Green Insights

Take 5 | Q&A with Mr Christian Tavelli, General Manager of Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

How important are environmental sustainability and the green agenda to Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur?

Contributing to the communities in which we are operating whilst responsibly managing our environmental impacts and social commitments have always been the forefront of Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur where we highly prioritise corporate responsibility values in each and every decision across the Group. Sustainability implications are carefully considered – as such one of our guiding principles at Mandarin Oriental, is ‘Acting with responsibility’ for which we have established a Naturally Better programme to direct our efforts towards the wellbeing of the planet, of communities and of individuals.

What are some of Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur’s main initiatives in the green space?

In the last 2 years, we have eliminated all single-use plastic from our Hotel. A goal that we have proudly achieved on June 2021 with the support of all our departments and the understanding and appreciation of our guests. Apart from that, we have committed to only source and serve sustainable seafood with GSSI-recognized ecolabels whenever possible. This includes avoiding endangered species like sharks and bluefin tuna, and seafood from unsustainably managed fisheries.

This also applies to agricultural commodities, where the Hotel supports and sources local, seasonal and organic produce. For example, our coffee is purchased from Puro Fairtrade Coffee, cocoa sourced from native “Orang Asli” based in Sg Temuan, Pahang, tea purchased from Ronnefeldt, a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) and vanilla sourced from Eurovanille, a member of the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative.

In taking a step further towards our commitment, targeting food waste has always been the forefront of the Hotel. This has been implemented in Muhibbah Café (Staff Canteen Kitchen) and Mosaic Kitchen, where it saw encouraging reports of continuous reduction of at least 15% since early February 2020. We have been tracking our overall food waste for several years and are committed to ensuring 100% diversion away from landfills through an onsite digester. The Hotel is still embarking on a continuous journey to dive deeper into the composition of food waste for reduction purposes. Despite being an ambitious and a significant challenge in the beginning, we are now proud to be leaders in driving important changes in the industry. This is a step forward for the Hotel and marks our contribution to the world’s initiative for a sustainable future.

How is Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur implementing these initiatives and who is leading them?

A Sustainability Committee has been formed, which comprises 14 colleagues from various departments who actively engage with one another on a monthly basis. Specific roles are assigned to colleagues based on areas of focus to work towards environmental targets and community objectives. In many cases, advancing sustainability involves being innovative and doing our best in order to make a real impact as active members striving to make a difference.

What are the key aims and targets for Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur’s green initiatives and what are your timelines to achieve them?

As mentioned previously, our group initiative in the Naturally Better programme plays a big role in achieving our green initiatives. Launched in October 2020, the programme highlights our efforts with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – resulting in our commitment to the advancement of our sustainability priorities and reducing environmental impact. In the year 2021, we have launched a renewed strategy to enhance sustainability commitments that align with the UN SDGs and fit under our four pillars; and further drilling down areas of focus to specific commitments that colleagues are accountable for on a regular basis.

Why, in your opinion, is the Race to Zero Campaign instrumental for businesses?

It is clear that urgent global action is needed to safeguard our environment. Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur complies with environmental laws and regulations, setting goals and monitoring our progress towards energy, carbon, water and waste reduction, as well as responsible procurement. Currently, we utilise a dedicated online sustainability data management system to aid in data collection and monitor progress in real-time. Since 2019, we reported a significant reduction of approximately one-fifth of our environmental footprint intensities.

More than ever, it is crucial for businesses to consider their footprint as our natural resources are finite and urbanisation continues to spread. The world resources are put under increasing pressure with the growth of the population. Resource scarcity, coupled with climate change, will have a devastating environmental and socio-economic impact.