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How to maintain a balance between luxury and sustainability

CITY of Dreams Manila Property President
Geoff Andres with locally sourced fresh produce from hydroponics farms.

THE CLOCK is ticking for City of Dreams’ plans to be a carbon-neutral and zero-waste resort by 2030.

The resort recently laid out its sustainability goals, namely: focusing on renewable energy, energy efficiency, zero waste initiatives, reduction in water consumption, recycling, digitalization of processes, sustainable gardening or organic urban farming, and support to local SMEs (small-medium enterprises). “[These will] enable us to help conserve natural resources and the environment for future generations; and provide opportunities for local communities to thrive and be part of inclusive socio-economic progress,” City of Dreams Manila Property President Geoff Andres said in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.

“We are faced with various social and environmental challenges and as an innovative integrated resort whose core values revolve on service for colleagues, guests, community, and the environment, we endeavored to be a force of good and make a contribution to the universal call to action to protect the planet,” he continued.

City of Dreams is known for its luxury properties, namely Nuwa Manila, The Nobu Hotel, and the Hyatt Regency Manila; along with its casino and the many luxury restaurants that dot the space.

GOING LOCALGoing green usually means reducing some measure of consumption, so how will the luxury property maintain a balance between luxury and sustainability? Mr. Andres said that their efforts enhance guest experiences with the installation of an onsite water filtration and bottling system, the elimination of single-use plastic, sourcing sustainable products through local supply chains, providing eco-friendly amenities, and infusing local produce and using sustainable packaging alternatives. According to a statement, up to 86% of its procurement consists of local products in support of local SMEs in the country.

For example, it partners with local coffee farmers through the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc.; procures rice that is 100% chemical-free and 100% traceable — from grain sourcing to planting and processing — from Alangalang, Leyte through its partnership with Chen Yi Agventures. Fresh vegetables and produce are grown in hydroponics come from Aba Pardes Agritech Corp.; and its seafood comes responsibly sourced from local fisheries and farms through sustainable seafood companies such as Meliomar and SeaTraceability, Inc. Recently, City of Dreams also switched to using cage-free eggs across all its restaurants.

“What we want to put out there is that it is possible to offer an elevated dining experience in a sustainable manner,” said Mr. Andres. “As our guests become more aware of our sustainability initiatives and socially responsible practices, it elevates their luxurious experience with us. They immerse [themselves] in sustainable luxury knowing that while they avail [themselves] of exceptional accommodation, dining, and entertainment, they minimize their impact on the environment and help in our conservation efforts.”

SUPPORTING EMPLOYEESCloser to home, The Forbes Travel Guide has given City of Dreams Manila the first Work Here, Work Happy award earlier this year. “This new award recognizes a property or brand that has implemented creative ways to attract and retain staff,” said The Forbes Travel Guide on its website. These are due to programs like the President’s Award, which annually recognizes and rewards the most outstanding colleagues; encouraging volunteerism in weekly CSR initiatives; working in partnership with Ugnayan, an employee-management council; offering 24/7 buffet and unlimited meals in a modern employee dining room; providing sleeping lounges and bathroom facilities, and providing free shuttle bus service at pick-up and drop-off points; and granting generous employee discounts in its hotels and restaurants.

In an e-mail, Mr. Andres said, “The unrelenting efforts of our Human Resources team drives the resort’s Employee Love initiatives, that create an environment that fosters colleagues’ professional growth and work-life balance.”

Attention to sustainability and creating a good working environment are relatively new concepts for businesses, in light of changing attitudes towards work and the planet. Why does City of Dreams find it important to highlight both? “We believe that championing both people and planet through our positive work culture and environment… help build a sustainable future.” — Joseph L. Garcia

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