Green hotels for IUCN Congress and beyond

The Green Hotels Initiative is spurring sustainability in the Hawaiʻi hotel industry. 

Diamond Head and Waikiki beach at night Photo: Shutterstock / sergiyn

IUCN and the Hawaiʻi Green Business Program (HGBP) are working to enable IUCN Congress delegates to make informed and ecologically responsible selections of their accommodation for the Congress. Through green hibiscus icons, delegates can see which hotels have taken measures to green their operational practices in advance of the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016.

Greening the operational practices of a business means taking measures to exceed regulatory requirements for energy conservation, waste reduction, pollution prevention, water conservation and natural resource preservation, among others.

IUCN provides a comprehensive set of sustainability guidelines and a sustainability rating system for the Hawai'i hotels that will be servicing IUCN Congress participants. The level of action taken by each hotel is summarised on the IUCN Congress Booking Platform; one Green Hibiscus indicates a basic level of sustainability and three Green Hibiscuses indicate excellence in sustainable practices. 

The objective of the Green Hotels Initiative is to certify that all hotels involved with the IUCN Congress are taking measures to become more ecologically sustainable. To date, 17 of the 24 participating hotels have been certified.

The Green Hotels Initiative aims to leverage the momentum around the IUCN Congress to spur sustainability initiatives in the Hawai’i hotel industry. IUCN is proud to play a role in sparking action with major potential for future positive impacts.

Independent of the IUCN Congress, HGBP has a green certification programme that rates the environmental performance of Hawai’i hotels and resorts. Past winners of the HGBP can give us insight into what kinds of sustainability initiatives we can expect from hotels certified by the joint IUCN-HGBP rating system (and demonstrate some of the bottom-line benefits of going green). These include:

The Hyatt Regency Waikīkī Beach Resort and Spa, which installed an aquaponics vegetable garden in the basin of an onsite decorative waterfall.  Disabling the waterfall function saves the hotel $50,000 per year in electricity costs. They also added low-flow water fixtures to all sinks and showers, installed water bottle filling stations to help reduce plastic waste, and started beekeeping onsite to help counteract nationwide bee loss. They now use honey from the onsite apiaries in the hotel’s restaurants.

Outrigger Reef Waikīkī Beach Resort, which installed ultra-low flow plumbing devices in all the guest rooms and public areas for water conservation, and diverted nearly 22,000 lbs of recyclables from landfills from 2012 to 2014. The Outrigger hotel also donated over $13,526 in Hi5 redemption reimbursements to Parents and Children Together (PACT), a community health programme.

Aqua Bamboo Waikīkī, which reduced electricity use by 24,428 kWh and lowered gas use by 660 thms from 2012 to 2013 by installing in-room keycard energy management systems and gas hot water heater monitoring and control systems. This saved the hotel roughly $22,000 that year.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort was one of the first hotels in Waikīkī to participate in the Hawaiʻi Green Business Program in 2000. Over the past year, the hotel has reduced energy consumption by 3,273,057 kWh by installing light motion sensors and energy efficient lighting throughout the entire hotel, and has reduced water consumption by 17,630,157 gallons by installing flow meters on irrigation lines and variable frequency drives on pool pumps to reduce speeds by 20-30%.  Hilton Hawaiian Village also recycles over 176,000 lbs of paper per year and produces fuel for diesel engines using oil from their kitchen fryers and animal food from food waste.

The Hawaiʻi Convention Center has also been certified by the HGBP. The convention centre maintains a ‘buy local’ food procurement policy whenever possible – only locally produced coffee is served at the 808 Coffees Café on the meeting room level – and offers disposable, biodegradable and compostable service ware. It has an active recycling and waste re-purposing programme and was one of 18 venues worldwide that diverted 75% of all waste from landfills in 2015. Electric vehicle charging stations are available in designated parking areas, and an array of innovative technologies help the centre to achieve greater degrees of water and energy efficiency. Read more about the Hawaiʻi Convention Center’s green initiatives here

Go to top