beyond.”

The 19 sustainability requirements include sustainable management approaches, performance metrics, energy, food and water management plans, guest education, employee training initiatives, the presence of sustainability committees within hotel establishments and corporate social responsibility programmes for local communities. Through improving internal sustainability operations, hotel establishments in turn will enhance the competitiveness of Dubai’s tourism-linked economy. These requirements support Dubai’s Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021 target to reduce the carbon emissions by 16 per cent by 2021, overall.

Narayanan Raghavan, CEO at Dr. Linen and Rent-A-Towel.
Narayanan Raghavan, CEO at Dr. Linen and Rent-A-Towel.

Since its inception in January 2017, the Carbon Calculator – part of the Tourism Dirham Platform, is a tool that has been measuring the carbon footprint within Dubai’s hospitality sector. On a monthly basis hotels submit their consumption of 11 carbon emission sources, including: electricity, district cooling, water, waste, fuel for transportation, fuel for generators, fire extinguishers, and liquefied petroleum gas for analysis. This information is aggregated and analysed to provide valuable industry insights on the sector’s collective carbon footprint. In addition, by formulating a baseline along with consistent tracking, this information enables hotels to understand their energy, water and waste consumption and further identify successful cost-saving opportunities.

DST will be hosting virtual information sessions for all hotels between May 23 – 27 on the sustainability requirements.

Wael Abu-Zaitoun, Digital Energy vice-president, Schneider Electric Gulf Countries.
Wael Abu-Zaitoun, Digital Energy vice-president, Schneider Electric Gulf Countries.

“Sustainability is the easiest decision any hotel owner or operator can take today,” said Wael Abu-Zaitoun, Digital Energy vice-president, Schneider Electric Gulf Countries. “Sustainability technology can increase energy efficiency, operational efficiency, and guest control, reducing operational costs whilst also improving the guest experience. Occupancy-based energy management ensures guest comfort, convenience, and control while saving energy. We’ve worked with a number of forward-looking global and regional operators in Dubai who’ve realised the importance of this issue. And we’re expecting demand for sustainability solutions will increase post July, following the introduction of these pioneering requirements.”

One aspect of sustainability that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, is water consumption. At 477 cubic meters per-day, the UAE has one of the highest per capita water consumption globally. This is even more problematic because energy-intensive desalination accounts for most of the country’s potable water, and 42 per cent of its total water consumption.

As one the most vibrant sectors in the UAE economy, the hospitality industry can play a crucial role, in reversing this unsustainable trend. The UAE’s Water Security Strategy 2036, sets an ambitious target of reducing total demand for water resources by 21 per cent.

Sanjeevv Bhatia, chief executive officer of Netix
Sanjeevv Bhatia, chief executive officer of Netix

The UAE’s hospitality industry can play a significant role in these efforts, by adopting innovative practices in linen management. Commercial laundry machines have a ‘water-footprint’ of as much 1400 gallons per load, so it’s easy to see why even a mid-sized hospitality venues are major consumers of water.

Dubai based company Rent-A-Towel, which has introduced a linen rental concept for the hospitality industry, recently announced the launch of its Dr. Linen range, which assures saving up to 30 per cent in water use, per article.

“Guests expect the highest standards of hygiene, in the new normal. At the same time, hotels are dealing with reduced operating budgets and ROI concerns,” says Narayanan Raghavan, CEO at Dr. Linen and Rent-A-Towel. “Our linen rental model allows hospitality businesses to reduce their linen management expenses, while enhancing operational sustainability, without compromising on customer comfort.”

The company recently entered in a partnership with Tencel of Lenzing, Austria, a global heavyweight in the fiber industry. Tencel branded lyocell fibers are cellulosic in origin, sourced from renewable wood, and offer many advantages when compared to traditional cotton based linen.

“Tencel fibers are unfavourable for microbial growth, because moisture evaporates quicker than in cotton linen,” says Avinash Mane, commercial head for Lenzing fibers in South Asia & Middle East. “In addition, the linen remains soft and pleasant to the skin despite multiple washes, consumes much less water per article, and is fully biodegradable, on disposal.”

Sanjeevv Bhatia, chief executive officer of Netix, said: "In hotels, decarbonisation presents a unique challenge, due to presence of multi-vendor systems and services, with each carrying a certain carbon footprint. A piecemeal approach could increase costs and undermine service quality, negatively impacting customer experience, which is paramount in hotels. This dilemma calls for data-driven, plug-and-play solutions that can integrate all systems through IoT, extract energy data, and provide valuable insights on efficiency and emissions. Many technology providers have, in fact, responded to this need with solutions that offer more than monitoring by adding AI analytics capabilities, to enable monitoring, action plan and controls.”


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