Memmo Hotels’ Managing Director speaks about sustainability (it’s just common sense)

Rodrigo Machaz has been in the hotel business for his entire life. With a background in business and hospitality management, Rodrigo was one of four people to found Memmo Hotels. He is currently partner and Managing Director of the group.

We sat down with Rodrigo to discuss Memmo’s approach to sustainability and their concept of “intelligent luxury”.

EarthCheck (EC): Sustainability means different things to different people. What does it mean to Memmo Hotels?

Rodrigo Machaz (RM): For Memmo Hotels, sustainability comes down to the way we engage our hotels with the local environment and community – staff, guests, stakeholders, suppliers and partners.

If you don’t address the issue of sustainability now, you will be left out. 

More customers are asking what hotels are doing in this regard. I believe that some in this industry will be seen as slow-moving elephants if they don't address things that are becoming common sense for an increasing number of people.

If you don’t address the issue of sustainability now, you will be left out. 

EC: In terms of how that approach is integrated across your business, what are the key sustainability initiatives for Memmo?

RM: The world is powered by fuels that will run out in two lifetimes. This is not our problem – it’s our opportunity! Our key initiatives were the development of an action plan regarding greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption, and solid waste management.

EC: What initiatives are you most proud of and why?  

RM: The beach and local harbor cleaning is a wonderful action that we develop every year. And it is very special to see local people, the staff and the guests getting so involved and wanting to help.

EC: How do you approach ethical sourcing and interactions with your supply chain?

RM: It is very important that all the supply cycle is involved in this process. The least we can do is to communicate in a regular basis with them our achievements and results and challenging them to get involved. Still, the cost of sustainable and certified products is superior when compared with others, so we need to find a good balance between them.

At the end of the day, they need to be part of our green team!

At the end of the day, [our suppliers] need to be part of our green team!

EC: Was it easy to go through the EarthCheck process?

RM: Yes. The online tool is very friendly and there is a lot of support and help on your side. The communication is very effective.

EC: How does Memmo approach guest engagement?  Will you make compromises for sustainability concerns?

RM: Nine out of ten consumers prefer to stay in a sustainable property. I could say that sustainability is the new luxury. If we want to stay at the cutting edge of our industry we need to take sustainability seriously and integrate it into everything we do. 

One thing we are starting to see is the recognition of community and neighbourhood experience, as well as hotel experience. We try as much as possible to integrate all of our guests with the hotels neighborhoods.

I could say that sustainability is the new luxury.

EC: Do you see guest engagement with destinations as a focus? 

RM: We must be sustainable to support and protect our planet but this is should not mean a loss of luxury to our guests. We try to promote the idea of “intelligent luxury” - that is offering guests space, privacy, comfort, together with fresh and delicious local food and wine, in areas of outstanding beauty. The new traveler wants to get connected with the real local scene. He wants to meet local people, feel the way they live, taste the local food and drinks… They want to be a part of the destination, so I think this is not a focus, this is the reality.

We promote the idea of “intelligent luxury” - that is offering guests space, privacy, comfort, together with fresh and delicious local food and wine, in areas of outstanding beauty.

EC: One last question, Rodrigo. How do you feel about the future? Do you feel hope for sustainability? 

RM: I am very optimistic! I believe the new generations are quite sensitive to sustainability issues and their actions reflect that concern. The increasing number of young volunteers that do work towards the environmental protection is a proof of that.

Would you like to find out more about how Memmo practices what they preach? Visit their website www.memmohotels.com

 

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