10 PM NETWORK DECEMBER 2015 WWW.PMI.ORG
With economic sanctions set to lift in 2016,
Iran wants to become an international tourist destination. And hoteliers are stepping up
with projects to meet a growing number of
visitors to the long-isolated country.
Iran cracked open its doors to international tourists in 2013, but sanctions still
made it difficult for tourists to use credit
cards. This year’s international agreement
between Iran and Western nations to limit
the country’s nuclear program and end the
sanctions will make life easier for travelers.
Some hotel companies have responded
quickly. France’s Accor became the first
Western company to manage a hotel in
Iran in decades when it opened two hotels
near Tehran’s airport in mid-October.
Rotana Hotel Management Corp., based
in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, plans
four hotels in Iran by 2018.
“Iran hasn’t built proper hotels for the
last four decades,” Ramin Rabii, group CEO
of investment firm Turquoise Partners, told
The Independent in September. “But tourism
is a huge opportunity, and almost all the big
hotel brands have made a visit recently.”
Efforts to expand tourism in Iran began
even before the deal was signed in July.
President Hassan Rouhani has eased
visa requirements for tourists, and his
government’s tourism department began
working with groups at home and abroad
to increase accommodations and access to
tourist attractions and promote Iran as a
The government is ambitious: It wants
to attract 20 million visitors a year by
2025. With just 5 million foreign tour-
ists arriving in 2014, hotel companies will
need to move into high gear to meet the
national goal. —Ben Schaefer
goods such as Kleenex, set a goal to procure 100 percent of its wood fiber from certified
sources. Achieved in 2014, the initiative involved creating an action plan with specific proj-
ects and key performance indicators to measure results, she says.
Projects included establishing an audit process to track where raw materials come from
and visiting all suppliers to educate them on the sustainability goals
and how that would impact sourcing requirements. “Setting clear
targets and working with your supply chain is the most important
part,” Ms. Cesareo says.
Getting Everyone on Board
Global construction firm Carillion has been another leader in projects to prevent supply chain deforestation.
“From a project management perspective, there are three things we
do to meet our sustainable timber sourcing goals,” says David Picton,
chief sustainability officer, Carillion, Oakley, England. First, the company established a sourcing policy for all projects that mandates all
timber meets standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC),
a not-for-profit that promotes responsible management of the world’s
forests. Then Carillion partnered with its key suppliers to educate them
about sustainable forestry and how to demonstrate FSC compliance.
Mr. Picton notes that it is not enough to communicate the policy to suppliers. “They need to
know why sustainable timber sourcing is important to our long-term success,” he says.
Finally, the organization added a review step to ensure every project is in compliance. “We
audit a number of things on every project, including safety, quality and now sourcing,” Mr.
Picton says. This process begins with the project specifications, which lay out the sustainable
sourcing requirements, and it includes regular checks of documentation for chain of custody
and FSC compliance. “This audit process is how we can be sure our expectations are being
met,” he says.
Beyond the Trees
While most of the corporate projects related to sustainable sourcing focus on supply chain
education and sourcing mandates, a few companies are investing in projects that actively
promote reforestation. Gourmet kitchen goods retailer Williams-Sonoma Inc., for example,
is partnering with suppliers in Indonesia to build a nursery to grow plantation wood for one
of its furniture lines. And technology giant Apple is supporting World Wildlife Fund’s work
with forest plantation companies on responsible practices.
“These are examples of how some companies are being innovative in their efforts to save
forests, in addition to changing internal practices,” Ms. Cesareo says.
For companies just beginning this journey, experts encourage them to reach out to groups
with technical expertise and their own peers for lessons learned on setting realistic commitments and implementing changes that can be measured and sustained. “A lot of organizations have already had a lot of success, and they have valuable lessons to share,” says Lael
Goodman, an analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C. As this
trend matures, it will become easier to find sustainable resources and to measure and report
the impact these changes have on the organization and the environment. “Even three years
ago, a lot of these goals seemed out of reach,” she says. “Now I think this movement has the
potential to be successful if organizations and companies follow through on their commitments.” —Sarah Fister Gale
has to be
and it has to
—Kerry Cesareo, World Wildlife
Fund, Washington, D.C., USA
in Tehran, Iran