Inge Huijbrechts, Global SVP Sustainability, Security and Corporate Communications for Radisson Hotel Group, has been with the business for 12 years, and has grown from an EMEA role to a global role.
Huijbrechts defines her career in two parts: one before a big sailing trip and one after. The former was dedicated to business development software and the latter part was dedicated to sustainability.
“While sailing, I was able to see the beauty of the planet, while also witnessing first-hand the devastating impact global warming is having on even the most remote locations,” Huijbrechts says. “After seeing plastic patches floating in the ocean, I decided to change my career to work in sustainability.”
Huijbrechts’s first major role was for Toyota Motor Europe, where she managed the sustainability team, which provided her with a great training opportunity.
“The Toyota Business practice was so well structured and powerful, that it provided the framework to communicate anything and everything,” she adds. “For this reason, I thought it was great, providing lots of valuable lessons. We also achieved great goals in terms of sustainability. For example, we had a social fund, which made a great impact.”
Now, having spent over a decade with RHG, Huijbrechts reflects on the business’s transformative sustainability journey. “I’ve witnessed RHG take sustainability to a whole new level, and any company that is serious about being around in the long run needs to ensure they’re accelerating their journey today,” Huijbrechts says. “To ensure we’re doing so, we’re talking about investments, reporting and sustainable buildings, to name just a few areas.”
Creating a lasting impact
In the first ten years of the programme, Huijbrechts led the reduction of RHG’s resource consumption, while also ensuring sustainability training was rolled out across the board.
To promote awareness, she also crafted Lumi, a friendly firefly mascot to engage with the business and with people to showcase RHG’s commitment to resource reduction.
As a result of the business’s pioneering work toward sustainability, RHG has become a leader in the hospitality sector, with customers and partners recognising them as an industry leader.
What’s more, through her work on the Hotel Sustainability Basics, the initiative has defined a select number of criteria that work for hotels everywhere. “This enables hotels in every continent to get on the same page in terms of sustainability,” Huijbrechts says.
“This way, companies can ensure they’re always getting better – there's no moment when you can say, ‘we are finished, we're perfect’. In terms of sustainability, there’s always room for improvement and for the sake of the planet and the people living on the planet, we all need to get better and work faster at achieving our net zero transformation.
“It’s important to believe that it’s possible and to have confidence that the business is moving in the right direction, which is really exciting. I also find working in the hotel sector to be particularly rewarding, as our work impacts people across the globe. I think that’s pretty amazing.”
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