In the occasion of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)’s Earth Hour #connect2earth campaign, HN spoke with Lotika Mehta, manager, media relations of WWF International to allow hospitality businesses discover the best ways to align with this global trend and adopt more nature-aware practices.
Mehta stressed the the aim of the #connect2earth campaign is to communicate the importance of preserving nature, not only to ensure the health of the planet but also our own wellbeing and livelihood. “We are losing nature at an alarming rate and need individuals, businesses and governments to take urgent action. For the hospitality industry, this means asking how hotels can meaningfully serve their purpose and responsibility and do all they can to ensure their environmental impact is as low as possible,” she told HN.
Here are five ideas hotels can use to #connect2earth in their journey towards sustainability:
- Embrace repurposing and recycling
Cutting down on hotel waste can have a huge impact on the environment. Reduce single-use amenities as much as possible- do not give out disposable toothbrushes unless requested and provide reusable cutlery. Instead of plastic-packed single portions (e.g. butter, jam, honey) why not use glass containers and dispensers instead? Show your guests you believe in recycling; set up recycling points in both private and public areas for plastic recyclables, organic waste and paper waste. According to the report: Hotel Kitchen: fighting food waste in hotels – it is estimated that 40 percent of all food waste happens in customer-facing businesses like restaurants, supermarkets and hotels. The Hotel Kitchen toolkit provides valuable solutions with three action points: prevent food waste, donate what cannot be prevented and divert the rest from landfills. Try composting your food waste, it can be used as a natural fertilizer for the hotel’s greenery and parks.
- Smart consumption of resources
Eco-friendly establishments take special care to reduce their consumption of resources. This includes setting science-based greenhouse gas emission targets so they can contribute to the reduction of the global temperature increase. Take a look at the targets set by others in the hospitality industry to help establish your own. Ways you can achieve your targets include measures such as; installing energy-saving technologies e.g. energy-efficient illumination like LED lamps, using motion sensors in hallways and staircases to conserve energy and setting the default air-conditioner temperature to around 78˚F/25˚C in public areas and rooms. As much as possible, try to use energy from 100 percent renewable sources (sun, wind, water). If you can’t produce it yourself, consider buying the energy you need from clean energy suppliers. Additionally, you can achieve your targets and reduce your carbon footprint by supporting local businesses for the purchase of groceries, toiletries, curtains and fabric.
- Making every drop count
Use WWF’s Water Risk Filter to assess water risk and improve value chain management. Install water-saving systems e.g. low water laundry machines for in-house laundry. Consider the collection and the reuse of rainwater for the irrigation of the gardens or for the flushing of the toilets. Built-in rain sensors in landscape areas can be programmed to turn off irrigation when a minimum level of rain is detected.
- Responsible sourcing
Consider the environment when sourcing products and services. Promote environmentally friendly businesses to guests such as local farm-to-table restaurants. Use eco-friendly packaging for soaps, detergents and bio-based cleaning products. Try and purchase recycled or partially recycled products e.g. linens, towels, toilet paper, paper towels and stationery.
- Education and promotion of a green lifestyle
It is crucial to remind your guests of your mission to #connect2earth. Your staff can share with your guests your measures for sustainability. You can also help them understand how you are reducing your carbon footprint through attractive signage. Encourage them to join you in your journey by reusing towels and bed linens. Remind them to switch off the light and air-conditioning when not in use and open the curtains instead of using lights during daytime. Furthermore, you can inspire them by participating in sustainability-driven activities and events like Earth Hour to motivate them to make eco-friendly choices. The #connect2earth campaign also provides lots of open-source marketing materials to help organizers to communicate the ‘nature matters’ message – find the free material on connect2earth.org
Restaurants are contributing too
Worldwide, restaurants will also rally together at 8:30 pm on Saturday the 28th of March to turn off their lights as a global tribute to our earth.
Restaurants have advertised the initiative on their websites offering reservations during the event, where customers can dine in a candle-lit atmosphere. Other restaurants have taken to social media to publicize their participation, using the hashtag #Connect2Earth.
The food and beverage industry in particular is a large energy consumer. In the U.K. for example, according to E.ON, the industry as a whole consumes more than 20 billion kWh annually, which costs more than £1.3b. It is also responsible for higher carbon emissions than Costa Rica — with a staggering eight trillion tonnes. In an attempt to keep the practice alive, well past earth hour, the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) has provided some ways in which businesses can continue their feat in energy consumption reduction – which could potentially lead not only to aiding in the fight against climate change – but also to an increase in sales and savings.
Here are some ways to get started:
- Get staff switched on: Employees need to be aware and on-board.
- Switch to LED: Lighting can account for up to 10 percent of a restaurant’s total energy use. Switching to LED lights from standard bulbs can help reduce energy use by as much as 75 percent.
- Look to induction: Cooking using induction stove tops can go up to 70 percent on saving running costs in comparison to conventional gas stoves, with boiling times 25 percent faster than gas.
- Stay cool: Refrigeration and cooling accounts for about 15 percent of a restaurant’s total energy use. Moving them to the coolest part of the kitchen will improve their efficiency, as well as bringing down the overall temperature in the kitchen.
- Turn on your customers too: Don’t forget to let your customers know about your schemes through taking part in initiatives such as the WWF Earth Hour on 28th of March.
Want to take part in Earth Hour? Here are some venues to look for who have
participated in the past:
Millennium Hotel & Convention Center
Anise – The Fairmont Dubai
Mall of Egypt
City Centre Beirut
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & SpaAdd to Favorites