ITC Sonar: Resource Efficiency

2012 Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards Winner: Best in Resource Efficiency

ITC Sonar in Kolkata, India, has taken its commitment of ‘sustainable luxury’ to a whole other level and has enough green credentials under its belt to impress even the most difficult of customers.

The tireless efforts to make ITC Sonar energy, waste and water efficient is exceptional. It was the first hotel in the world to earn carbon credits under the carbon trading scheme. This beautiful 5* hotel is a leading light in renewable energy and resource efficiency.

Why Wild Asia loved this Winner

Our favourite concept!

Management SystemsITC Sonar has an effective environmental management system in place (EMS) following the ISO14001 standard. They also adhere to LEED and USGBC standards. If this is all jargon to you – these are internationally recognised management systems that ensure a business has exceptional environmental best practices in place. Most importantly, they are working. In five years, the hotel saved almost 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions through environmental measures. They also engage all staff when setting environmental related targets to ensure they are realistic and achievable.

  • Sustainable Purchasing – When submitting tender documents to new suppliers, they have now included an environmental section to ensure their supply chain is doing its bit for the environment too. They have delivered training workshops on green supply chain to their vendors/partners, too.  60% of total purchasing is done sustainably; this means it is from renewable materials, sourced within 500km distance or FSC paper/woods and reused items. They also use Green Seal certified detergents and soaps (environmentally labeled with ISO14020 and ISO14024) and soap nuts to green their cleaning
  • Saving WaterTechnologies such as using LEED accredited aerators are installed throughout to reduce water consumption. They recycle 100% of their water for e.g. toilet flushing. They’ve recently revamped and modified their reverse osmosis plant, which has resulted in more yield and less reject water
  • Waste Management – No waste goes to landfill, organic waste is composted and they have implemented a strict monitoring of food consumption vs demand to reduce waste
  • Reducing Energy Consumption – Measures to save energy have included: all lighting in public areas and guest rooms has now been replaced with LED lighting; low tonnage energy chillers used and variable frequency drivers installed to optimize energy consumption.
  • Educating Guests – Guests are educated about how they can contribute to resource efficiency during their stay by using information in the lobby, posters distributed (e.g. saving water) and ‘green hearts’ with messages of hotels measures are displayed in relevant guest areas. When checking in, guests are given information on energy saving measures, accompanied by electrical key card and in room digital thermostat
  • Sewage – They have been certified by government as a zero water discharge property. Their state of the art 400kl capacity SAFF (Submerged Aerated Fixed Film) plant is monitored monthly by a contractor. Water output is used for flushing, cooling tower, irrigation etc and semi-solid residue forms cakes used for manure in horticulture!
  • Sphere of Influence – Schools can arrange visits to hotel to learn about resource efficiency and the hotel also offers an outreach program (in past 3 years they have worked with 8 local schools, equating to around 250 children, from underprivileged areas). To date they have distributed 3,800 saplings to their associates which have been planted in the area

What did the Judges have to say?

“This hotel is a fantastic model for other, regular city/provincial hotels to relate to and follow”

“Engagement with standards, involving their staff, guests and deep into their supply chain is a real inspiration”

“Their commendable effort can translate to many more establishment becoming resource efficient”


Leave a Comment