Last year, the hotel group's first CSR director was named to work in five key areas: the environment, employees and the community, health and safety, supply-chain management and stakeholder relations.
"The global trend is one of greater concern about environmental issues. This move of ours will help us stand among other leading organisations and boost our competitiveness," said Bhada Sinhaphalin, manager of the Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok.
He said CSR was a high priority for the group, so it was now formalising its CRS structure and engaging in a dialogue with stakeholders.
"CSR is no longer a soft addition to the business. It is an indispensable hard-business component that our customers expect from us," he said.
Last year, the group organised 17 CSR projects in local communities, including building a school library in Prachin Buri province, encouraging staff to quit smoking and providing aerobics sessions.
This year, more activities are planned, including a Training for Life project to help homeless children receive an education. The hotel will set up a pilot training centre in Uthai Thani province. In the area of environmental sustainability, the group is focusing on five areas: climate change, ozone depletion, water management, waste disposal and indoor air quality.
The Shangri-La Group was an industry leader in initiating environmental procedures even before its hotels received ISO 14001 Environmental Management System certification.
Bhada said the hotel was working on reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 6.7 kilograms per room night from 2006 figures. The hotel has three methods for doing this: through existing systems and processes, using new technologies and alternative-energy sources and building more efficient buildings.
"Twenty Shangri-La properties are now Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point certified, and the rest soon will be. Suppliers are expected to be part of the system, ensuring only safe, high-quality food is served. In the future, the group will expand supply-chain initiatives to other areas of procurement," said Bhada.
To deal with the present outbreak of type-A (H1N1) influenza, all hotels have implemented a comprehensive set of precautionary and control measures.
These include training employees about flu awareness and steps to prevent employees and guests from being exposed to the virus.