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Case Study: Marriott International, Inc.

Marriott International, Inc. is one of the largest and most widely admired lodging companies in the world, serving customers at its 3,000 lodging properties in the United States as well as 66 other countries, with annual revenue in 2007 exceeding $12 billion.

Company: Marriott International, Inc.
Headquarters:Bethesda, MD
Industry: Lodging
Number of Locations: 3,000 lodging properties nationwide
Number of Employees: 123,203
Revenue: $12.99 billion

Marriott International Picture

Marriott International Picture

Marriott International Picture

Marriott International Picture

Marriott International Picture

Much of the respect that Marriott derives from customers, employees, and competitors goes far beyond its profitability and instead comes from the company’s commitment to running a company conscious of its ability to promote positive change in the world. As a result, environmental awareness has become very important for Marriott, and the company has implemented a multitude of initiatives on grand scale to improve sustainability and to reduce its environmental footprint.

The Problem:

While Marriott’s environmental push extends into many different areas, one way that the company saw immediate room for improvement was in the recycling universal waste items such as fluorescent lamps, ballasts, electronic waste, and the ever popular compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) used in every room. If disposed of improperly, mercury and other hazardous materials can leak out into the environment, causing immediate and long-term health hazards, pollution, and public relations nightmares. However, fixing this problem proved difficult considering the size of the company, number of facilities, and the diverse waste needs of each individual lodging location, as well as the limited time and manpower that each hotel possessed. Marriott needed a solution that could be standardized across all locations and quantified for management review and program success.

Our Solution:

The implementation of Endeavor, a suite of customized web-based services, was a big first step in helping Marriott meet its green goals. Endeavor is a company-wide solution, providing a centralized system with a uniform point of access for any employee at any hotel or lodging facility. However, this company-wide solution also allows for individual attention that meets the specific needs of each company location, giving each one only the environmental services that they really need. For example, if one branch has excess fluorescent lamps, Endeavor allows them to procure recycling containers or even their own lamp disposal equipment. Recycling containers purchased through Endeavor were set up with a recurring order, a feature allowing each Marriott location to eliminate wasted time and energy by picking what services they would like to receive and designating exactly how often they want to receive them. Instead of having to constantly call and order recycling containers or pickups, facility managers could count on the fact that services would be delivered monthly, quarterly, or even automatically after shipping out their waste.

The Outcome:

Comprehensive recycling reports ensure that Marriott can understand exactly what they are accomplishing with their green programs. These reports, another Endeavor feature, are available via the web and can be generated at any time. Recycling reports publish all materials recycled at each Marriott location, breaking data down by several multiple variables, such as specific waste type, amount processed, and date recycled. These reports are perfect for management review and give a unique environmental program overview. In addition, Marriott has found recycling reports invaluable for public relations purposes, as they provide easy-to-understand data that lets customers, business partners, and competitors know how committed Marriott is to environmental health and sustainability. Paul Hildreth, Project Director of Engineering at Marriott, notes the value of reports as being “significant for an organization our size, I don’t want certified reports faxed to each hotel. Other competitors wanted to do that. I said no thanks. That’s so 1970s.”

Complementing recycling reports are recycling certificates, a great way to have Marriott recycling efforts “officially” recognized and to insure that all waste disposal was done at the highest environmental standards. Like recycling reports, these certificates are available to view at any time through Endeavor and are great for management and marketing purposes, as well as a way to officially share recycling results with clients, management, and government regulators. Paul Hildreth agrees: “It’s a great solution for hotels in states where regulations are continuously evolving to meet environmental demands.”