How Westin Melbourne Hotel Trimmed its Footprint

Becoming sustainable is a three-pronged process. You must save money and push the buttons the government is pressing you to. But there?s a deeper, more urgent issue. If your customers mark you down for not being green enough you are heading for trouble. Let’s see how well this hotel is doing.

The Melbourne flagship of the Westin hotel chain boasts 262 spacious rooms with views of Melbourne Square and surrounding theatres, designer boutiques, galleries and national landmarks. The architects included conference facilities, a wellness centre and sundry bars and restaurants. After climate change arrived to stay, hotel management discovered they had inherited a water and energy-greedy monster. Their solution was to measure what was going through their systems, and then progressively cap the building?s greedy appetite.

The Melbourne Westin Hotel could not have achieved results without these metrics. They began by determining key indicators and measuring them. This provided them with criteria to set achievable, cost effective targets in the following key areas of their business:

  1. Water Management ? Demand-based linen and towel recycling, installation of back-washable water filters, water-saving shower heads, dual-flush toilets.
  2. Waste Management ? Conversion to green products, recycling kitchen oil, moving towards a paperless office, recycling everything possible.
  3. Energy Management ? Energy-efficient light bulbs, standby settings for lights, computers, televisions and air conditioners
  4. Stakeholder Communication ? Staff green-team training, guest education, ongoing employee briefings
  5. Strategic Positioning ? Visible, top-down commitment, optimised carbon offsets from clean, renewable energy sources, clearly stated position in the market

Westin?s Melbourne landmark has made good progress towards becoming the green hotel for others to follow. It has adjusted its environmental policies, increased water and energy awareness and implemented tight waste management.

Consumers are already shopping to make their carbon footsteps lighter. Food stores are on the bandwagon although apparel is lagging. Perhaps it’s time you found out just how your company is shaping up. It’s no longer a matter of ?if carbon taxes?. It’s a matter of ?when it does?.

ecoVaro is a software system-in-the-cloud that lets you enter your water and energy consumption and process it online so you can monitor and manage your usage. In no time at all you could be saving money like Westin Melbourne did. Does that sound like something worth investigating?

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 – IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 – UK

Check our similar posts

Can you do away with the Project Initiation Meeting?

Project initiation meetings are often skipped to fast-track projects. Once a sponsor is found, organisations go straight to project planning and execution. But based on our own experience, holding a project initiation meeting can actually eliminate many issues that may crop up in the future and hence may speed things up instead in the long run.

It is in the project initiation meeting where your project objectives and scope are clarified and all stakeholders are brought to the same page. Project sponsors and stakeholders will have to know in a nutshell what is needed from them, what the possible risks are, what different resources are required, and so on. So that, when it’s time to proceed to the next phase, everyone is already in-sync.

So what are taken up in such a meeting? Perhaps an actual example can help. Sometime in the past, we set out to work on an eCommerce website project. After conducting the project initiation meeting, these were some of the things we were able to accomplish:

  • Identified deliverables e.g. site design, interface to payment system, etc.
  • Come up with the project phases
  • Agreed what should be in and out of scope
  • Defined the acceptance test criteria
  • Identified possible risks
  • Identified the possible training and documentation work needed
  • Established whether any analysis was required, e.g. as with regards to payment interfaces
  • Formulated disaster recovery plans
  • Defined roles and responsibilities
  • Drafted timelines and due dates

Aren’t these covered in project planning? If the project is a big one, the answer is no. In a large project, project planning is a much more exhaustive activity. In a project initiation meeting, only the basic framework is defined.

Some questions may still remain unanswered after a project initiation meeting, but at least you already know what answers you need to look for. In the example we gave earlier, we left the meeting knowing that we needed:

  • a list of all necessary hardware to estimate the costs
  • to identify possible dependencies we might have with third parties
  • to identify what software had to be bought and what skills we needed to hire

When it was time to proceed to project planning, everyone involved already knew what direction we were taking. In effect, by not skipping the project initiation meeting, we were able to avoid many potential obstacles.

Spreadsheet Fraud

To any company executive or business owner, the mere possibility of fraud can be enough to send alarm bells ringing – for good reason. In a prolonged recession, the last thing investors would want to discover is a huge, gaping hole where supposedly a neat profit should have been. Also to find out that such loss was brought about by deliberately falsified accounting and poor spreadsheet controls only makes the situation even more regrettable.

Why?

Because these losses would not have occurred had there been a stronger risk management program in place and more stringent quality control on critical data to begin with.

But given the nature of a spreadsheet system i.e. its sheer flexibility and easy accessibility, plus the fact that they were never intended to be enterprise-level tools, there are no hard and fast rules for auditing spreadsheets. Also because of the lack of internal controls for end user computing (EUC) applications, in this case spreadsheets, you can’t expect these systems to yield consistently accurate results.

In fact, most managers assume that major spreadsheet errors should result in figures that are blatantly out of touch with how things stand in the real world, making these errors easily detectable.

Well they assumed wrong. You’ll find cases where the losses ran to millions of dollars without anyone being the wiser.

In instances of fraud, the problem becomes more complicated as these errors are deliberately hidden and cleverly disguised, perhaps one erroneous cell at a time. Even if these cover-ups started out with smaller figures that may have had negligible impact on a company?s operation, the cumulative costs of these ?insignificant? errors multiply exponentially as the spreadsheets are reused and utilised as bases for other related reports.

While there is no generally accepted definition of the term ?spreadsheet fraud?, its quite easy to identify one when a case crops up. Fraud arising from spreadsheets are typically characterised by:

Fallacious inputs – correct figures are deliberately replaced with false values.

Erroneous outputs owing to data alteration – hyperlinks are linking to the wrong spreadsheets or cells; use of macros or special lines of code which are understandable only to the person who developed the code.

Concealment of critical information – can be done with easy ?tweaks? such as hidden rows and columns, using the same colour for both the font and the background, or hard coding additional values into a cell.

There is nothing really highly-sophisticated or technical in any of these methodologies. But without internal spreadsheet controls in place, it would take a discerning eye and a thorough review to catch the inconsistencies contained in a spreadsheet fraught with errors. Also, if these errors are knowingly placed there, the chances of finding them are close to nil.

Learn more about our server application solutions and discover a better way to protect your company from spreadsheet fraud.

More Spreadsheet Blogs


Spreadsheet Risks in Banks


Top 10 Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets – obstacles to compliance in the Healthcare Industry


How Internal Auditors can win the War against Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Reporting – No Room in your company in an age of Business Intelligence


Still looking for a Way to Consolidate Excel Spreadsheets?


Disadvantages of Spreadsheets


Spreadsheet woes – ill equipped for an Agile Business Environment


Spreadsheet Fraud


Spreadsheet Woes – Limited features for easy adoption of a control framework


Spreadsheet woes – Burden in SOX Compliance and other Regulations


Spreadsheet Risk Issues


Server Application Solutions – Don’t let Spreadsheets hold your Business back


Why Spreadsheets can send the pillars of Solvency II crashing down

?

Advert-Book-UK

amazon.co.uk

?

Advert-Book-USA

amazon.com

IT Risk and Control Solutions Specialists – Why you need them more than ever

Over the years, the capabilities of IT systems have certainly grown by leaps and bounds. But so have the risks that accompany them. Countless threats to IT systems now exist that are capable of seriously disrupting business operations. That’s why companies have to conduct assessments aimed at making sure their systems are still capable of functioning effectively, efficiently, and securely all the time.

If you think you’ve been lucky enough to be spared from these threats, then maybe it’s because you haven’t conducted a risk assessment on your IT system recently. All too often, we hear of CIOs who believed their IT system was in tip-top condition, only to be later caught off-guard by a critical system breakdown that would eventually cripple their business for days or weeks.

More information assets to look after

If, before, you only had to worry about regular office applications, workstations, a LAN and a server, today’s varied and more sophisticated information assets are more challenging to maintain.

In addition to network operating systems, database management systems, content management systems, email systems, virtualization platforms, document management systems, business intelligence applications, and accounting software, a typical enterprise may also have to look after firewalls, intrusion detection systems, storage and backup systems, and data loss prevention systems, to mention a few.

These understandably require the services of experts spanning a wide range of skill sets.

Rising threats to corporate identity and privacy

Individuals are no longer just the ones being preyed upon by identity thieves. Businesses can now be subject to corporate identity theft as well. You could wake up one day finding your business already accused of carrying out illegal activities, a big chunk of your money gone, and your directors? seats already occupied by complete strangers.

To make things worse, corporate threats aren’t just coming from the outside.

Threats to corporate privacy, for instance, can come from within the organisation itself. Sensitive information like trade secrets and financial data are often leaked out (purposely or inadvertently) by employees. This is largely caused by the ever growing number of options for communications and transferring data (e.g. emails, instant messaging, blogs, social networking sites, ftp, P2P, etc.).

Greater challenges in designing, developing, and implementing policies and programs

Laws and regulations like SOX and Solvency II, which have direct impacts on IT, are on the rise. That is why corporate policies and programs now require sweeping changes. You now have to be more deliberate in integrating IT when establishing governance, internal controls, change management, incident management, and performance management.

A solid understanding on widely accepted frameworks and good practices like COBIT, COSO, and CMMI will help you considerably in such undertakings. Using these frameworks as guidelines will not only help you keep your policies and programs attuned to the times, they will also keep you in compliance with regulations.

Increasing demand for disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities

Every time you have a down time, you increase the probability of losing your customers to competitors. The longer the down time, the greater that probability becomes. Therefore, when a major disruption strikes, you should be able to recover at the soonest. If possible, you should be able to deliver products and services as usual.

This of course requires spending to increase your disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) capabilities. Are you ready for it? Migrating your IT infrastructure from traditional systems to the latest technologies that are better equipped for BC/DR requires careful planning and implementation to ensure an optimal return on investment.

Contact Us

  • (+353)(0)1-443-3807 – IRL
  • (+44)(0)20-7193-9751 – UK

Ready to work with Denizon?