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Brief Published: 2 Apr 2013

Hospitality Brands Tackle Water Crisis


Hospitality brands across the globe have joined forces to address water scarcity through a new social enterprise. US-based Whole World Water encourages hotels to replace imported bottled water with glass reusable bottles containing water that has been filtered on-site or by a local company.

The enterprise donates 10% of proceeds to helping the 783 million people worldwide – nearly one in 10 – who do not have access to clean or fresh water. “We estimate that with scale, the hospitality and tourism industry can contribute $1bn per year or more to help eradicate this global issue,” said co-founder Karena Albers.

Global hospitality brands such as Soneva, Virgin Limited Edition, Virgin Hotels, Banyan Tree, Ritz-Carlton, Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and Dusit Hotels have joined the campaign, which is advised by Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and Soneva chief executive Sonu Shivdasani.

“Businesses can’t continue to be a problem [to the environment], the model has to change,” Shivdasani told Stylus. “Every industry needs to think of itself as a social enterprise. But social enterprise can’t be just an exception; it’s going to have to become a common denominator.”

W Hotels, a member of global hotel giant Starwood, is also tackling the water crisis through its partnership with non-profit organisation Charity: Water. Throughout 2013, US-based W Hotel properties will host the charity's interactive exhibition Waterwalk, inviting guests to carry two 40lb Jerry cans a short distance, in order to recognise the daily experience of many people in developing countries.

As we explored in Trends in Social Good, consumers have wised up to ‘goodwashing’ by brands and expect greater accountability and genuine commitment to social issues. Read more about hotel sustainability initiatives in In-Room and On-Trend: Hotel Amenities, Disconnected Destinations and Alila & The Art of Service.

Whole World Water

W Hotels

Charity: Water