Meeting Sustainability Expectations Among All Stakeholders

Sustainability has become a clear expectation among stakeholders throughout the hospitality industry. From investors to management groups, from guests to employees, there are expectations that your luxury property be actively engaging in ongoing practices that protect the environment in which we all live, work, and travel.

Avendra knows the luxury hospitality market well and understands that an average approach simply won’t work. Guest expectations for a luxury stay are, well…luxurious. Is it possible for luxury and sustainability to co-exist? In a word: yes.

We’ve set our standards high and that means our clients’ sustainability plans are fully supported. From emissions to manufacturing to delivery to service, we track and certify the entire supply chain so they have full confidence in what they’re delivering to their guests.

Avendra partners with organizations like Supplier.io, and EcoVadis we can certify your purchases are thoughtful, sustainable, and meet your guests’ expectations of luxury. We work hard to ensure your brand is secure, regardless of the category, and or distribution methods. These partnerships allow our sourcing team to work with you wherever you are on your portfolio’s or individual property’s sustainability journey.

Finding certified, quantifiable ways to help our luxury clients meet their sustainability goals is top-of-mind for our team. Every client’s metrics are different, but certifications matter. We can use these programs to certify the sustainability of the entire supply chain, right down to emissions, and still meet unique sustainability metrics for our clients.

Avendra’s sourcing team, for example, can find 300-thread count linen, waffle weave robes, and 100% organic towels that are OEKO-TEX certified for environmental sustainability, safety, and socially responsible production, to reinforce our clients’ luxury status while still helping them meet their sustainability goals. Certifications matter as they can provide a clear picture that says “yes, these products are sustainably and responsibly made” or they aren’t.

We know in the luxury sector; we need to find items that are reflective of the brand experience. Bamboo, not paper, straws offer great sustainability and a high-end product. We’re seeing our clients move away from plastic water bottles to instead making a “gift” of a logo-embossed reusable (glass, plastic, or aluminum) water bottle that guests can refill at water-filling stations throughout the property; and take home with them to continue their sustainability journey beyond the hotel stay.

My team works closely with Avendra’s sustainability experts to guide clients in the luxury sector through the process of either starting or growing their sustainability programs. Hamzah Abu-Ragheb, Sustainable Sourcing Director for Aramark and Avendra Group, recently shared a method for aligning sustainability goals with guest expectations. 

“Whether you are looking to start or expand your sustainability program, here are four steps you can apply to either journey,” Hamzah said.

  1. Determine where you are in your journey. The key element here is simply that you are committed to sustainability. Whether you’ve got a well-established plan or you’re just getting started, honoring, and growing that commitment is where it all starts. At Avendra, we can work with you wherever you are on the journey. We’ll support you at the level you need and grow and expand with you.
  1. Start with a program base. A base program builds policies and processes to ensure a baseline of sustainability and responsibility expectations across all purchasing – regardless of category or supplies.

At Avendra, one of our baselines is a Supplier Code of Conduct we expect all our suppliers to adhere to. We ask them sustainability questions before we contract with them and require them to submit a sustainability policy.

Creating foundational practices like this is a great place to start building your hotel’s sustainability plan and helping the entire organization consistently strive to reach goals while ensuring guest expectations are met.

  1. Determine priority issues and categories of actual impact. Each hotel uses varied products and services, each carrying its own social and environmental risk and impact (think child labor in textiles, animal welfare in animal products, water usage, etc.). Avendra’s sourcing experts can help you assess the categories most relevant to your property’s supply chain and your specific needs. We know a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work.

We recommend performing a spend/usage assessment and matching it with sustainability impacts. Then layering on your business goals to create a complete picture of the impact of your sustainability efforts. Sustainability measures are not separate from business goals but rather work in tandem.

  1. Act, benchmark, and track steady progress. After establishing a base program for overall procurement and suppliers, and identifying your priority categories, Avendra can start looking at your data and working through a few key categories, building on them as your program progresses.

Never in history has it been more important to be responsive to the environment in which we all live, work, and travel. Ensuring your supply chain is clean and responsible is one way Avendra helps our clients manage Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 Emissions. Building value for your brand and responding to stakeholder demand are two keys to future-proofing your properties for the next generation.

About Annie Davidson

In her role as Account Director, Annie Davidson leverages her extensive experience in procurement operations and process improvement to serve Avendra’s luxury and lifestyle clients. With more than 20 years of proven experience in hotel operations, corporate procurement, multi-brand growth and supply chain strategy, Annie helps guide and assists her clients with strategic vision, growth, savings, and sustainability insights.