Your insider’s guide to Hong Kong

The Sustainable Stay

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental provides a luxury experience with an environmental conscience

Words: Rachel Read and Kate Farr
Photos: Nic Gaunt


Green cred: as part of its commitment to sustainability, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental has switched from plastic to bamboo straws

At home it’s easy to reuse, reduce and recycle, but it’s more difficult to maintain the same standards when travelling. This is a challenge The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong embraces with open arms, thanks to sweeping measures designed to improve the hotel’s ecological footprint.

According to a recent report published by the United Nations Environmental Programme, tourism accounts for approximately five percent of CO2 emissions worldwide. Unless there is dramatic change, this figure could more than double in the next 20 years. As the world’s largest global service industry, tourism has plenty to contribute when it comes to environmental protection and promoting sustainability. For hoteliers, however, improving eco operations on such a vast scale can seem overwhelming.

Undeterred, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental’s General Manager Torsten van Dullemen is determined to implement lasting, measurable change within the hotel. “We need to take ownership and care about the environment, both as individuals at home and as an organisation with relatively more influence,” van Dullemen believes. “As the general manager of a five-star luxury hotel, I can provide positive input on decisions about how we run the business, and who we do business with.”

This can-do attitude has led to some exciting operational changes. “Before the end of this year, our hotel will no longer use plastic bottles. Instead, we will filter and serve our own water in glass bottles.”



From left: glass water bottles; used soap for recycling

This not only reduces the use of plastic, it also halts imports of bottled water from Europe to Hong Kong, dramatically diminishing the establishment’s carbon footprint. And there’s plenty more to come. “Next year, our kitchen will work towards becoming plastic-free, and we are also putting pressure on our business suppliers to work sustainably. For example, at the opening of the cocktail bar PDT in MO Bar later this year, we will use reconditioned and recyclable materials for all the finishings.”

Ray Chan, the hotel’s Director of Engineering and the man tasked with overseeing its corporate social responsibility goals, says the hotel implemented a Green Purchasing Policy in 2016. This covers all aspects of the hotel’s day-to-day operations, from plastic straws and sustainable seafood at Amber and MO Bar, to low-VOC paint and LED lighting in hotel rooms and suites, non-toxic bathroom amenities in recyclable containers, and even eco-friendly detergents for laundry.

Another area for change is The Landmark Mandarin Oriental’s luxurious spa. It has partnered with local brand Coconut Matter to stock its plant-based WonderBalm, which has 100 percent biodegradable packaging. Furthermore, HK$100 from every purchase of the soft, pink HOPE balm is donated to the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Cancer Fund.

The hotel also works with a number of other organisations to promote social and ecological awareness, including Clean the World, who assist with soap recycling. Chan explains, “We recycle various materials in the hotel, including soap, plastic, glass and metal. We also organise monthly sustainable activities, such as local charity initiatives and colleague well-being activities.”

Guests can also play their part in the drive to sustainability. Both Chan and van Dullemen believe small steps can make a big difference – like re-using in-room linen and towels, or taking advantage of Hong Kong’s efficient and convenient public transport system.

“At the same time, it’s the guest’s choice. We would never create an environment where guests don’t feel comfortable,” van Dullemen says. “If you explain your reasons well, I believe most guests will applaud them.”



From left: Coconut Matter’s plant-based WonderBalm; fluffy towels, which guests are encouraged to use more than once

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