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September 23, 2019

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Luxury hotel books sustainable future

The Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai, an iconic riverfront hotel in Lujiazui is adding a “green” stamp to its well-founded luxury profile.

A three-tier ecologically sustainable events (ESE) package was officially launched in August aiming to raise the bar of eco-friendliness in catering and events.

Boasting 950 guestrooms across two towers, nine cutting-edge designer restaurants, bars and lounges as well as more than 8,000 square meters of indoor and outdoor banquet and meeting space, the flagship property of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in China, best known for its unparalleled location, deluxe hardware and authentic Asian hospitality since it opened its River Wing in 1998, is one of the city’s largest banquet operators, typically hosting over 1,000 events a year.

“We are the first hotel in Shanghai to do this at such a big scale,” Gregor Wateler, a German who took the helm of the hotel in August 2017, told Shanghai Daily.

“Being the hotel with one of the largest banquet operations in Shanghai, these eco-friendly event options will play a major role in reaching the ambitious sustainability goals of both the hotel and the group by contributing our part in preserving the planet’s natural beauty and resources.”

Designed to be the ideal catering service for responsible corporations who would like to impress their guests with an unforgettable eco-friendly experience, the ESE has three meeting packages catering for various occasions and budgets, a sustainable plus package, sustainable premium package and sustainable deluxe package.

The basic package is mainly about the elimination of disposable plastic items. A sustainable event dining kit, consisting of plastic-free water dispensers, bamboo cutlery, paper stirrers and straws, biodegradable coffee cups and takeaway boxes as well as reusable bamboo cups, will be provided throughout the event to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible.

With a focus on the use of sustainable, eco-sensitive products and the reduction of food waste, the hotel’s experienced culinary team will take guests on a culinary journey that has a spectacular variety of healthy dishes without using any chemical flavor enhancers. As for lunch options, the hotel offers MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified marine fish and sustainable bento boxes. Digital menu boards will be installed to reduce paper use. Meeting and event attendees will also be provided with progressive features such as recycled paper pencils, modern function room tables and water dispensers.

For more exclusive and upscale occasions, the premium and deluxe packages will create a more natural and creative ambience and provide meeting and event organizers with additional options that include health talks and yoga classes, personalized coffee mugs and room key cards, a fruit and vegetable juice station and organic tea and coffee breaks.

“Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is committed to operating in an economically, socially and environmentally responsible manner while balancing the interests of diverse stakeholders,” said the general manager, a 21-year veteran with the group. “At the hotel level, we are mainly looking at three big pictures: reduction of energy and carbon footprint, sustainability of food sources and waste recycling management.”

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has always strived to be a leader in corporate citizenship and sustainable development.

On its journey toward sustainable sourcing, continuous achievements have been made by the group over the years.

In January 2012, it announced a sustainable seafood policy which includes a commitment to cease serving shark fin at all its restaurants. In 2014, the Hong Kong-based hotel chain launched “Rooted in Nature,” a food and beverage initiative aimed at setting a global standard for culinary social responsibility to promote locally and ethically sourced ingredients. Most recently, in June 2018, Shangri-La announced it received full MSC seafood chain of custody certification for all its properties in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong.

In terms of waste recycling management, the hotel has provided disposable items such as toothbrushes and combs only on request, a requirement by the city’s tourism authorities since July, replaced plastic straws with paper and bamboo ones and introduced recycled materials to replace plastic materials for takeouts.

In order to further eliminate the use of plastic bottles, Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai is planning to invest 2 million yuan (US$282,070) in installing its own mineral water plant. When the project is complete, the hotel will be able to deliver self-produced mineral water into guestrooms.

“It is a big investment for us,” Wateler said. “But it is more about hotel positioning and an experience for customers.”

For the new ESE package, he said he hopes to see more companies change from normal meeting packages to the new ones which are sustainable for the environment.

“We’ve noticed very good demand in the market for sustainability,” he said.

“Sustainability at the hotel and sustainability in the events will remain our biggest target and we will continue to focus on creating changes to our MICE product.”


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