Best Practices

Noot Nordik Kitchen leveling up the game against food waste

The restaurant Noot Nordik Kitchen in the Green Key awarded Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Gothenburg is taking the fight against food waste to another level.

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

Food waste is one of the biggest challenges in hospitality industry and more and more restaurants and hotels try to level up their initiatives to reduce the amount of unused products and leftovers. The most common strategies to minimise food waste is monitoring, diligent planning of the purchases and meals as well as optimising the storage of the products to extend their shelf life.

The Noot Nordik Kitchen, however, is putting an extra effort on reducing their waste that is produced in the kitchen. They use every last piece of a vegetable or a fruit, turning carrot tops into pesto, lemon peel into both a lemon peel syrup for cocktails, a candied lemon peel for desserts and cocktails or as freshly grated flavoring to a cake. Any tops, peels, pumped corners or cut offs go in to making broths for sauces.

They use fresh, locally grown raspberries to infuse an OP Andersson Aquavit (local to Gothenburg) for their cocktails, the berries left after the infusion gets dried and crushed into a powder we use do decorate cocktails and desserts.

Bread that has gone stale become croutons. Fresh herbs that’s looking a bit sad becomes herb butter. Any ingredients left over from their daily lunches gets new life in a salad, a soup, a stew or are served as a topping on a traditional Danish Smørrebrød. In addition, “ugly” and often discarded vegetables are purchased and given a new life in their perfectly composed dishes.

Sofia Roos, restaurant manager at Noot Nordik Kitchen:

"At Noot we love every crooked carrot, every single potato and all ugly peas. They are the soul of our food philosophy. All we want is to create delicious, tasty and climate-smart dishes without crossing it too much.”

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

.Noot Nordik Kitchen does not only fight against food waste but another cornerstone of the restaurant is to buy as local and sustainable as possible. The fish is local and sustainably caught, they always favour locally grown greens and fruits and they bake their own bread and knead their on pastry for cakes and desserts. They support brewers of all sizes across the Nordic countries so that their guests can enjoy a diverse range of real ales, IPAs, APAs, lagers and stouts. On top of that, they only serve Swedish, organic sodas, there is simply no Cola-Cola in their fridges, but a local and natural Cola Blanco from Dirty Fox Water Brewery in Norrköping.

On their mission to be a front-runner in sustainability, this summer they also joint forces with “Fredagspizza”, a food concept started through the initiative Swedish Food Challenge with the aim of spreading knowledge about and increasing the use of Swedish raw materials in everyday life. Fredags.se works with consciously selected raw materials and places great focus on what we can produce where we live, more specifically in Sweden and the Nordic countries.

On July 15-20 you can visit Noot Nordik Kitchen, where they offer four variants of Swedish pizza with different topping such as lard, fresh potatoes, meatballs and air-dried elk. There are plans for a continuation for this Autumn.

© Noot Nordik Kitchen

© Noot Nordik Kitchen





Apitherapy and relaxation in pure nature

Green Key awarded Želinc Tourist Farm from Slovenia is offering its guests a proximity to nature, locally produced food and healing through ‘apitherapy’

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Želinc Tourist Farm is situated at the confluence of the Cerknica and Idrijca rivers, with a vast plain stretching at a distance just perfect to get away from the city noise and embark on an outdoor adventure.

The first known written records of the farm date back to the end of the 14th century. The farm was passed from one generation to another. It was basically self-sufficient, while any surplus was sold to buy fabric and sugar in particular. During World Wars I and II, the farm remained intact thanks to its strategically important military location. In 1995, the farm was renovated and a new building was built to provide for tourist activity. The tourist offer has expanded over the years, therewith changing and further complementing the image of the farm.

Urša, the present owner of the farm, states:

With the new generation of farm owners, the real estate expanded in terms of farming and tourism, and became even more connected with nature and environment. On our farm we produce fruit and vegetables without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and a large part of the food that our guests receive on our plates are produced with our hands. What we do not have, we buy mostly from neighboring farms or local shops. We care for our surrounding nature, and we regularly maintain it to keep the balance and give us the necessary raw materials for heating the house with wood. As we have our own source of water, we encourage our guests not to buy bottled water but to drink our water from the tap.

The farm has a special walking path around the property with beautiful views on surrounding hilltops, and the farm also offers a possibility for healing with beehive air and other bee products such as honey, pollen and honey liquer, called 'apitherapy'.

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Guests of the Želinc tourist farm can be accommodated in 14 different spacious rooms that fully meet the requirements of the Green Key programme.  

Urša concludes:

Because we are lucky enough to be able to live in a nature with clean air, beautiful green surroundings, and because we respect and care about our nature, we decided to acquire the Green Key eco-label, and thus demonstrate to ourselves, our guests and others that we are on the right track.

 For more information about Želinc tourist farm, please visit https://www.zelinc.com.

Weathering the storm with renewable energy

When the Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, the bed-and-breakfast Casa Sol with its solar panels on the roof became a centre of support for the whole neighbourhood.

© Marie Fazio: Ramirez with his solar panels on the roof of Casa Sol.

© Marie Fazio: Ramirez with his solar panels on the roof of Casa Sol.

Eddie Ramirez hasn’t forgotten the reaction when he installed solar panels on the roof of Casa Sol, his butterscotch-coloured bed-and-breakfast nestled on a cobblestone street just two blocks from Castillo San Cristóbal, the largest Spanish fort in the New World.

While Ramirez planned, his neighbours laughed.

“People said, ‘Why are you spending all this money, do you really need it?’” recounted Ramirez, who’s 56 years old and has owned Casa Sol for six years. But thanks to those solar panels, Casa Sol regained power just about 24 hours after Hurricane Maria struck. For months, Casa Sol was one of the few buildings in the neighbourhood with regular electricity. 

“When the storm hit they said, ‘Wow,’” Ramirez recalled of his neighbours. “We didn’t really install it because we thought something like this would happen, we just thought we have to put in our little contribution in order to protect the environment.” 

Ramirez was at the forefront of a push toward renewable energy that has swept over the island since Maria’s passage. Before the storm, roughly 2.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s electricity was drawn from renewable energy sources. Today, that figure is about 4 percent, with some neighbourhoods and towns — weary of unpredictable and enduring power outages — forming their own small-scale power grids.

Even though he was preaching the gospel of solar energy in the face of doubters, Ramirez was far from smug about his foresight or selfish with his good fortune. In the months after the storm, he left the doors of Casa Sol open for anyone who might need draw a bit of energy from the batteries that stored the power his solar panels collected.

Some came to charge appliances and cell phones or do laundry. Families stored breast milk and life-saving medications in his refrigerators. One man powered his sleep apnea machine at night. During one particular stretch, he recalled, as many 100 people a day would visit.

“Casa Sol came to be a centre of support during or after the storm for all our community and our neighbours,” Ramirez said.

Support, and also, it seems, inspiration. Today, more than a few of Ramirez’s neighbours also have solar panels.

 

Original article by Marie Fazio for Notre Dame Journalism

 

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv Podil creates art with plastic straws

The Radisson Blu Hotel in Kyiv-Podil, Ukraine has found a creative way for reusing their unused plastic straws by creating a work of art.

Copyright: Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv-Podil

Copyright: Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv-Podil

When implementing Radisson Hotel Group’s campaign #RefusetheStraw the hotel wondered what they could do with the unused plastic straws that they had left in stock.

Instead of throwing them in the recycling bin, they found a local artist who created a sculpture of a seabird out of the straws. The original piece of art is now displayed in the lobby of the hotel to raise awareness on plastic pollution.

Mostly birds and sea animals suffer from plastics - they perceive it as a food, eat it, and die in terrible agony. Moreover, many birds are already on the verge of extinction and are included in the red book. It is a symbol of freedom, hope, new life, which must be protected.

- The Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv-Podil

Copyright: Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv-Podil

Copyright: Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv-Podil

Copyright: Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv-Podil

Copyright: Radisson Blu Hotel, Kyiv-Podil

XL Green Key Cartoon makes visitors curious about sustainability

The interactive science centre Hidrodoe in Herentals, Belgium came up with a creative and fun way to inform their guests about sustainability and Green Key.

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At Hidrodoe, visitors can learn everything about water - from Roman baths to water in space -in a fun and interactive way. The science centre is an initiative of the Flemish water company Pidpa to raise awareness about the importance and value of water. The centre has more than 150 interactive exhibits, covering indoor and outdoor activities.

One of their newest additions is an XL Cartoon that shows the centre with all it’s environmental initiatives, for example their bee hotel, the electric bike charging station and the fair trade café. A Green Key logo on each of the illustrations indicates that this is part of their environmental agenda. At the same time, visitors learn about Green Key and it’s requirements. The creators compare the comic with the well-known “Where’s Wally” children illustrations.

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Due to its high environmental ambitions and creative ways to engage visitors in environmental issues, Hidrodoe won the Belgian Energy and Environment award for Sustainable Education in 2018. Moreover, Hidrodoe has been Green Key awarded for 7 years in a row.

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The restaurant A Cozinha por António Loureiro wins Best Practice Competition 2018!

Each year, Green Key runs a best practice competition to encourage its awarded sites to present their most inspiring sustainability stories. And today on World Tourism Day we announce our winner: A Cozinha por António Loureiro restaurant (Portugal). Finishing second and third were Sinatur Storebælt (Denmark) and STF Lugnåsbergets vandrarhem (Sweden).

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This year, Green Key’s best practice competition focused on how to inform and involve guests in sustainability. The theme relates to SDG 12 “responsible consumption and production” to ensure “sustainable consumption and production patterns". Not only does Green Key help consumers to identify responsible tourism establishments, but awarded establishments also have to inform their guests about sustainable practices during their stay. Furthermore, Green Key awarded establishments are encouraged to engage their guests in their sustainability actions through activities, events, rewards etc.

At ‘A Cozinha’ , Chef António Loureiro and his team are totally committed to sustainable eating and also strive to pursue a policy of near-zero waste. An integrated approach considering several practices was implemented since the opening day. António, awarded Portuguese Chef of the Year in 2014, is well-known for his high quality gastronomy that combines tradition and innovation. He mainly uses regional or local products and the motto “cooking what Mother Nature is offering” has become an integral part of every menu he creates. To prevent food waste, António uses the entire product that is bought, cooked and combined in different ways.

As a part of the restaurant’s mission towards sustainability, António opens his kitchen for several initiatives to inform the local community and children about food waste. For example, in the activity “be a chef for a day”, or "team building with a cooking experience" guests have the chance to have a hands-on high level experience where they learn how to respect the products, how to promote the local economy with their choices and how to plan a week menu without creating a big amount of food waste.

In addition, António has adopted the ‘Eco-Cooks’ initiative which is part of the Eco-Schools programme in Portugal promoting healthy and sustainable food in schools.

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Château de Namur hosts local sustainable development award in Namur, Belgium

On 26 April, the hotel Château de Namur hosted the local sustainable development award "Prix du développement durable de la Province de Namur" only shortly after the hotel received its own sustainability award – the Green Key.

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With this award, the Province of Namur wishes to highlight and, as a result, help raise awareness of existing sustainable development initiatives in Namur. And which venue would be better for a sustainability award ceremony than a Green Key hotel?

Château de Namur itself received its Green Key award in February 2018 due to its excellent environmental performance. The hotel strongly focuses on organic and local food products which becomes both evident from the restaurant menu and the refreshments offered in the guest rooms. Latest technologies in the hotel ensure that resources like energy and water are saved to a maximum. Guests can support the sustainability efforts of Château de Namur by using the offered electric bikes or the charging station for electric cars right outside the hotel. Furthermore, the hotel engages their guests by providing plenty of information about their environmental initiatives and environmental tips for their stay.

For its environmental committment, Château de Namur not only received the Green Key, but also the sustainable tourism award in the framework of a contest organised by the city of Namur.

Great results for the good of the environment at Green Key awarded Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Mikkeli

Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna in Mikkeli (Finland) has been Green Key awarded since December 2016 and has integrated environmental perspective deep into their daily operations. Hotel Manager Hanna Coker-Appiah presented their vast variety of Green Key efforts to Finn Bolding Thomsen from Green Key International.

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Vaakuna started their journey with Green Key in the autumn of 2016 to prepare for a Green Key application. Environmental work was nothing new for them, but with Green Key, it became more consistent and the awareness of the impact of different daily actions increased. Small modifications were also made. For example, the shower heads in all rooms were replaced with more eco-friendly ones. This repair investment was already in the plans and new shower heads on their way. Two different kinds of shower heads were tested by staff and the final selection was made based on these results.

The two tested shower heads also complied with the Green Key requirement that in at least 75% of showers are with a water flow of max. 9 litres per minute. Modern shower heads, as the new one Vaakuna chose for their hotel rooms, limit the water flow onto an ecological level without compromising guest satisfaction. Vaakuna’s guests have been happy with the choice the hotel made for new shower heads and have been also able to know about their environmental impact. Vaakuna follows water consumption carefully and was happy to share good results after their first Green Key year: the amount of water saved each month equals the water consumption of an average household for a year.

Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Mikkeli actively encourages also guests to make an ecological choice. The bikes available at the hotel are hugely popular and the guest can enjoy local products such as the famous delicacy Karelian pies, local bread or taste the local beer named after the great Marshal Mannerheim. A welcoming letter in the rooms informs the guest of the environmental efforts at the hotel and provides easy, practical tips how to make ecological choices. The guest can sort waste or save water and energy by using the towel again. The hotel is also situated conveniently with an easy access for trains and buses – even a bike taxi in the summertime!

The whole staff in Vaakuna is involved in the work for the good of the environment. The kitchen keeps a close eye on energy consumption of ovens and the nightclub strives to reduce the use of plastic. Housekeeping uses microfiber cloths and 100% of daily chemicals are eco-labelled.

Finn Bolding Thomsen, Green Key International Director, visited the hotel in January 2018 and was very impressed with the environmental efforts at the hotel. He also very much appreciated the way that Sokos Hotel Vaakuna informs the guests about their environmental work both in the carpark of the hotel, in the hotel lobby and in the guest rooms.

However, new things are constantly under development. The next one will make the overnight at Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna in Mikkeli a memorable environmental experience. But this will be something to be revealed a bit later – so to be continued…

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Auberge de Jeunesse de Namur - local hot spot for outdoor activities and sustainability supporters

The youth hostel in Namur, Belgium offers both guests and locals many opportunities to discover the surrounding natural areas and enjoy local products and services. 

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Auberge de Jeunesse de Namur, Green Key awarded since December 2012, cooperates with many different local stakeholders to offer their guests and also local residents the opportunity to enjoy the natural areas in and around Namur and to buy local products.

Together with the local organisation Empreinte the hostel develops and promotes nature and environmental education tours with the objective of promoting outdoor activities among children and adolescents and of raising awareness about different aspects of the urban environment. Furthermore, the hostel cooperates with Pro Velo, an NGO promoting bicycling and bicycle tours. Guests can rent bikes directly at the hostel and get plenty of ideas for cycling routes right at the reception. 

After spending the day in the outdoors, guests can enjoy a local beer or wine at the bar of the hostel. The establishment is in close cooperation with the local breweries and in general tries to offer as many local products as possible.

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Moreover, the hostel has a collaboration with Paysans Artisans, an association of local farmers. Residents can order organic "food boxes" once a week from the local farmers which are then available for pick up at the youth hostel. In addition, the hostel organises an organic food market twice a year where the products of the Paysans Artisans and of other local producers are being sold.

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