Interview: Radisson Blu Cairo's green pioneer

Hotelier talks to executive assistant manager Emad Fouad

Emad Fouad, executive assistant manager, Radisson Blu Cairo.
Emad Fouad, executive assistant manager, Radisson Blu Cairo.

Emad Fouad, executive assistant manager at Radisson Blu Hotel Cairo Heliopolis, was responsible for the hotel earning the first Green Key certificate in Egypt by implementing strict environmentally-friendly practices

What is your career background?
I have a total of 28 years of experience in the hospitality industry, specifically in food and beverage, and have held a number of roles at various international hotel companies including Mövenpick, Concorde and Accor.

When did you join Radisson Blu Hotel Cairo Heliopolis and what are your responsibilities?
I joined Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis in 2010 as the executive assistant manager in charge of food and beverage.

Due to my previous experience in various hotels and expertise in implementing environmental programmes, I was then put in charge of the Green Key programme, which aims to recognise green hotels that have implemented or used environmentally friendly practices.

I have played a major role in assisting the flow of operations and ensuring the needs of all guests are met. I have motivated and trained several of my staff members and contributed to their career growth. Within the hotel, this reflects in the company’s annual employee survey, known as climate analysis, which showed a score of 99% for the year 2012.

You founded the green team at the hotel — why is sustainability an important issue for you?
Saving the environment is a personal focus nowadays before being a business focus; we have to look at our environment and try to save our natural resources as much as possible.

What green practices have you applied at the hotel?
Some implementations were made throughout the hotel, one of which was a new water saver in the hotel’s public area in order to decrease the water consumption in six months. Between December 2012 and May 2013, water consumption decreased by 13% compared to the same period last year.

Keeping in mind the periods of low occupancy, a new strategy was implemented where energy consumption is reduced. A light sensor was installed in the guest corridors in order to save energy and use energy in a more sustainable way, thus minimising inefficiency.

How do you motivate your team to follow green practices?
By training, education and community involvement — through educating and training my staff about green issues and conducting research and analysis on how to save the environment. I try to make them think outside of the box to bring more beneficial ideas for the programme and encourage staff to take a proactive approach to care for the environment in the workplace.

Green ambassadors share new environmental practices on our monthly internal newsletter. We encourage members of the Green Team to pass this information on and ensure that all new hires in their department are trained in environmental practices. At monthly meetings we create an environment for new ideas to be shared, encouraging the development of new green ambassadors.
This has greatly increased staff awareness regarding the environment, and as a result the green areas throughout the hotel have been in good shape for the last two years.

What are your biggest achievements in your role at Radisson?
The biggest achievement is that we were the first hotel to be awarded the Green Key certificate from Green Key International in Egypt. The Radisson Blu Hotel Cairo Heliopolis has become an environmental hotel with the policy and procedures for the Green Key programme implemented within one year. This is highlighted by our score during the onsite visit, when we achieved 88%.

My Best & Worst
- The best advice I have been given: Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.
- The best work policy I believe in: I have enough anger to last me 100 years. But I will channel that into my work.
- My best career move: Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis.
- My best hotel stay: Mövenpick Quseir.
- My worst hotel stay: I have never stayed in a bad hotel.

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