One of the Pacific Northwest’s most experienced sustainability leaders is helping to transform the Pan Pacific Seattle hotel into a model of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Molly Phillips, manager of CSR for the 160-room property located near downtown Seattle, has helped establish a program called PanEarth that includes not only a CSR vision for the hotel but also a committee that overseas four community pillars: Caring for Community, Caring for Our Planet, Caring for Challenges, and Caring Globally. PanEarth Committee Formed
Phillips, who has been at the Pan Pacific Seattle for about a year, at one time was manager, sustainable partnerships and senior sales manager for Kimpton Hotels Seattle. Phillips is one of the few people in the entire U.S. lodging industry with a full-time, property-level CSR position.
The hiring of Phillips reflects Pan Pacific Hotels Group’s commitment to expand its CSR initiatives. “PanEarth started here,” Phillips says. “It’s been copyrighted. We are looking into doing a regional program. The goal would be to have PanEarth be the global program. I am excited about its potential. It is a new direction for Pan Pacific.”
To help carry out the programs that are part of the four community pillars, a PanEarth Committee has been assembled that includes a team of leaders tasked with the following responsibilities: working with community partners to measure the hotel’s environmental impact, creating a communications strategy to convey the hotel’s CSR commitment to staff and the community, and overseeing every department’s attempts to be as green as possible.
“We try to encourage people to work on a pillar that they have a more personal connection with,” Phillips says.
Organizations benefiting from the Pan Pacific Seattle’s CSR activities include the Pike Place Senior Center, Seattle area Red Cross, Alley Cat Acres (an urban farming collective), Muscular Distrophy Assn., Angeline’s House (shelter for homeless women), and World Vision. Pan Pacific Seattle also donates about 100 pounds of partially used soap each month to Clean the World.
Numerous Green Initiatives
To reduce the property’s environmental impact, Pan Pacific Seattle owners have invested in the following: programmable digital thermostats, food waste composting, paperless check-in and check-out, green cleaning products, compact fluorescents, in-room recycling, aerators, dual-flush toilets, and a water filtration system (the hotel no longer offers bottled water).
“Green purchasing is definitely on our radar,” Phillips says. “We are getting ready to switch to biodegradable key cards. We just switched our dry cleaning company to one that uses nontoxic cleaning solutions.”
The Pan Pacific Seattle, which opened in 2006, is now registered for LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance. “We just went through the first step of analysis,” Phillips says.
The hotel’s CSR team is currently looking into offering guests the option of a carbon-neutral stay—through the purchase of renewable energy credits. Phillip’s staff is also looking into making the hotel’s green initiatives more prominent on the hotel’s website.
“Our website will be refreshed,” she says. “We will not be ‘in your face’ with our green messaging. We are a luxury product. We will be really careful about our messaging.”
This article first appeared on the Green Lodging News website. To sign up to receive the weekly Green Lodging News newsletter, go to www.greenlodgingnews.com. Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PanEarth Committee Formed
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