Thailand’s Akaryn Hotel Group has laid out plans to be the country’s first plastic-free hotels by June this year. The group’s newest hotel, the akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok, was the first of its kind in Asia not to feature any single-use plastic materials in its rooms or F&B outlets when it opened last year; under the stewardship of a single-minded and sustainability-focused leader, the group intends to replicate this success across the board and throughout the brand in 2019.
Anchalika Kijkanakorn is the group’s founder and managing director, known for her staunch commitment to sustainability issues. This dedication to conservation has provided the blueprint for her group’s mission and led it to the forefront of sustainable operations in the industry. She founded the Pure Blue Foundation in 2006 and has also been recognised for her work in environmental protection and support for local communities, particularly school children. She was named in Forbes’ list of Asia’s Leading Philanthropists in 2015, and is leading Akaryn Hotel Group in their mission to be completely free of single-use plastics by 2020.
“Our eco-friendly approach began by sourcing glass bottles and containers, as part of a commitment to use no single-use plastic in our restaurants or bars,” says Kijkanakorn. “Our hotels are now extending the initiative by presenting guests with stylish stainless-steel water bottles upon arrival, which they can refill and use at any time during their stay,” she continued. According to Akaryn’s founder, the hotel industry is waking up to the wishes and priorities of its guests: “consumers are now actively seeking out responsible businesses that take care of our planet. We are proud to have been such a company since we first began operating some 16 years ago.”
In a recent interview with Forbes, Kijkanakorn stressed the importance of sustainability for the industry, but also the wider Thai society: “we need to take care of the beautiful environment we have come to make a living from,” she said. “Thai people – my people – must start thinking a bit longer term than the ‘high season’. All our properties within the Akaryn Hotel Group have pledged to be single-use plastic-free by 2020, and we are well on our way to meeting that goal.”
In addition to its ban on single-use plastics, the group’s commitment to sustainability extends to locally manufactured celadon pottery containers for bathroom amenities and essential oils, along with biodegradable bin bags in all rooms. For guests who intend to venture out shopping in the local area, reusable shopping bags are provided, so they can carry the hotel’s ethos with them beyond its borders and stay green.