It seems to be given that events are wasteful—so much so that mention of eco-friendly events inevitably elicit a raising of the eyebrow, followed by a cynical chuckle. Part of the cynicism comes from those who claim they’re hosting a green event but isn’t actually doing so-providing one vegetarian menu option but showering disposable plastic cutlery on event-goers is mere tokenism.
There are signs though, that the industry is on the cusp of change.
The 677-key Grand Hyatt Singapore is at the forefront of this movement.
Featuring 16 meeting rooms, including a 577 sqm ballroom, Grand Hyatt Singapore is blazing a trail in Asia' MICE industry with its eco-friendly event menus, thanks in no small part to Lucas Glanville, the hotel's director of culinary operations.
“As leaders in the hospitality industry it is important we contribute to the well-being of our planet, especially when there is sufficient scientific evidence that current practices of farming, production, procurement and consumption are depleting the world's resources quicker that they can be replaced," says Glanville, who was recently recognised by World Gourmet Summit with the Hospitality Star Award for his sustainability efforts in the food and beverage industry.
One simple but impactful way that the hotel is going green is by offering plant-based or vegetarian meals for all its events.
“We have provided this for the past nine years and feel it is important to provide options to our guests, says Glanville. “Often a guest is not vegan or vegetarian but would like to consume a plant based meal.”
To reduce its carbon footprint, the hotel sources 20% of its herbs from the hotel rooftop garden, and partners with the Weeds & More farm in the Cameron Highlands to grow its vegetables. 30% of vegetables the hotel consumes come from Weeds & More.
Glanville also says that he consumes as much of an ingredient as possible. A case in point is the humble broccoli.
“Usually only 10% of a broccoli-the head-is consumed. At Grand Hyatt Singapore, we use 95% of the plant, including the stalk and leaves in soups, stir fry’s and salads.”
Grand Hyatt Singapore was also the first Southeast Asian hotel to introduce four plant-based ingredients, Beyond Meat, Beyond Sausage, JUST Egg and Omnipork.
Beyond providing vegetarian and plant-based meals, the hotel supplies only sustainable seafood.
As for the worry that menus featuring organic vegetarian and sustainable seafood will drive up event costs?
Glanville assures, “as a hotel with 677 rooms, 16 event venues and 5 restaurants producing between 3000 to 5000 meals per day, we are fortunate to have the economies of scale and the variety of cuisines to ensure that we can serve higher quality food ingredients at the same value for our diners”
Behind the scenes, the hotel sends its food waste to a digester, where it is turned into fertiliser for the rooftop garden and other green areas. All left over food items are also repurposed and donated them to the needy in Singapore.
Naturally, a truly green hotel goes beyond what happens in the kitchen.
Grand Hyatt Singapore has designed their event spaces to be as environmentally sustainable possible. Natural light abounds, and event spaces are installed with hydro taps dispensing both hot and cold water to minimise the use of disposable water bottles. A Tri-generation plant powers 30% of the hotel’s electricity, and heat from the plant is in turn used to heat water in the laundry plant.