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HWMI Introduces A Yard Stick In The Water Stewardship Within Hotel Industry


HWMI brings hotel industry players together to reduce water consumption across the sector.

Dailycsr.com – 16 December 2016 – Brian Collet reports that there is a collaborative global move among the hotel industry in the pledge to reduce the consumption of water. Conservation alone is not enough. Therefore, the industry players are now turning towards a “calculation tool” which would allow hotels around the globe to be judged by the “same standards”.
ITP is an organisation based out of London which provides a platform to the hotel industry to collaborate and exchange ideas, whereby one of its independent members conducted an analysis of tourism-related water use in 21 countries” which revealed the water usage in the said industry to be on the heavy side, as “a typical hotel guest in the United Arab Emirates used 680 litres daily, compared with an average 300 for every individual in the local population”.
On the other hand, tourists visiting Fiji were recorded to use “8.5 times” more water on an average than local residents, while the respective figures for Sri Lanka is “8.3 times higher”; whereas for Indonesia, Thailand, India, China and the Philippines the figure wavered between “4.9” to seven times more than the local crowd.
Moreover, the said study also showed water was consumed more in hotels located in the developing countries while the ones in the “industrialised nations” appeared to be “comparatively water-efficient”. New Zealand, however, tops the efficiency list in this regard given its “substantial renewable fresh water resources”, while Egypt and India in spite of their scarcity of water “experience high use by tourists”.
The “compiler of the report” concludes that the “marked disparity” could be a mixture of “customary thrifty use by locals” along with “holidaymakers’ less disciplined use” as campaigners note that developers irresponsibly located hotels and accessed the “water tables” for satisfying the demands of the holidaymakers. As a result, the surrounding communities have seen their wells drying up.
Moreover, Brian Collet writes:
“A frightening prediction raised by the study is that by 2030 demand globally for fresh water will outstrip supply by 40%, and a third of the world’s population, probably 8.5 billion by then, will suffer severe water shortages”.
Given these statistics, ITP came up with the decision that on “ethical grounds” hotels needs to exhibit responsibility by playing their parts to reduce “water consumption” through “Hotel Water Measurement Initiative” which involves “18 global hotel groups” along with the “international business consultancy KPMG”.
HWMI assesses water consumption whereby allowing all the hotels to function under the same yard stick. As a result comparative data analysis will be possible to carry out. There are numerous ways suggested by ITP for saving water in “hotel rooms” like introducing “taps with low flow rates, showers with air-filled sprays, tap sensors and dual flush toilets”.
However, when it comes to managing linen, there needs to training sessions of the staff to prepare them to “reduce multiple toilet flushes during cleaning” besides teaching them to be economical when it comes to linen changing regimes. ITP also delves into grey water management, wherein “water from sinks, showers, baths and other sources” could be used in flushing, while rain water harvesting from “roofs and tennis courts” besides other available surfaces could also be advisable.
When it comes to cleaning laundries, ITP mentions about “absorbent polymer beads”, besides “granule washing systems for cleaning dishes”. Several hotel groups like Marriott, IHG and Starwood have already undergone the test of HWMI. In the words of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s Vice-President of Responsible Business, Inge Huijbrechts:
“HWMI is a big and important step for the industry, it is free and easy to implement, and it will help us achieve a shared baseline for our hotels around the world. 
 “Water scarcity is a pressing global issue, which we are trying to address with water stewardship actions. HWMI will allow us to measure our water use in the same way as other hotel companies and will generate common awareness about the water footprint in tourism and travel.” 
While, Corporate Responsibility’s Vice President at IHG, Paul Snyder, added:
“Water stewardship is a key environmental issue for IHG and for our industry, and HWMI will allow us to measure water use across the industry with a standardised approach.
“As more and more customers demand this level of transparency, this methodology gives a level playing field for the whole industry. It’s a challenge we’re excited to take on.”
Similarly, UN’s Global Compact’s Chief Executive Officer of Water Mandate, Jason Morrison, stated:
“HWMI represents a significant collaborative effort among companies that are normally competitors. ITP and its members have demonstrated leadership by consulting the opinions of industry stakeholders regarding the water-related issues hotels should be addressing. They’ve taken an important first step in developing a consistent approach to hotel water-use measurement, which can lead to sector benchmarking and start hotels on their water stewardship journey.”