There can be scepticism whether incremental and small-scale changes in personal lifestyle could contribute to lasting environmental impact, especially when compared to some industries' footprints. As a result people are now calling for leading companies in polluting industries to do their bit. Luckily, hotels are learning to redeem themselves by integrating sustainability into their business schemes for customer appeal as much as for planetary concerns.
1. Radisson Blu Hotel in Frankfurt
Inge Huijbrechts, vice-president of responsible business at the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, the parent company of Radisson Blu, has announced that his company is taking on a ‘pioneering project’ that will be the ‘first of its kind in Europe’. With nearly 500 rooms and suites, the hotel is looking to cut off its annual CO2 emissions by approximately 600 tonnes. The on-site technology driving the entirety of its project notably consists of using fuel cells that expect to provide the hotel with 3GWh of electricity and 2GWh of heat. With the project beginning officially this summer, there is much excitement over whether practice could truly meet theory and stifle the qualms about sustainable hospitality once and for all.
2. Fiji’s Eco Resort
While it may seem a natural choice for hotels located in natural or exotic locations to adopt sustainable strategies, it is surprising how many of them refuse to make that extra effort. Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is contrarily one that does not take its precious surroundings for granted. The hotel has won multiple accolades for its initiative in propagating sustainable tourism throughout the country. Not only are its rooms built from carefully selected resources, its kitchen serves only regionally cultivated and organic foods. In fact, the resort itself harbors a coral farm and a mangrove restoration site. Guests are also encouraged to take part in ‘green’ activities with tour guides, eco-experts, and on certain occasions, with esteemed scientists. Spearheading the mission of making hotels more sustainable, Jean-Michel Cousteau resort has furthermore instigated meaningful changes in the Labasa and Savusavu regions, where other eco-resorts like Koro Sun Resort and Palmlea Farms Eco Lodge are too using sustainability as a unique selling point, thus complementing entrepreneurship with staggering foresight.
3. Dubai’s Central Hotel
As hard as it may be to imagine Dubai as anything but laser-sharp, steel-glazed buildings, it is nevertheless now possible to accept these artificial edifices as hosts of environmental-friendly endeavors. First Central Hotel Suites has recently been awarded the Green Key Certification 2016-2017 for its outstanding sustainable scheme which successfully couples ‘guest comfort, personal service, and value’, with elevated environmental awareness. Wael El Behi, general manager of First Central Hotel Suites, notably explains the hotel’s current priority as ‘reducing its global carbon footprint’, adding that the Certificate is a great way to motivate others in the industry to do the same. It has been confirmed that the hotel has modified their lighting system, changing 5,000 light bulbs last year to LED lights, all in order to meet Green Key standards.
Hotel Astoria in Zagreb, Croatia
Croatia has for decades been closely involved in promoting sustainable tourism. In addition to its existing certificates ‘Prijateli prirode’, ‘Travelife’, and ‘BlaueAngel’, the Association of Employers in Croatian Hospitality introduced its widest category ‘Sustainable Hotel’ back in 2013, where the certificate could be awarded at three levels: ‘basic’, ‘advanced’, and ‘superior’. Hotel Astoria has been one of the few to have obtained this certificate for its commendable eco-strategies. Having also worked in the ‘Green Business Activities’ Project the same year, the company has effectively transformed itself into a green destination, proving that privately owned and managed hotels should not find themselves disadvantaged or intimated, but rather boosted by green credentials.
The newly opened hotel can be found at Pier 1 on Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York. Its wondrously urban location proves once again that sustainability can and should be operating at even the most unlikely places. 1 Hotel aspires first and foremost to become a platform for change. On its website, it explains that it hopes to ‘spark conversations, between innovators and guests that transform the industry and our lives’. Everything is thoughtfully designed. The outdoor spaces call to mind the sincerity of nature whereas the quality of the rooms is furthermore guaranteed by a natural mélange of materials and elements used, from hemp-blend Keetsa mattresses, eco-friendly cleaning products to triple-filtered water. There are also special days dedicated to conservation, such as one night every month where lights are dimmed down or substituted with candlelight.
And yet, despite efforts and immediate changes being effectuated across continents on a wider-scale, industrial sustainability may, according to many, still very much need the force and enthusiasm of conscious consumerism.
By Serene Chiang - Online Journalism Intern