Asia's first CarbonNeutral® City Hotel, Colombo Courtyard, recently renewed its neutral status for a fourth consecutive year, leading the way in sustainability in Sri Lanka's Hospitality Industry. With a heavy emphasis on staying sustainable from its inception through an eco friendly design, the hotel was constructed and decorated using recycled and up-cycled material. However, the release of greenhouse gases is inevitable for any business, unless measures are taken to prevent or negate their impact. Colombo Courtyard, in its drive to protect the environment for our future generations, has focused on being Carbon Neutral.
This year, Colombo Courtyard reduced carbon emissions by 3% year-on-year and was commended by Nobel Laureate and Director of The Carbon Consulting Company (CCC), Prof. Mohan Munasinghe. The certificate was awarded to Colombo Courtyard MD, Arun Thapar by Prof. Munasinghe. He spoke highly of the efforts made by the hotel to remain green, while also addressing this stand in today's global crisis, thereby staying ahead of its competitors.
Their mitigation process started by reducing emissions internally through the use of low energy consumption utilities such as LED bulbs, inverter A/C's and switching to solar power. Other notable steps taken include the use of glass bottles throughout the hotel to reduce the use of plastic. GHG emissions released as a result of the hotel's operations were calculated by CCC, who conducts an annual audit to assess its carbon footprint and to identify relevant reduction solutions.
Carbon Consulting Company CEO, Sanith De S. Wijeyeratne said, "In the light of recent global developments to environmental policy, combined with severe climate shifts as displayed by recent bouts of drought and flash floods in the country, our actions over the next few years may well determine how our planet will alter if we don't take measures to lessen our impact on the earth. Changes in the weather conditions we experience in our day to day life are the direct impact of polluting environment and producing carbon gasses. It is great news and indeed encouraging that a leading hotel like Colombo Courtyard set an example by continuing their efforts to remain carbon neutral, a move that sets the benchmark for the hospitality and sustainable tourism industries towards making informed choices when it comes to enjoying their holiday or engaging in business activities."
To negate its emissions, the hotel purchased an equivalent amount of carbon credits through The Sustainable Future Group (SFG), the regional certification partner of Natural Capital Partners of the UK, the issuing body of the globally renowned CarbonNeutral® certification. The funds generated through the purchase of these credits are used to support renewable energy projects both locally and internationally. These projects usually employ staff from its surrounding location, and therefore helps benefit the population around it. The carbon credits bought this year will go towards the Ratnapura and Kandy Small Hydro Power Project.
"We are extremely happy that we have been able to reduce our carbon footprint yet again", said Thapar. "It has not been an easy task, as steps taken from our initiation were towards the reduction of emissions. To continuously lean an already lean initiative has been a challenge, and I'm proud that my team has been able to do just that", he added. When asked about how responsive guests have been to their mission, Thapar said it was positive, with seven out of ten guests contributing towards negating their emission. "We do our best to talk to our guests and inform them of our mission and how we hope to achieve it. They have been very encouraging. We would like to thank all of them for contributing to a green stay", he said.