Friday, September 17, 2010

Wyndham Hotels Green Program

Faith Taylor spoke last night about the Wyndham Hotels Green program. She is Worldwide Vice President for Sustainability and Innovation. Her warm and optimistic approach to converting the company to a holistic sustainability model was refreshing. She recently launched a global initiative to train Wyndham employees about the value of sustainability, she is actively undertaking the measurement of the corporation's green house gas emissions and setting reduction targets, and supporting the innovative ideas for building hotels around the world that are using fewer non-renewable resources.

I loved her story of introducing changes in the Wyndham supply chain, where her team worked with the uniform company that supplies hotel staff uniforms. This large supplier, was resistant to the idea of creating a uniform from recycled products, but ultimately styled a new front desk suit made from recycled PET bottles. They tested this "plastic suit" in a variety of locales, including Puerto Rico to make certain it was comfortable and breathable. The new uniform was a hit with staff across the world, and the company is now using this green product line for other hotels worldwide. Faith's idea of modifying the corporate supply chain and reducing environmental impacts using their hugely influential buying power, is right in line with research about the most effective approaches to improving the hospitality industry's ability to have positive impacts both economically and environmentally.

Faith lit up when she spoke of her own life decisions. She is clearly someone who is comfortable with innovation in business and has always been part of launching new product lines and brands. So her move to develop an innovative approach within the hospitality industry that is based on sustainability was natural for her. Asked by our students if she might move forward with her ideas in other corporate settings, she made it clear she is on a mission to see results from the groundwork she has laid at Wyndham and is looking forward to seeing the changes that take hold there over time.

She was extremely interested in the power of technology to facilitate change, and spoke quite passionately about using new technologies to track both corporate and individuals' carbon impacts. She understood that much of the world is still catching up on the idea of reducing environmental impacts. She was deeply supportive of the idea of working more in China and countries that will be the next leaders in corporate hotel development.

With 7000 hotels in the Wyndham family, from luxury to budget, she made it clear that globally firms like Wyndham can make a real difference in lowering carbon and environmental impacts.

I was impressed by Faith's "can do" fun-loving attitude toward her work, and I believe all of us were charmed by her willingness to constantly adapt and change to the latest challenges and make things happen.

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