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I PLEDGE TO PROTECT AND ENHANCE THE ENVIRONMENT
INCLUDING ALL ITS RESOURCES BY
ENCOURAGING AND IMPLEMENTING THE CONCEPTS
OF REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE.
I WILL MANAGE MY SHARE OF RESOURCES
WITH MAXIMUM EFFICIENY.
I PLEDGE TO FORM EDUCATED OPINION
AND TO MAKE RESPONSIBLE CHOICES.
I PLEDGE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.



All about Eco Commitment
A crochet plastic bag a day, saves the planet
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ECOTEL ® Certification Services


Concept Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. has entered into a MOU with HVS Eco Services (the certifying agency for environmentally sensitive hotels) to facilitate growth of Ecotels in Asia and particularly India. Ecotel is the `Hallmark of Environmentally Sensitive Hotels'. Concept Hospitality Pvt. Ltd operationalizes the certification and markets the brand. The ECOTEL® Collection is an exclusive group of international inns, hotels and resorts that define the concept of environmental responsibility in the hospitality industry. All Ecotel certified hotels must pass a detailed inspection and satisfy stringent criteria set by environmental experts.

The Collection began in 1994 when the New York Vista Hotel re-opened as the world's first Ecotel certified hotel after the bombing of the World Trade Center. Since then over 1100 hotels, resorts and inns have applied (but not qualified) for the certification. Currently, there are only 34 Ecotel hotels in the world, out of which only 3 are 5-star hotels with the 5-globe certification.

ECOTEL ® certified Hotels under the CHPL umbrella:

  • The Uppal, an ECOTEL Hotel, New Delhi
  • Cabbana Hotel, an ECOTEL Hotel, Phagwara, Punjab.
  • Rodas, an ECOTEL Hotel, Mumbai
  • The Fern, an ECOTEL Hotel, Jaipur
  • Meluha The Fern, an ECOTEL Hotel, Mumbai
  • The Fern Residency, an ECOTEL Hotel, Gurgaon

The 5 Globes 
The Ecotel Certification is based on five areas of environmentalism, each of which is designated by a Globe award. These five areas are referred to as the ‘cornerstones of environmental responsibility’ or simply as ‘Globes’. These Globes are:

Energy conservation
This requires the existence of a formalized framework to actually reduce the energy consumption of the hotel. For instance, whether the hotel has been designed and constructed keeping in mind maximum energy conservation. Factors like whether minimum lighting is being used, the extent of involvement of the guests as well as the employees etc. also make a difference to the final score.

Water conservation
Evaluates the effective conservation of water in all departments of the hotel, across all levels. The extent to which water is recycled and utilized is also considered an important factor. Again, all employees are expected to be well-versed with the water conservation operations of the hotel. Water is an increasingly scarce resource in most parts of the world and the United Nations estimates that more than half the world population could be living in severely water stressed areas by 2032.

Solid waste management
The hotel must effectively recycle and manage waste wherever generated. Proper systems for collection, recycling and disposal of these wastes in all departments of the hotel are a must for the Ecotel certification. Moreover, all employees of the hotel must undergo training in the basic solid waste management techniques.

Employee environmental education
Evaluates how involved the employees are in the efforts of the hotel to contribute towards the environment. The hotel should have training modules in place for employees at all levels to familiarize them with the eco-friendly initiatives of the hotel.

Environmental commitment
The hotel/ resort/ inn must demonstrate the existence of a formalized commitment towards the preservation and enhancement of the natural environment. It must, through all operations, activities and written statements, communicate its commitment to the environment. For e.g. the mission statement of the hotel/ resort must mention its environmental dedication. Additionally, every hotel should have a green team headed by a member of the top management ensuring that all departments are working in consonance with the hotel’s mission of environmental responsibility.

The Scoring 
The inspection for each globe involves three levels of criteria and scoring- Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Hotels applying for certification must satisfy the primary criterion before an inspection is scheduled. Once it is evident that all the primary criterion have been satisfied, inspections – unannounced as well as guided by the hotel staff - are conducted throughout the lodging facility to determine if the environmental programs that the hotel reports to have in place are actually part of the daily operations. Each department or function area of the hotel (i.e. main restaurant kitchen, banquet kitchen, kitchen, front desk and office area, executive office areas, etc.) is inspected and scored individually. A percentage score is calculated for the inspection of each department and each department must score above a certain level to be awarded the certification.  

If any department scores below that level, but above a minimum threshold, the tertiary criterion can boost that department's score so that the hotel becomes eligible for the certification. The tertiary criterion is simply described as a bonus system. The hotel receives bonus points for environmental programs discovered in operation that are not part of the primary criteria, and are considered to be above ordinary levels of environmental responsibility.  

An example of a program that would earn tertiary points would be the concept of the ‘green button’ in The Orchid, New Delhi. This button is a unique interactive approach that enables the guest to participate in energy conservation by increasing the temperature of his room by 2 degrees and thus conserving energy utilized for air-conditioning. Based on the hotel's score in each category, the lodging facility can be awarded from zero to five ‘Ecotel Globes’, corresponding to each of the five cornerstones. Hotels that are awarded one or more globes qualify as Ecotel certified hotels for a period of two years, but have to agree to re-inspections (announced and unannounced) at any time during that period.  

If the hotel falls short of achieving the certified status, the Hospitality Valuation Services (HVS) International inspection team prepares an action plan to help the management make the necessary changes and prepare for re-inspection.  

THE 5-GLOBE HOTELS IN THE WORLD
 
1. Miraval, Arizona (this was the first certified 5 globe Ecotel in the world. Its re-certification is pending) 
2. Hilton Tokyo Bay, Japan  
3. The Benjamin, USA  
4. Arco Iris, Costa Rica 
5. Lapo Rios,Costa Rica 

THE 5-STAR 5 GLOBE HOTELS IN THE WORLD 
1. Hilton Tokyo Bay, Japan  
2. The Benjamin, USA  

ECOTEL Membership benefits 
Members of the Ecotel collection realize a number of benefits. Primarily, the value of business improves due to increased exposure in the market place, higher staff morale and better control of operating expenses. The Ecotel collection of hotels caters to a variety of groups including traditional eco-tourists, discerning business travelers and Fortune 500 companies with advanced environmental programs as part of their own corporate cultures.

A crochet plastic bag a day, saves the planet
Posted by : "Sheetal - Karmayog" info@karmayog.org
Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:29 am (PST)

A crochet plastic bag a day, saves the planet....Ahana Chaudhuri
A Texas based eco warrior is teaching Mumbai's slum dwellers to make fashionable items out of the thin plastic bags that you discard after carrying fruits in them.

An idea can save the planet' -- this line may seem like any other hackneyed environmental slogan, until you chance upon an idea that compels you to think differently. Cristen Andrews' green initiative is one such example.

Hailing from Austin, Texas, this young woman popularises plastic bag crochet as an art form and livelihood skill. Andrews, a content writer by profession, has taught economically disadvantaged people from across India to make everything from drawstring backpacks, shopping bags and purses to top hats, rugs and drink holders, all striking in their designs and colour, out of discarded plastic bags.

"Finding unsoiled plastic bags, which can be used to create products fit for sale, however, is a major challenge," admits Andrews, who calls this her India Project. It all began when, during the India leg of a 2008-2009 world trip, she noticed the tremendous volume of plastic waste in the urban centres. "I also noticed the large volume of ragpickers and slum dwellers living off the small income they can generate by recycling trash.

They generally avoid picking up the thin plastic bags because they are lightweight and therefore have low resale value. And so these bags are a terrible problem in the country -- even in states where plastic bags are officially banned," explains Andrews.

That's when she decided to work with slum dwellers, teach them basic crochet stitches and show them how to create simple bag designs. "They could become skilled artisans capable of transforming waste material into fashionable products," she says.

Today, Andrews and her partner Miguel conduct workshops across the world to make people aware of the hazards inherent in disposing plastic bags carelessly. They have collaborated with a number of NGOs and ecologically conscious individuals. In India, they've conducted workshops at Mumbai, Jodhpur, Vrindavan, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Fatehpura, Umbergaon and Pune. Clearly, Andrews is passionate about the cause.

"During impromptu workshops in places like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Iceland, and Australia, I found many who were interested in my idea. I'd always envisioned turning my concept into a self sustaining project -- one that has a direct impact on cleaning up communities and improving the lives of underprivileged women and their families."

One of the people she tied up with during her stay in Mumbai was Monisha Narke, who runs a non-profit organisation called RUR that is actively engaged in spreading environmental awareness. "We organised three workshops -- one for RUR volunteers, one for a city school and another one for women tailors at our organic garments factory. People with elementary knowledge of crocheting learnt faster. But we need more intensive workshops for people to master the skill and pursue it on a long-term basis," feels Narke.

The duo also collaborated with advocate Vinod Shetty and organised a workshop at Dharavi. While applauding Andrews and Miguel's commitment, Shetty said, "Slum women have to struggle for basic necessities. Time spent on learning a craft is like a luxury for them. They cannot afford it everyday. But plastic bag crochet is definitely an option for women who are economically better off."

Andrews, who's presently back in Austin, is unsure of the next stage of the project. But she's hopeful that at least some of the groups she has worked with will give the project a worthy conclusion.

URL: http://www.mid-day.com/lifestyle/2012/jan/080112-A-crochet-plastic-bag-a-day-saves-the-planet.htm

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