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An industry summit on sustainable hospitality & FM

Diversey Inspiria 2023, held in Mumbai on July 14th, marked a significant milestone in the journey towards sustainable cleaning solutions. The event brought together industry leaders, innovators and customers to discuss the future of cleaning and sustainability in the hospitality and facilities management industries.

The event was a testimony to the industry’s commitment to driving sustainable outcomes and adapting to the post-pandemic world. Here is the glimpse of the discussions and the key takeaways from the day-long sessions

Sessions for hospitality

Karthik Iyengar, Business Director – Hospitality Sector, Diversey India laid out Diversey’s sustainable solutions in his inaugural keynote speech. As the company celebrates its centennial, it’s pushing the boundaries of what cleaning means, focusing on products that conserve resources and promote sustainability.

Iyengar introduced products like non-liquid-based cleaners, intelligent dosing systems and hyper-concentrate packaging. He emphasised that Diversey’s green-seal products, such as the low-temperature laundry system and Flush-me-not water-saving systems, are now being manufactured in India. Diversey’s customer shared value programs – Soap For Hope and Linens For Life – encapsulate their commitment to sustainable practices.

Jayant Roy, MD, Lindstrom India, shed light on sustainability during his keynote speech. He pointed out that Earth Overshoot Day falls a few days earlier each year, indicative of our unsustainable resource usage. Roy underscored the importance of circular economy principles in addressing these challenges and outlined Lindstrom’s efforts in adopting these principles, from designing garments for maximum use to recycling 100% textile waste by 2035.

In another keynote speech, Chef Paul Kinny, Director of Culinary, The St Regis Mumbai, discussed the innovative ways hotels have adopted to serve guests in the post-pandemic era, including mobile check-ins, digital room keys and increased cleaning measures.

A panel discussion on ‘Sustainability with Modern-Day Challenges’ was moderated by Bhuvanesh Khanna, CEO, BW Communities. The panelists, including Harkaran Singh Sethi, GM, Radisson Marol; Manish Dayya, GM, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, Ajoy Balakrishnan, GM, FF Marriott and N Nishant Kumar, Hotel Manager, Marriott Executive Apartment, discussed the importance of sustainability in the hospitality industry.

They shared their initiatives, such as reducing water and food waste, switching to LED lighting and implementing digital waste tracking. The panelists also emphasised on the need for sustainability to be a part of the industry’s culture and education.

Panelists for the discussion about ‘Operational Challenges Post-Pandemic’ – Yogesh Deshmukh, Director of Services, Westin Powai; Chef Jerson F, Culinary Director, Accor Group; Varsha Punjabi, Hygiene Manager, St Regis Mumbai, and Rinku Mondal, Regional Housekeeper, The Lalit Mumbai and Ajay Sharma, Cluster GM, ITC Fortune – discussed the challenges faced by the hospitality industry in the aftermath of the pandemic.

They highlighted issues such as manpower shortages, the need for operational efficiency and the changing preferences of guests. They also discussed the measures they have taken to overcome these challenges, such as installing waterless urinals.

The third panel – about ‘Sustainable business practices – integrating profitability and hygiene’ featured Paul Warren, WBC, Business Head, APAC, BP International; Tarak Bhatacharya, CEO, MOD; Dheeraj Gupta, MD, Jumbo King; Dr Sudhir Tamne, QA Head, Burger King and Sudha, QA Head, Papa Jones Pizza.

Sessions for FM

In his keynote address, Kiran Rao, Director – Building Care, Diversey India stressed the threefold importance of designing cleaning products that are user-friendly, economical and eco-friendly. Ashish Poddar, Executive Director, CBRE South Asia, delivered another keynote address on ‘Emerging Trends in the FM Industry’. He stressed the increasing significance of facilities management and its transformation from a merely operational role to a strategic one. Poddar pointed out how office design now mirrors and reinforces an organisation’s culture, serving as a tool to incorporate this culture among employees, especially in this age of hybrid work.

He also highlighted the rising demand for flexible, on-demand FM services and the importance of integrating sustainability into their core practices. He advocated for a shift in focus towards employee well-being and data-driven decision-making.

The discussion on ‘Inclusive Innovation’ featured Saji C Sebastian, COO, Quess IFMS); Taher Nalwala (COO, Al Jamia Tus Saifiyah University) and Nikhil Varma,General Manager, Reliance Corporate IT Park Limited), and was moderated by Kumud Bharti, Director, IFM Subject Matter Experts Team, JLL. The panel proposed a shift in the perception of roles within the industry to reflect their true value, such as referring to janitors as ‘health engineers’. They also advocated for developing scientific approaches like cleaning and hygiene indices to create clear benchmarks and standards in facility management.

The last panel on ‘Cost Plus vs SLA, Which way forward for FM industry?’ comprised Rahul Kamle (President – Operations, Crystal Group, Makrand Kulkarni, Country Head – IFM & Mall Services Reliance Retail Anand Jajoo, CFO & Board Director, OCS, Deepak Vazirani Director, Supply Chain, Warehouse & Logistics, Skechers, Aniket Seth, Vice President – Operations, SILA and Anoop Sharma, Senior VP, DTSS, and was moderated by Mohana M, Editor, Clean India Journal. The panel dissected the pros and cons of both the cost plus and outcome-based models in facility management.

Mohana M steered the panel’s discourse towards the need for an educated choice between the different service models. She underscored the confidence expressed by the panel in the promise of the outcome-based model to enhance efficiency and flexibility, and emphasised that the shift towards it has already begun.

“Key takeaways include recognising the specific needs of different customers, the crucial role of trust and clear communication, and the need for agreed-upon standards to measure subjective outcomes like cleaning effectively”, she concluded. “We must acknowledge the potential of the outcome-based model while highlighting the potential issues in the cost-plus model. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and an emerging ‘on-demand’ model in facility management are also of importance.”

Diversey Inspiria 2023 underscored the importance of resource conservation, innovative product design and operational resilience in a post-pandemic world. As we move forward, the insights from the event will guide the industry in its journey towards a more sustainable and efficient future.

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