Whether you’re managing a small boutique hotel, a luxury resort, or a huge chain of properties, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to environmental sustainability. And who better to inspire you than some of the world’s leading hotel businesses?
So if you’re looking for clever and environmentally sustainable hotel management practices to adopt, keep reading!
At the heart of AccorHotels’ environmental responsibility lies Planet 21, a program aimed at creating a positive hospitality experience together with the hotel group’s employees, guests, partners, and local communities.
While easily overlooked, company-wide programs like these can be extremely powerful, since they help bring a geographically dispersed workforce together to rally around a common cause. This way, sustainability is shaped into a core value — and not just a lazy attempt to get positive publicity.
One of the keys to AccorHotel’s success in sustainable hotel management is a clear focus on a few critical topics at a time. For example, the hotel group has made a public commitment to reducing food waste by 30% by 2020. In the attempt to reach that goal, the hotel chain has even started to make marmalade out of leftover orange peels from breakfast. Additionally, they’ve banned the use of overfished species in their restaurants, built beehives to produce their own honey, and started using herbs and produce from their own kitchen gardens.
Another key objective AccorHotels has set for 2020 is to move towards carbon neutral buildings. Between now and 2020, 100% of the chain’s new or newly renovated hotels will be low-carbon buildings, thanks to solar panels and innovative technologies. Leading the way with this initiative is the company’s new Novotel London Blackfriars, which was accredited with the BREEAM “excellent” rating.
Similarly to AccorHotels’ Planet 21 initiative, Hyatt manages its global sustainability efforts through a program known as Hyatt Thrive. Focused on reducing energy, water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste, the company’s 2020 mission was set in 2014 to tackle the most pressing environmental issues the business can influence.
One of Hyatt’s most interesting waste reduction efforts has to do with the bar soaps that hotel chain uses in guest bathrooms. Instead of simply throwing used bars of soap away, the hotel group has partnered with a non-profit organization called Clean the World whose hotel recycling program helps put all that soap into good use in less developed countries.
But Hyatt’s partnerships don’t stop at soap. In addition to Clean the World, the group has also partnered with ITP (International Tourism Partnership) to battle climate change and promote water stewardship.
Furthermore, the hotel group is committed to not only making their own business sustainable but also helping the hospitality industry at large reach the same high standards. Through collaboration with ITP and other hotel chains, Hyatt has contributed to the development of the Hotel Carbon measurement Initiative (HCMI) and Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI).
Radisson Hotel Group
Radisson Blu, one of Radisson Hotel Group’s upscale hotel brands, is well-known for its efforts towards environmental sustainability — water stewardship in particular. In fact, since 2007, Radisson Blu EMEA reports to have reduced its water consumption by 30%. Additionally, through its partnership with Just a Drop, they’ve encouraged over 3 million towels to be reused, ultimately managing to provide clean drinking water to +17,500 children in Kenya, Peru, and India.
Similarly to Hyatt’s partnership with Clean the World, Radisson Blu has partnered up with its global cleaning supplier Sealed Air to create Soap for Hope, a program that allows local communities to reprocess leftover soap from the hotels, and that way protect children in developing areas from infectious diseases.
Radisson Blu also engages its corporate guests by offering carbon-free meetings. In other words, the business has committed to offsetting the carbon footprint associated with each meeting by participating in community projects facilitated by First Climate, ultimately making the meeting carbon-free for the customer.
However, perhaps the most unique thing Radisson Hotel Group does to promote energy and water conservation is the group’s annual Think Planet award, which recognizes the chain's individual hotel that has made the biggest difference in energy and water saving during the past year and rewards the whole team with sustainable prizes, such as bikes. By getting local teams to compete against one another and publicly celebrating the winners, the hotel group manages to put a fun twist in the serious business of sustainable hotel management.
As mentioned in a previous blog post, Marriott recently vowed to stop using plastic straws across the chain’s UK locations. However, that announcement was only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, the hotel chain prides itself on being the first major hotel business to measure their carbon footprint and commit to numeric goals for conserving water and energy. Much like the other hotel giants' initiatives, Marriott’s sustainability program also has a name: Serve 360.
For years now, Marriott has collaborated with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, donating them more than $2 million and raising them an additional $300,000 to help protect 1,4 million acres of rainforest in Brazil. By focusing their monetary contribution to one organization, the company is able to make a huge impact and help their customers associate the business with a clear cause.
But as you may have guessed, Marriott’s sustainability efforts go much further than monetary donations. In fact, by 2025 the hotel group has agreed to contribute 15 million associate volunteer hours, 25% of which will be skills-based.
Meliá Hotels International
Guided by its 10 commandments of sustainability, Meliá has incorporated sustainable values into the relationships with all its stakeholders. By applying responsible policies, processes, and agreements with its suppliers, the hotel chain is able to use its influence to raise the sustainability standards of the whole industry. Since 2011, Meliá has also been a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Furthermore, each of the hotel brands under the Meliá umbrella is guided by its own strategic, sustainable focus area. For example, Innside by Meliá promotes “green mobility” by offering charging stations for electric vehicles, while Tryp focuses on honoring the cultural heritage of each location.
Organized across three key pillars: opportunity, community, and responsibility, Whitbread’s sustainability program Force for Good is all about people. By giving their employees equal opportunities for success, contributing to the communities they serve, and committing to respecting the planet, the company has been able to dramatically reduce the impact it has on the environment.
Whitbread’s commitment to environment is visible in many ways. For instance, the group’s budget hotel chain Premier Inn recently tweeted that they now have more hotels with solar panels than any other hotel chain in the UK. In another tweet, MCS, the regulatory body responsible for sustainable fishing, announced Premier Inn as the world’s largest MSC certified hotel chain with a whooping 635 of its sites serving sustainable fish.
For more sustainability tips and expert advice check out:
- 10 sustainable tourism heroes to watch in 2018 and beyond
- How to make your hotel eco-friendly in 5 easy steps
- Top 10 environmental hotel management practices
- 5 low-cost sustainable hotel trends you should adopt immediately
Or if you haven't yet done so, download our research report, The State of Sustainable Hotel Management in Europe — completely free of charge!