Environmental Management

Wales’ first contemporary art hotel ends up with Green Key

One of the finest hotels in Wales, the Twr y Felin Hotel, makes a difference on an environmental and sustainability level.

Twr y Felin Hotel Windmill.jpg

Situated in a restored and extended windmill, Twr y Felin strived to develop a sustainability policy since its opening in 2016. Located in Britain’s smallest city, the hotel provides a complete retreat for guests close to St David’s cathedral and world-class beaches. It also proposes several options to discover the surroundings of the city by bike.

Furthermore, this singular hotel is Wales’ first contemporary art hotel. During your stay, you can easily discover over 100 original artworks from Welsh, British and International artists inspired by the local area .  

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This 2017-18 AA Hotel of the Year (Wales) combines art, welsh food and responsible practices. Its restaurant, Blas (“Taste” in Welsh), offers local and seasonal dishes. This practice reduces food miles since the ingredients come from the surrounding countryside and coast, permitting to reflect Welsh heart. Moreover, this two Rosette restaurant fits all dietary requirements such as vegetarian, dairy free and vegan diets.

We are delighted to be awarded the Green Key, which demonstrates our ethos of ensuring that our environmental footprint is as light as possible. We feel responsible for the impact we have on the world and are passionate about adopting initiatives that will reduce this. – Group General Manager of Twr y Felin Hotel, Roch Castle and Penrhiw
Twr y Felin Observatory View 2.jpg

The Twr y Felin adheres to Green Key strict criteria since it is promoting the reducing of water and energy, the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products and sustainably sourced food products. It is now a leading business in the field of environmental responsibility and has a strong desire to positively influence the direction of the tourism industry.

No doubt, this new Green Key establishment knows how to match the luxury and environmental protection.     

Dayz Rønbjerg receives Green Key award

The establishment is the first holiday park in Denmark to receive the Green Key award. With the award, Dayz Rønbjerg joins the company of international holiday parks putting high priority on environmentally friendly and sustainable operation.

Dayz Rønbjerg holiday park

“With the certification of Dayz Rønbjerg, we have taken an important step towards our strategic goal for all our holiday parks to be Green Key certified by 2018”, says Sales & Marketing Manager of Dayz by Landal GreenParks Kent Lodberg. “To protect the environment is more important than ever before, and it is becoming an increasingly important subject for Danish guests, so we are simultaneously preparing for the green guests of the future with the certification”, he continues.   

Kirsten Poulsen, Director of Firstmove specializing in future insights, says that working with high environmental and sustainability standards is not only worthwhile, but also necessary if an establishment wants to be attractive to future guests. “Guests are increasingly putting more emphasis on sustainability and this can be a decisive factor when choosing one establishment above the other”.

Employees Piertel Maartje Jonker and Casper Lemvig celebrating the Green Key award of Dayz Rønbjerg.

Employees Piertel Maartje Jonker and Casper Lemvig celebrating the Green Key award of Dayz Rønbjerg.

Dayz by Landal GreenParks is part of the Dutch Landal GreenParks that operates more than 80 holiday parks in Europe - 74 of these are Green Key certified.  

Source: Dayz by Landal GreenParks

Talking Point: Could your kitchen fats, oils and greases boost the circular economy?

Restaurant kitchens face continuous drainage problems, so hotels need to be more aware of how they dispose of their fats, oils and greases.

Michelle Ringland, head of marketing at drainage specialist Lanes Group wonders whether hotels can find fats, oils and greases (FOG) solution that’s also eco-friendly.

Every year, drainage firms are called to deal with thousands upon thousands of blockages. There are many reasons for these occurring, but the most common cause is when FOGs are poured down drains. These congeal, solidify and eventually block the pipe - both in drains underneath the premises and along the streets in the sewers.

Sending out companies like ours to deal with drainage and sewer issues caused solely by blockages costs water companies, with bill payers having to cover the extra expense.

By virtue of the fact that commercial kitchens deal with such large quantities of oils and fats, it’s particularly crucial that hotel catering staff know exactly what to do with the waste product. But today there’s an eco-friendly solution that even helps hotels play a part in a more circular, sustainable economy.

Concerned that kitchen staff often lack the knowledge of how to deal with FOGs properly, we asked 60 drainage engineers, from a mixture of Lanes Group and other firms, about their experiences of dealing with the hospitality sector.

Almost all of them (94%) told us they’ve been called out to clear blockages caused by FOGs. Half said that they deal with issues in restaurants several times a week, while 70% said that staff members’ lack of knowledge was the biggest issue.

Below is our key advice to avoid having to spend quite so much on drainage callouts:

  • Keep your staff educated

Even when oils are hot, they can still block drains. It’s a misconception made by many, but once the oil cools down it hardens and won’t budge without expert intervention. Putting improved signage around kitchens is a small but important step hotels can make to help reduce blockages. It’s all about modifying people’s behaviour.

  • Oils like coconut and rapeseed do just as much damage

‘Fashionable healthy alternative’ oils such as coconut oil are just as harmful to drains as traditional cooking oils and fats, despite what’s sometimes claimed. It’s something that we’ve found many people in the sector seem to forget.

  • Waste oil can just be collected

It can be daunting, especially for smaller businesses, to know how to get rid of waste oil - especially if there’s a lot of it from fryers. Fortunately, it’s now possible to simply have it collected for disposal. Services like Uptown Oil collect used oil from your hotel and turn it into biodiesel. Their customers receive a certificate showing their contribution to carbon reduction and cleaner air. They’ll even deliver new sustainable vegetable oil to your hotel, and they can show you ways to get 30% more use from your oils, reducing waste and making your oil consumption more economical and sustainable. The biodiesel they create can be used in most diesel vehicles and unlike fossil fuels, it doesn’t add CO2 to the environment.

By partnering with a company that converts used oil into biodiesel, hotels are helping the environment and contributing to circular economy. Some companies also provide safe containers to store the oil before they pick it up. In the UK the Environment Agency will be able to let you know which services are available in your area. 

  • Have a grease trap installed - and make sure it’s emptied regularly

Make sure you’re providing the right facilities so your staff can easily dispose of fats and oils. Some 62% of the engineers we asked pointed out that a lack of appropriate facilities often leads to major drainage problems, and many suggested installing grease traps to combat the issue. Grease traps intercept FOGs before they manage to settle in drains, separating the water from all of those substances you don’t want to go down the pipe. They should be maintained regularly to ensure they’re working well – you’ll probably be shocked by how much oil, fat and grease they collect.

Don’t forget, it’s not just fats, oils and greases that can block drains. Solid food is also found to be a common culprit, so make sure every sink has a strainer. If you have floor drains, remember to never brush excess food down them - it all ends up in the same place after all!


Source: Green Hotelier

The Westin Paris-Vendôme saves bees

To celebrate the partnership between Green Key and Starwood, Green Key International will publish a monthly feature of a Green Key awarded Starwood hotel. In June we showcase The Westin Paris-Vendôme in France, a hotel with an impressive global environmental action plan.

For several years now we’ve been hearing reports about the honeybees disappearing around the world. While the scientists try to better understand the causes behind this sad phenomenon, several Green Key awarded sites have already begun to act in order to help the honeybees overcome these difficulties.

Such is the example of The Westin Paris-Vendôme hotel that in 2012 placed a beehive on its roof. Thanks to this single beehive, 20kg of honey are harvested every year. Most of the honey is used in the hotel’s restaurant and spa while a smaller part is sold to the hotel’s clients. As taking care of honeybees demands knowledge and experience, the hotel decided to hand over the management and the monitoring of the beehive to a professional beekeeper.

The honeybees, gathering nectar in the famous Tuileries Gardens, are thriving in the city of Paris as the municipality decided years ago to reduce significantly the use of all chemicals in the maintenance of its green areas. 

The beehive project fits into the global environmental action plan of The Westin Paris-Vendôme, a Green Key awarded site since 2011.  

National park attractions in Wales awarded Green Key

Three popular visitor attractions run by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority have joined Green Key, the environmental accreditation promoting sustainable tourism.

Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, Castell Henllys Iron Age Village and Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre have have joined over 2,300 attractions, hotels, B&Bs, campsites and restaurants in around 50 countries worldwide in securing the Green Key standard.

The Green Key is awarded to businesses that promote sustainable development and environmental awareness and also strive to reduce the environmental impact and consumption, in turn reducing costs.

National Park Authority Chairman Cllr Mike James said: “The Authority works hard to promote sustainability in all areas of its work, from supporting the coastal bus network to encouraging sustainable development through the planning process and the Sustainable Development Fund.

“The National Park Authorities are seen as exemplars in sustainable development and the Green Key is another way we can demonstrate how this can be beneficial to businesses as well as the environment.

“Examples of our commitment to sustainability can be seen at all three sites, in particular Oriel y Parc, where it was a key consideration in the design, appearance and materials used for construction.”

Green Key was successfully piloted in Pembrokeshire by Keep Wales Tidy with funding from the National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund. There are now 17 businesses in Wales accredited by the Green Key Wales scheme.

Lesley Jones, Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy added: “Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority is at the forefront of sustainable tourism, so we are delighted that it has recognised the importance of Green Key, by both funding the pilot and gaining accreditation. We are absolutely delighted to welcome the Authority to Green Key.”

A 2012 Visit Wales survey found that travellers and tourists are increasingly aware of the importance of supporting socially responsible and environmentally sustainable businesses, with 72% of visitors in Wales rating environmental factors important in choosing their holiday destination.

Hospitality providers throughout Wales can apply for Green Key accreditation. For more information contact greenkey@keepwalestidy.org.uk or www.greenkey.org.uk.

The cooperation between Green Key and SGS is developing

In December 2014, Green Key entered an agreement with the world’s largest auditing company, SGS. Since then, the two parties have been busy developing the cooperation.

Besides mutual recognition, the agreement between SGS and Green Key involves the engagement of attracting additional hotels to Green Key in countries without a Green Key national operator.

SGS auditors in countries in South and East Asia (Indonesia, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, China/Hong Kong and Taiwan) and countries in Africa and Indian Ocean (Egypt, Mauritius, Kenya, Zambia and South Africa) have received training in the Green Key criteria and audit procedure.

SGS is already conducting other types of audits in many hotels, and the company will now be able to conduct the Green Key audit to the hotels expressing interest in Green Key. Green Key International will be in charge of the management of the Green Key programme in countries without a national operator, while SGS will be doing the audits for Green Key.

The cooperation has already led to interest from a number of hotels in South/East Asia and Africa/Indian Ocean, but hotels in other countries without a national operator can also now directly contact Green Key International with the interest to join Green Key.

The cooperation between Green Key and SGS is also developing in some countries with a Green Key national operator. In Bulgaria, Green Key and SGS has signed a mutual agreement, where SGS will attract hotels to Green Key and conduct audits on behalf of Green Key in Bulgaria.

If you are a hotel or other tourism facility wishing to join Green Key, please contact Finn Bolding Thomsen (mailto:finn@fee.global) at Green Key International.

You are also welcome to contact SGS national affiliates in South & East Asia and Africa & Indian Ocean:

Indonesia: David Situmorang (david.situmorang@sgs.com)
India: Arup Jana (arup.jana@sgs.com)
Thailand and Cambodia: Wansongkran Naktongtip (wansongkran.naktongtip@sgs.com)
Malaysia: Amy Yip (amy.yip@sgs.com)
Philippines: Emily Pascua (emily.pascua@sgs.com)
Vietnam: Kieu Hanh (hanh.nguyenkieu@sgs.com)
China: Aileen Ma (aileen.ma@sgs.com)
Hong Kong: Miranda Kwan (miranda.kwan@sgs.com)   Taiwan: Eric Huang (eric-gt.huang@sgs.com)
Egypt: Ashraf Elzoheiry (ashraf.elzoheiry@sgs.com)
Mauritius and Indian Ocean: Daniel Julie (daniel.julie@sgs.com)
Kenya and Zambia: Solomon Onyango (solomon.onyango@sgs.com)
South Africa: Marina Sander (marina.sander@sgs.com)

Camp Kovačine in Croatia, a true Green Key ambassador

Camp Kovačine is truly an amazing ambassador for Green Key in Croatia. Situated in a natural environment in the central part of Cres Island, in the Northwest of the Croatian side of the Adriatic Sea, guests can enjoy the clear sea or relax under one of the many pine and olive trees surrounding the camp site.

The management together with all staff make it their mission to take care of the desires and comfort of guests with a special accent on preserving natural values and the purity of the environment. Maintaining and improving the biodiversity of the surroundings is one of their main focus points.

All Green Key criteria’s are fulfilled and neatly documented. The campsite excels in waste management with their great organized waste separation system and energy management with an incredible energy saving policy. Camp Kovačine only uses "green" electricity. A national certificate with the "green" mark ensures guests that the electricity used throughout the complete campsite comes from renewable sources.

Green Key Croatia is extremely proud of their Green Key ambassador and hopes they will continue to cherish their well known environmental policy! 

The Stanhope Hotel in Brussels leads the way to sustainability in Belgium

The Stanhope Hotel, a 5-star boutique Hotel and awarded with the Green Key label since 3 years, continually works to be a Green symbol in Brussels. This year will not be an exception on this rule. The Green Team still has lots of ideas to reduce waste, water & energy and improve green communication.

Throughout the seasons, the Hotel always remains connected with ecologic initiatives by offering Green experiences to their visitors. During the winter, home made recycled heart-shaped candles are offered as a special attention during the Valentine’s dinner. In spring, guests enjoy a Happy Hour at recycled candle light to celebrate the ‘Earth Hour’. Summer is a great time to taste the bio menu during the Bio Week. Autumn is synonym of discovering recycled objects exposed at the Recycling Expo as the major action during the European week of waste reduction.

The Hotel offers permanent green visibility in the Green corner, an original recycled cardboard design; in the showcase with seasonal silhouettes of ‘Les Petits Riens’ (a social economy enterprise organizing second hand fashion shows and selling second hand equipment, for the benefit of homeless and unemployed persons); in the rooms with tips for a green stay; in the recently created biologic herbs garden and through a green guiding tour when booking a Green Package.

Green vouchers now accepted in Green Key sites in Belgium

The “green vouchers” system in Belgium, introduced to promote environmentally friendly products and services, has now included Green Key as one of their services where the vouchers can be used. A great way to introduce Green Key to a wide range of people.

These vouchers (called “ecochèques”) are given by employers to near 1.5 million workers in the country, as fringe benefits, and can be spent for products such as energy efficient light bulbs, organic food, more sustainable transportation, second hand items, etc.

Due to a specific request introduced by the Green Key national operators in Belgium, people will now be allowed to spend their green vouchers in Green Key establishments from the 1st June 2015 on. Green Key establishments have been accepted into this voucher system amongst others because the label is recognized by UN organisations and because it caters for an independent auditing system.

Green Key establishments willing to be eligible have to register with at least one of the two enterprises issuing the vouchers. By introducing the label into this well-known and popular scheme, the Green Key national operators in Belgium believe that they are making it more famous and therefore encouraging its promotion.