On 31 May 2018, AKARYN Hotel Group (AHG) held a press conference to announce a partnership between Pure Blue Foundation, the group’s about-to-open akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok Hotel and The Lab fitness brand.
Established by Anchalika Kijkanakorn, Founder and Managing Director of AKARYN Hotel Group, Pure Blue Foundation is AHG’s charity organization that supports multi-faceted marine conservation projects including coral reef restoration and marine turtle conservation. The foundation has also made concerted efforts to engage with local communities, particularly schools, where the next generation can learn about the importance of protecting fragile marine eco-systems. Concerned about the thread of plastic waste into ocean, the charity now focuses his effort on eliminating single-use plastic at the origin. It supports AHG properties through the introduction of re-usable stainless steel water bottles.
“As part of our ongoing support for Pure Blue Foundation, all Aleenta and akyra hotels aim to become single-use plastic free hotels by 2020,” explained Ms. Kijkanakorn. “The akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok Hotel is taking the lead on this initiative by becoming the first new hotel in Asia to launch without single-use plastic in its rooms or food and beverage outlets. This will be soon followed by akyra Manor Chiang Mai, which is on track to be free of single-use plastic by August 2018,” she added.
Upon check-in, guests at akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok will be offered the possibility to donate to the foundation in order to get a stylish Pure Blue Foundation branded stainless steel water bottle that can be refilled throughout their stay. Self-service drinking water will be conveniently dispensed on every floor to make refills easy, and guests will be advised to take their bottles with them on excursions around the city.
“We are also encouraging our partners and suppliers to adopt a more environmentally sensitive approach to business, and our cooperation with The Lab is the first step in extending the zero plastic policy into the wider Bangkok community,” said Ms. Kijkanakorn.
Inspired by AKARYN Group’s determination, The Lab’s Founder and Managing Director, Richard Cohen, decided to become the first company to collaborate with Pure Blue Foundation’s plastic-free initiative. To mark the collaboration, he joined Ms. Kijkanakorn at akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok to sign a plastic-free declaration. Anchalika then presented 100 reusable stainless steel bottles to Richard who will introduce them as a new standard for members to use at his gyms, one of which is just a short walk from the hotel.
“For a decade, The Lab has pioneered the functional health and fitness movement in Thailand and we are proud to become the first single-use plastic free fitness centres in Bangkok,” says Cohen. “With our newly renovated and upgraded gyms in Phrom Phong and Silom, together with our 100% no single-use plastic policy, we will continue leading the industry by contributing to a fitter, healthier, eco-friendlier Bangkok.”
In addition to stainless steel water bottles, other eco-friendly features implemented at akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok include essential oil-based bathroom amenities presented in locally manufactured celadon ceramic containers, as well as toothbrushes and combs made from corn starch. Biodegradable garbage bags will be placed in the rooms and the plastic foil used for room amenities and in-room dining will be replaced by pinto boxes and glass jars.
“It takes a lot of additional effort in sourcing alternative products that are competitive in pricing,” explained Thomas Singenberger, Hotel Manager at akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok. “We try to source products that are plastic free, and we also try to convince suppliers to reduce single-use plastic in their delivery packaging.”
At group level, AHG tries to apply this concept in various areas, leading to opportunities such as supplying the properties’ retail shop with an innovative brand of swimming shorts, Riz. This brand from UK offers a more soulful, sartorial, and sustainable approach to men’s swimwear, with swimming shorts made from recycled plastic bottles, diverting further waste from entering the sea.
Pure Blue Foundation and AHG properties will definitely continue to invest on this critical cause of concern, looking for plastic-free oceans.
“Pure Blue Foundation and Akaryn Hotel Group properties will continue to invest in this critical cause of concern, ultimately aiming for plastic-free oceans,” confirmed Ms. Kijkanakorn.