Sudima advocates sustainability with paper straws
Plastic pollution is a growing problem in New Zealand. Stray plastics when thrown away, never go away. Projections have shown that with current population trends and without intervention the annual amount of waste disposed to landfills will almost double within ten years in Auckland alone.
Sudima Hotels & Resorts believes that it has an influential role to play in advocating for better environmental outcomes within its industry and is advancing its sustainability journey by setting the goal of becoming single-use plastic free by 2020.
Sudima aims to establish industry benchmarks on single-use plastics by working with its suppliers to source alternative packaging options and reduce waste from items such as: bottled water by installing filters with hot, cold and sparkling water in all bar areas; and removing other items such as plastic stirrers, water cups and plastic wrapping.
In a first step towards its single-use plastic free 2020 goal, Sudima recently became the first group of hotels in New Zealand to discontinue using plastic straws – eliminating an estimated 52,000 straws each year from going to landfill, which is the equivalent of 38 times the height of Auckland’s Sky Tower. Sudima now offers paper straws for guests on request.
Vedika Jhunjhnuwala, recently appointed as Sudima Hotels & Resorts Environment and Social Advocate has grown up in the hospitality sector and is passionate about ensuring the industry puts people and the environment first in its business operations. “Imagine what our world would be like if we all chose to reduce or ban single-use plastics. At Sudima, we abide by the philosophy of leaving the world in a better position than we found it and aim to apply this to the operation of our hotels so it’s only natural that we set this goal for ourselves.
“Our journey is not just about Sudima. We are calling on the industry to collaborate with us and work together. We are keen to establish what the industry benchmark looks like for reducing or eliminating single-use plastics. It can be overwhelming when thinking about making a big change like this one, but by setting a target and making small changes every day, we hope to set an example so that other organisations will follow suit.”
Noel Jhinku, a trustee of Our Seas Our Future (OSOF), a registered New Zealand charity, recognises the commitment that Sudima is making to the environment and applauds the company for taking this first step. “It is encouraging to see businesses take a lead in addressing the environmental issues associated with single-use plastics. This level of corporate responsibility will go a long way in encouraging behaviour change away from the unnecessary use of single-use plastics.”
OSOF aims to protect New Zealand’s coastal and marine ecosystems through advocacy, education, and environmental stewardship, ensuring that they are managed sustainably and protected for future generations.
Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala, owner and CEO of Sudima Hotels & Resorts, says, “We are looking forward to putting these positive changes into action – we have a strong belief that success is shaped by ethical means and this is certainly another step towards being an even more sustainable group. It is not only good for our business but New Zealand as a whole. This is just one of the ways we are taking a strategic approach within our four core pillars of community, diversity, sustainability and of course our staff.”
This new goal follows Sudima’s existing sustainability initiatives including becoming the first hotel to be carboNZero certified in 2014. Sudima Auckland Airport alone, on average annually reduces its LPG use by 67%, natural gas use by 14% and reduced waste by 24%. From a carbon emissions standpoint, these savings are equivalent to driving from Auckland to Wellington in an average size car 447 times. Other environmental accolades include:
- Installing the first electric charging stations at a hotel in Christchurch in 2016. These are now also available at Sudima Auckland Airport;
- Achieving the Environmental Tourism Award 2017 at the New Zealand Tourism Awards.