Excellence, sustainability and responsibility is the essence of culture and values for Meliá Hotels International (Meliá).
Founded by Gabriel Escarrer, in Palma de Mallorca in 1956, Meliá is now one of the largest international hotel groups, employing more than 45,000 people and managing over 380 hotels in more than 40 countries across four continents.
Meliá promotes responsible tourism with innovation and technology as the drivers behind an efficient management system that is designed to reduce the use of natural resources and minimise social impact and environmental footprint.
The partnership between EarthCheck and Meliá began in 2001, and almost two decades later there are 82 properties in the EarthCheck Certified program.
“Tourism certification programs, such as EarthCheck Certified, play a key role in defining the components of sustainable tourism and in adopting the critical elements of management, which for us as a company offers us an important added value” says Tomás Franquet Elía, Director of Corporate Responsibility.
“Our main purpose is to integrate responsible tourism criteria into our hotel’s value chain whilst ensuring economic viability.
We want to lead the fight against climate change, contribute to preservation of the environment and landscape and foster a culture of sustainable tourism.”
The United Nations 2030 Agenda is one of Meliá’s key guiding principles that has helped to shape their strategic approach and align different initiatives with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To advance education and equality in host communities and improve environmental protection, Meliá have prioritised five SDGs they consider to be most relevant:
“There are other objectives that Meliá promote to engage more deeply as a strong and positive influence on society, but always linking back to the SDGs, given the interrelation between them.
We keep in mind that our customers have an increasing motivation, concern and sensitivity for aspects related to the environment. On our way to advancing sustainable tourism our clients play an essential role and, to make them participants, we involve them, and we involve them in the achievement of our objectives.
Our strength as a company, together with our contribution to the three main pillars of sustainability (economic, social and environmental), will also allow us to raise awareness and build capacity across the global markets we serve.”
Meliá’s approach to sustainability is supported by their corporate social responsibility strategy with projects designed to enhance employability and workplace integration of people at risk of exclusion. Providing economic opportunities for local communities is helping to reduce social differences with a focus on the most disadvantaged groups.
“We aim to contribute to and support the sustainable development of the communities in which we operate and the people that form part of those communities, leaving a legacy to be enjoyed by future generations.
There is a genuine commitment to the conservation of cultural heritage of the communities in which Meliá operate – integrating the cultural, culinary, and artistic characteristics of each location as well as respecting and protecting the historical heritage as if it were their own.
“We will also be a catalyst for local development, protecting the roots of society and encouraging our guests to be involved in the discovery and conservation of the rich cultural wealth in each destination.”
In a bid to meet two fundamental criteria – sustainability and excellence – Meliá has eliminated straws, coasters and bottles in their hotels and resorts.
In addition, Meliá has removed all single-use plastic bathroom amenity containers and replaced by eco-pump dispensers to reduce at least an estimated 45,000kg of plastic per year in bathroom amenities, avoiding more than 29,000kg of C02 emitted into the atmosphere.
We keep in mind that our customers have an increasing motivation, concern and sensitivity for aspects related to the environment. Achieving EarthCheck Certification has a trusted reputation that objectively shows our guests that our hotels are accountable and committed to year-on-year improvement.”
To reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, Meliá has connected charging points for electric vehicles, installed high performance condensing boilers and chillers with heat recovery and established R&D projects such as solar-powered streetlamps.
For Meliá, corporate responsibility is an essential element of a business strategy that allows the organisation to move towards a more responsible, sustainable and wealth-generating hotel model for society as well.
“By achieving EarthCheck Certification, each hotel has a positive impact within the business, not only from a reputation perspective but also operational efficiencies. We understand the contribution of value from a holistic perspective in its broadest sense.”
As Meliá embarked on a sustainable journey with EarthCheck, they introduced training to encourage strong commitment from all teams including:
The EarthCheck Certified program empowers each Meliá property to take ownership of its sustainability goals and build on local initiatives. The program recognises the benefits of an organisation working together to achieve sustainable outcomes and can be used to underpin a clear vision for the property, as well as focusing on sound policy and action plans to help achieve the vision.
EarthCheck assists the Meliá portfolio in addressing key global environmental, cultural, social, and economic (ECSE) concerns and deals with environmental regeneration and environmental improvement as well as the conservation of existing natural heritage assets.
The partnership also assists the group and its properties recognise culture as one aspect of place management as well as targeting important social concerns such as education, human rights, and the contribution of a tourism enterprise to building social capital and management of community services.
“More than future plans, we prefer to talk about consolidating progress. Corporate responsibility is an essential lever of our business strategy that allows us to move towards a more responsible and sustainable hotel model that also generates wealth for society.
Being recognised as a world leader in excellence, sustainability and responsibility is our ambition and part of our Vision 2020.
Our public commitments and the improvements we have been demonstrating year after year have led us to build a strong position in the hotel sector nationally and internationally.”
There are more than 476 million Indigenous Peoples, found in all regions of the world, from the Arctic to the tropical forests. They make up more than 6 per cent of our global population.
In the spirit of reconciliation, EarthCheck acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout the world and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Indigenous Peoples today.
EarthCheck acknowledges that Indigenous Peoples are guardians of the forests and biodiversity hotspots we all depend on. Research shows that lands managed by Indigenous Peoples, with secure rights, experience lower deforestation rates, store more carbon, hold more biodiversity, and benefit more people than other lands — including protected areas.
We recognise and support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration is a positive document that maps out a path for Indigenous Peoples to be free from discrimination and secure in their identities and life choices.
EarthCheck science and products were developed by the Australian Government Sustainable Tourism Co-operative Research Centre (STCRC) over ten years. Our science is reviewed annually to ensure that it meets international standards relative to greenhouse gas protocols, responsible tourism, and certification.
EarthCheck products and services are built on the Agenda 21 principles for Sustainable Development endorsed by 182 Heads of State at the United Nations Rio De Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 and aligned to the SDGs.
EarthCheck Certified provides a framework for organisations to achieve the desired outcomes for sustainable development as set out in the final report of the World Summit for Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002.
EarthCheck Certified complies with the Mohonk Agreement (2000), which outlines the guidelines and principles for an international sustainable tourism certification program. It is also a Recognised program of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
EarthCheck Certified is a verification standard accepted by CDP. It is also an approved program of the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA), London & Partners, the Mexican Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) and the City of Sydney.
EarthCheck Certified is an approved program for meeting the EU Energy Directive for the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle – BAFA) in Germany and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy) in the Netherlands.
EarthCheck partners with international research organisations to maintain the currency of EarthCheck science and our benchmarking systems.
The EarthCheck brand signifies scientific excellence, better environmental, economic, and social performance, improved community interactions, and savings through more efficient use of resources. It provides recognition and promotional support to a global consumer market.