Germán Morales Hotels chain: sustainability for responsible tourism

The Colombian hotelier focuses its mission on the commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Pilar Morales (Source: GMH)

The Germán Morales Hoteles (GMH) chain took sustainability as an opportunity to be more efficient in the use of resources, reduce costs and generate value for all its stakeholders, aligning itself with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). United.  

"Today, sustainability has become important as a criterion of choice in the hotel market, especially in the young market (Millenials), a generation that has shown greater concern for climate change", considers Pilar Morales, director of Sustainability of the GMH Chain. .  

In order to meet these expectations, the hotel business group has been transforming, going from classic standards to indicators that allow sustainable development without sacrificing the quality and comfort that characterizes the Organization.  

Sustainability is part of the company's mission as it is a cross-cutting issue in processes, in elements such as responsibility with the environment and with all stakeholders, because it goes hand in hand with its fundamental values, which are respect , honesty, responsibility, service and care for nature, the community, suppliers and employees.  

The Germán Morales Hoteles chain complies with the requirements of the NTS TS 002 standard for Tourism Sustainability and the 5133 Colombian Environmental Seal standard through the continuous improvement of the Sustainability Management System, which includes environmental and social programs.  

Environmental and social commitments  

The environmental programs are made up of a plan for the mitigation and reduction of the carbon footprint, the efficient management of water and energy, the program for the minimization and control of chemical products, the protection of biodiversity and the Default Cleaning program, in which the guest takes part in the decision of the frequency of cleaning of his room.  

At the social level, the organization is also committed to the prevention of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Boys, Girls and Adolescents (ESCNNA), the well-being, health and safety of personnel, the social and community support program, as well as diversity and inclusion (Friendly BIZ).  

The Chain established a water and energy management program that includes the use of LED light bulbs, timers and water-saving systems, awareness raising for guests and employees, analysis of the quality of water for human consumption, review and updating of water and energy consumption indicators, training and awareness of personnel regarding the efficient management of water and energy and a waste management program (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).  

The hotel organization establishes waste generation statistics (ordinary, organic, recyclable and dangerous), the proper final disposal of hazardous waste, a non-usable waste minimization program and the elimination of single-use plastics.  

The GMH Sustainability Director says that the biodiversity protection program is currently focused on mangroves, in a communication plan for guests and employees about the illegality of species trafficking and protection of endemic species.  

The Default Cleaning program (green guests) contemplates that the guest decides the frequency of cleaning the room during their stay.  

The Carbon Neutral (Emissions Compensation) program includes the measurement of the carbon footprint, the reduction of said footprint by changing the Solkaflam fire extinguishers to ABC, which do not generate emissions.  

The emission compensation program by planting trees with the Saving The Amazon Foundation's Business Forests project is complemented by the Sowing a Mangrove program, as well as a plan for the correct handling of chemical products and the use of cleaning implements and biodegradable disinfection.  

In the social sphere, the staff health, safety and well-being program is accompanied by one to support the indigenous community of Vaupés and Chocó within the framework of the Bosques Empresariales project.  

Likewise, support is provided to the community of children in Ciudad Bolívar, as well as to mothers who are heads of households in the Usaquén locality (Red de Mujeres), both in Bogotá.  

The CO2 emissions compensation program has allowed the reduction of more than 30% of the carbon footprint since the beginning of the management system in 2015. 945 trees have been planted in the indigenous communities of Santa Cruz, Mituseño Urania and Tayazú.  

The trees planted by the hotel organization fulfill the task of capturing carbon, thus contributing to reducing Greenhouse Gases -GHG, mitigating the effect of climate change, one of the SDGs.  

key figures  

The planting of 1,000 trees per year is projected to offset emissions during 2023.  

A mangrove absorbs 0.9 tons in its useful life (of C02).  

A Bogotá-Barranquilla plane ride is 0.4 tons of c02 (a mangrove absorbs a plane ride).  

230 and 250 mangroves planted per month and the projection of planting 1,000 mangroves every 4 months.  

The Default Cleaning program saves 1.5 kw/h50 liters of water, and for each day that the guest decides not to clean the room.  

From 80% to 90% of guests agree with the program, the average occupancy is 70%.  

The decrease in the consumption of water, electricity and gas is greater than 30% since the beginning of the Sustainability Management System.  

The decrease in the use of single-use plastic is greater than 95%.  

100% of the hotels are certified with the Colombian Environmental and Tourism Sustainability seal  

In the communities where the Organization's forest has been planted, of the total number of families that participated in the planting, 100% of them do not have any additional source of income.  

One of the SDGs, that of Gender Equality, shows that 53% of women and 47% of men are hired by GMH Hotels. In addition, in the management positions of the organization, 54% are women. On the other hand, 66% of the people who worked in the planting of the Business Forest were women.  

In compliance with the SDGs, The Code certification for the prevention of CSEC was achieved in 100% of the GMH hotels where no cases have been reported and there is also training for 100% of the staff in its prevention.  

Pilar Morales mentions that the staff satisfaction rate is greater than 86%, the sense of belonging greater than 95%, commitment greater than 95% and there is 100% compliance in the evaluation of minimum health and safety standards by the ARL and the Ministry of Labor.  

In addition, the accident rate is less than 1% and 100% compliance with the wellness and training program for staff, with a staff satisfaction rate greater than 86%, a sense of belonging and commitment greater than 95%.  

According to the director of Sustainability at GMH, the projections and goals for 2023 and 2024 are to achieve the Friendly BIZ certification, Carbon Neutrality, the circular economy program, the project for the use of renewable energies (Inclusion of SDG 7 in Energy non-polluting), include SDG 4 (Quality education) through the training, awareness and education program for the community and interest groups.  

Likewise, continue with tourism sustainability certifications and the Colombian Environmental Seal, continuity with The Code seal and the expansion of the scope of the Default Cleaning program in all the company's hotels.  

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