The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group reduces water consumption

As an international hotel investment and management group with deluxe and first-class hotels, resorts and residences, operating 29 hotels and eight residences in 19 countries and territories around the globe, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, realising that the availability of clean, accessible water is critical to the health and economic vitality of the communities where it operates, implements a series of water conservation strategies, including investing in water efficient technologies.

This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability Report by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has set a goal to reduce water intensity per guest night by 20% from 2007 levels, by 2020.  Tweet This! In order to reduce water consumption Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group took action to:

  • conduct water risk assessments
  • implement water conservation measures
  • recycle and reuse water

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group identified a range of material issues, such as guest health and safety, human rights and diversity, supply chain management, biodiversity, information protection. Among these, reducing water consumption stands out as a key material issue for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group engages with:  

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement (in 2016)


·      Guest Satisfaction Survey

·      Solicitation of Direct and Target Feedback to Inform Quality Programmes



·      Colleague Engagement Survey

·      Career Development Plans and Performance Reviews

·      Hotel Corporate Responsibility Committees

·      Safe, Sound and Sustainable Programme

Owners and developers


·      Close Partnerships and Regular Communications Throughout Design, Development, Construction and Management of Properties
Local communities ·      Participation in Local Stakeholder Groups Including:

– Hotel Associations

– Chambers of Commerce

– Business Development Councils

– Convention and Visitors’ Bureaus and Promotion      Organisations

– Travel and Tourism Associations

– Community Benefit Organisations

– Local Heritage Preservation Initiatives

– Training and Local Talent Retention Organisations

– Local Collectives for Recycling

– Employer Organisations and Professional Associations

Shareholders ·      Ongoing and Routine Discussions With the Controlling Shareholder Jardine Matheson Group on Financial Performance, Risk Management and other current issues

·      Financial and Sustainability Reporting

·      Shareholder Feedback Mechanisms

Vendors, suppliers and contractors ·      Supplier Meetings to Discuss Sustainable Sourcing Opportunities

·      Food and Beverage Conference

·      Partnerships with Local Farmers, Ranchers and Fisheries

Industry peers and trade associations ·      Participation in World Travel and Tourism Council’s Task Force on Industry Strategies for Climate Change

·      Participation in Industry Hotel Carbon and Water Measurement Initiatives

·      Monitoring and Evaluating Industry Corporate Responsibility Initiatives

NGOs and outside advisors ·      Interviews and Panel Discussion to Discuss Opportunities to Improve Corporate Responsibility Programmes and Reports

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group engaged with its stakeholders through a stakeholder panel, which integrated perspectives from various organisations such as Conservation International, the International Tourism Partnership, National Geographic Traveler, the United States Green Building Council and the World Wildlife Fund.

What actions were taken by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to reduce water consumption?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group reports that it took the following actions for reducing water consumption:

  • Conducting water risk assessments
  • Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group carried out a Group-wide water risk assessment, using the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct tool. Based on the properties’ location, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group considered its exposure, on a site-by-site basis, to a series of risks that included baseline water stress, flood occurrence and drought severity. The assessment reviewed the current condition, as well as a projection for 2020. The water risk assessment identified 13 properties in Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s existing portfolio and seven development projects that were located in high water stressed areas, and its key findings were used to identify and prioritise target water conservation actions and programmes. For example, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok ran a campaign to educate employees on water conservation during the 2016 drought in Central Thailand.
  • Implementing water conservation measures
  • To achieve the goal of a 20% reduction in water consumption per guest night from 2007 levels by 2020, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group implements best practices to conserve water, including the following:
    • Motion Sensors and Low Flow Fixtures: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group continues to retrofit motion sensor and low flow fixtures in its properties’ common areas, back-of-house areas and guestrooms. In 2016, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong installed new low flow toilets in their guestrooms.
    • Process Improvements and Water Efficient Technologies: From Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s buildings’ heating and cooling systems to its kitchen, laundry and gardening operations, the stimulation of process improvements that conserve water has helped to support the Group’s progress toward its 2020 goal. Each of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s hotels and residences are actively identifying and implementing water efficiency technologies and process improvements to conserve water. In 2016, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong introduced an alternative system for defrosting food, eliminating the traditional use of freshwater and Mandarin Oriental, Boston has begun to offer soakless pedicures to reduce water associated with spa services.
    • Behavioural Change Initiatives: Due to behavioural change initiatives, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has been able to support a culture of conservation. At Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, overnight cleaning water consumption is monitored daily and water saving opportunities are reviewed with the kitchen team on a monthly basis. In 2016, employees at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech began placing water conversation labels next to all back office water taps as a gentle reminder not to be wasteful when using water.
  • Recycling and reusing water
  • Central to Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s water conservation plan is to increase the amount of water that the Group is able to recycle and reuse, as well as using alternative methods to provide cooling to the chiller system whilst maintaining high system efficiency. This is best implemented at the design stage or in conjunction with major system or property renovations. Best practices are beginning to emerge across the Group and throughout its properties, such as the following:
    • Mandarin Oriental, Sanya uses recycled treated grey water for irrigation throughout the resort’s extensive gardens. At Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech, ground water is used for irrigating its landscaping and vegetable garden.
    • Mandarin Oriental, Milan is using groundwater for the chiller system rather than evaporative cooling towers. Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum engages in a similar process, using seawater instead.
    • Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong and The Excelsior, Hong Kong recycle water from the cooling towers for toilet flushing. Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo also uses recycled water for toilet flushing in part of the building.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 303-1 Water withdrawal by source

Disclosure 303-1 Water withdrawal by source corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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1) This case study is based on published information by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:




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