In 2013, the Dream Hotels & Resorts team began implementing an effective ECO grading system across all of its 22 properties in South Africa and Mozambique, recognising that there’s an important need for the industry to drive sustainable travel. Today, all of its properties are between ‘eco proud’ and ‘eco excellent’ status (see above for the eco ratings).

“We started with this journey towards the end of 2013,” says Nick Dickson, Dream Hotels & Resorts (DHR) Director. “Recognising that our resorts are located in eco-sensitive areas, a strategic decision was made back then to ensure we keep our impact on the environment to a minimum.”

The Dream Hotels & Resorts team appointed Energy Resource Optimisers, who have extensive experience in the hospitality industry, to develop its Sustainable Environmental Management Programme (SEMP). The Programme is aligned to the ISO 50001 best-practice standard, Dickson explained. “In practical terms, the SEMP is based on a ‘PLAN – DO – CHECK – ACT’ model. Dickson said this was similar to many other business processes, making it ‘easy to understand and implement at unit level.’”

One of the benefits that was seen in using SEMP is that improvements flowed into other areas of operation. Anton Potgieter, Managing Member of ERO, says that “DHR’s SEMP programme has two pillars: a facility programme and an organisational programme. The facility programme deals with everything physical such as water heaters, lighting, laundry equipment, etc. with the aim to move to the most efficient equipment over time. The organisational programme, meanwhile, addresses the group’s policies, procedures and operations.”

“We have not adopted an ‘efficiency at all cost approach’. We sought to introduce efficiency as and when the opportunity arises,” he added.

SEMP has not only delivered excellent results as well as behavioural changes since its implementation, but it has also delivered cost savings for the group. “In the first two years, savings exceeded 10 percent,” they revealed. “All the resorts have energy baselines and are monitoring their consumption against occupancy on a monthly basis. Since most facilities utilise boreholes for water, we have installed water meters to get an understanding of the water consumption and costs.” The group has set a target of 200 litres per bed night sold by 2020.

Dream Hotels & Resorts is currently assessing the volume and type of waste it produces, aiming to reduce water to landfill by 30 percent by 2020. Six monthly assessments are carried out at each location to an innovative scorecard to monitor progress.

“There was a need to provide recognition for the properties’ efforts, and since the SEMP programme provides a score for the progress in each of the three priority areas – energy, water and waste – it was decided to give these scores a ‘face’, which is what we refer to as the ECO Statuses, which was developed and driven by the DHR team.”

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