Dear Reader, 

I find myself overwhelmed with the response to my first blog post. It is heart-warming to find the care and courtesy that we do our best to extend to others reciprocated with such affection. I've also encountered many old friends and acquaintances here. So, hello again, and a warm welcome! 

This year at ITC's Annual General Meeting, Our Chairman Mr. Y C Deveshwar reiterated his vision, "By embedding larger sustainability goals in its business strategies, ITC has consciously invested in the future. A promising future, by creating competitive and sustainable businesses of tomorrow that will continue to enhance long-term stakeholder value." 

And that's what I want to talk about today: the way in which we construe this concept of sustainability in our plan, in our services and in every little detail of what we do. I think the best example of this commitment is in how we take responsibility for the impact of our activities on the environment, no matter how big or small. Also, in this post, I'd like to talk about shouldering this responsibility, and making an effort to find a common rhythm between Man and Nature. 

Our newest hotel, ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru, to my mind, is the perfect example of finding this common rhythm between manmade and natural environments. The challenge was to see how luxury and responsibility could be in harmony together. True luxury cannot stand alone, it needs to embrace and harness the elements and at the same time give back to nature. We call this Responsible Luxury

Paying tribute to the City of Gardens, ITC Gardenia has been conceived as a hotel built inside a garden. Both the interior and exterior of the hotel reflect a truly Green sensibility, blending effortlessly with each other as architecture and landscaping become almost inseparable within and without. A veritable oasis at the heart of the Bengaluru's busy business district, the mood here is distinctly that of an unhurried past, a dynamic present and an exciting future. 

In fact, the "Forward to Green, Back to Nature" ethos of ITC Gardenia complements the use of Green technology while intelligently using natural aspects directly. The atrium lobby with its vertical hanging gardens, for instance, is illuminated by natural light during the day and cooled by the wind, taking advantage of Bengaluru’s gentle and affable climate all year-round. 

The hotel has been made more energy efficient, its water is expertly recycled, and it employs an elegant solid waste management plan to create almost no solid waste whatsoever. 

Also, we've introduced a unique feature – the practice of Green Banqueting. It not only promotes fair-trade practices, but also the 'locavore' approach to dining by building relationships with local farmers and cooking locally grown, in-season foods. Contrary to popular perception that this might limit the menu, it provides our chefs with a unique opportunity to express themselves creatively. 

In keeping with ITC Hotels tradition of culinary excellence, ITC Gardenia has elevated fine dining to an art form, offering our guests a wealth of experience and expertise with our renowned branded cuisines. 

During the planning and construction phase of ITC Gardenia, we often remarked on the significance of what we were trying to achieve: a warm and lavish hotel hosting the finest aspects of luxury, from material comforts to spiritual wellbeing, with one important addition – the responsibility it shoulders at every step in its commitment to the environment. 

And therein lies the key to our most remarkable achievement: in no way does our mindfulness towards the environment interfere with the integrity of our commitment to bringing you the most luxurious experience of hospitality. We call this being 'eco easy'. 

This is the thought that I'd like to leave with you today. To me, it is a thought about all of us, about each of our lives, and our future together on this planet. 

Thank you, dear reader, for your time and indulgence; for allowing me to express the warmth of ITC Hotels. As always, I look forward to your thoughts and comments. 

Nakul Anand