Mindful spaces 

From curtailing food wastage to remodelling the layouts, here is how the hospitality industry is working towards sustainable practices during the pandemic
Mindful spaces 

BENGALURU: There’s no Planet B. This popular forward, often shared on social media, has brought to light the need for environmentally-friendly measures, especially with Covid-19 wrecking havoc across the globe. And in the last one-and-half-years of the pandemic, many individuals and organisations have taken measures to reduce the impact of harsh environment practices.

Gaurav Soneja, GM, 
ITC Gardenia Bengaluru

Take, for instance, Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru, which, post Covid, has adapted to the ways of the new normal. When it comes to food and beverages, a lean and minimal mise en place while cooking, pre-portioning of food in a la carte orders are some ways being taken to control wastage. “Moving forward, as buffet operations start, we are offering live stations rather than having food prepared and kept in chafing dishes to help curtail further wastage. In banquet operations, we encourage organisers to guarantee guests for events as close to the number as possible to avoid wastage,” says Fredrik Blomqvist, general manager, Four Seasons Hotel Bengaluru.

On similar lines, in the light of the pandemic, Grand Mercure Bengaluru at Gopalan Mall has taken another step in terms of sustainable produce by creating a terrace garden to harvest essential vegetables, hydroponics and more.  “We’ve always explored locally-sourced ingredients. The vegetables and ingredients are from our own organic gardens and handpicked estates and plantations across the state,” says Sachin Maheshwary, general manager of the property.

According to Blomqvist, they have become even more mindful in the leveraging of resources post Covid and it has been a learning phase. “Lights in the lobby and all outlets are specially programmed to produce different effects at different times of the day. We have incorporated flexible and controlled lighting options to create specific atmospheres. Apart from a few areas, LED fixtures are used to ensure energy conservation and to reduce carbon emission,” says Blomqvist, adding that they will be coming up with an on-site bottling plant, which aims to completely do away with single-use plastic water bottles. “Eliminating single-use bathroom amenities is a key priority by the end of 2022. A team with this purpose is specifically in place,” says Blomqvist.

At The Oberoi, Bengaluru, 96 per cent of wind energy is used as a source of electricity, cleaning agents used in laundry have been turned into environment-friendly products; and their three-acre green open space is treated with water at their own sewage treatment plant. “We realised much before the advent of the pandemic that safety, hygiene and responsible hospitality are the pillars of building a hotel brand. The transition and changes that we brought about post the Covid-19 onslaught involved only a few extra measures and tweaks,” says Visheshwar Raj Singh, vice president and general manager. 

As the world is continuing to learn to live with the pandemic, ITC Hotels has launched a ‘WeAssure’ initiative. With re-engineered experiences and a remodelled  layout to support safe distancing, the hotel has put in place sustainable practices. “Some of the recently-incorporated measures include hands-free elevator operations, Ecobillz - contactless payment, and We Assure information audio played on loop for all banqueting events as well as  at back of the house areas. Rooms are allotted only after stringent deep cleaning and sanitising the amenities,” says Gaurav Soneja, general manager, ITC Gardenia Bengaluru.

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