Food & Beverage

Comwell hotels in Denmark gain The Organic Cuisine Label

The Green Key awarded Comwell hotels are moving in the direction of more sustainable operation. Running a hotel is resource demanding and puts strain on the environment and Comwell decided to address the issue by changing their way of operation. Today, all the hotels have gained The Organic Cuisine Label in bronze in addition to their Green Key certification.

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The Organic Cuisine Label in bronze indicates that 30-60 % of the food served is organic, which means that the Danish hotel chain with its 15 establishments now serve around 600 000 guests with organic food. The change towards using more sustainable produce has taken under a year and during this time, the Comwell hotels went from serving 5 % organic to an average of 50 % organic produce in their establishments. In addition, over 200 staff members have received training in sustainability.

According to Peter Schelde, CEO of the Comwell hotels, the change is rooted in a vision to contribute to a greener future. Comwell wants to be a forerunner when it comes to sustainable practices and according to Schelde, an organization the size of Comwell can have a real difference on people’s lives and on the environment. The responsible and sustainable use of resources is not only restricted to the restaurants; it is also an essential part of the whole business operation at Comwell and its hotels. “The focus on sustainability is there to increase the overall experience of both guests, staff and cooperation partners”, Schelde says. 


Source: Comwell press release

Starwood issues its sustainable seafood position statement

Starwood, Green Key's international hotel chain partner, has produced a statement on how the chain will use sustainably sourced seafood

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The values of Starwood guides their sources of seafood. The hotel chain uses the "triple bottom line" of environmental, financial and social concerns with the best available science to form thier decisions. Starwood then empowers its associates to put plans into action while maintaining the high level of guest experience for which they are known.

Starwood is committed to supporting its Communities - from the local communities around their properties to the global ecological ecological community supporting everyone.

In sourcing seafood, Starwood will address the following throughout the different regions in which they operate:

Wild-caught seafood

  • Stock status of the target species
  • Fisheries management
  • Bycatch of target and non-target species, including protected, endangered, or threatened species

Farmed seafood

  • Resources used, including nursery/seed stocks
  • Wastes released from the farm
  • Health management of the farmed fish

Wild-caught and farmed seafood

  • Broader ecosystem impacts (i.e. damage from fishing gear used in wild fisheries, impacts to wild populations from farms)
  • Efficient use of resources (i.e. energy intensity of wild fishery distribution networks, feed conversion ratios of farmed seafood)

Starwood has set goals to gudie and track the progress in the long-term and the hotel chain is developing ways to measure the progress towards those goals in the short-term.

Starwood acknowledges that achieving these goals is a continuous endeavor, but are committed to collaborating with their suppliers, partners, and others in their seafood supply chain to advance the efforts.

Sheraton Zürich Hotel offers a green table to their guests

On 26 November 2015, the Sheraton Zürich Hotel became the first Starwood hotel to be awarded the Green Key in Switzerland.  Although only joined the Green Key programme so recently, they already have some very impressive sustainable actions in place. 


Aside from the newly achieved Green Key certification, the Sheraton Zürich is also certified by Minergie. Minergie is a Swiss construction standard and quality label for new and modernized buildings. By following the Minergie standards buildings provide more comfort, reduce energy costs and are more sustainable.

Restaurant Route 26

Prior to the opening of the hotel restaurant, the Kitchen Chef went on a journey through the 26 Swiss Cantons to find the best suppliers and products of Switzerland. Most of the products are locally produced and the restaurant takes time to check certificates of for example the fishing practices of the fish suppliers, to track the meat or visit the suppliers before a steak lands at the grill. To promote local products among the guests, a different Swiss canton was put in the spotlight every month in 2015. This month, the guests can go on a culinary journey to the canton Zug and try a typical local fish dish – of course prepared with fish from Lake Zug.

When ordering from suppliers, the hotel restaurant places high emphasis on how the food is delivered and use the good relations to the suppliers to request on how they package it. Separately packaged broccoli is just as a no-go for us as is Styrofoam.  To minimize CO2 emissions and costs the hotel restaurant limits the number of times they order from a supplier to about 1-2 times a week. This requires good calculation which is also reflected in the low amount of food waste the hotel has. In addition to carefully calculating and estimating the amount of food, certain dishes like scrambled eggs in the morning are prepared on demand at the live-cooking station.

The employees enjoy the opportunity to eat at the employee canteen – which is also integrated in the planning process as each day they use the same ingredients in the canteen and restaurant. 

Le Méridien Vienna focusing on locally produced food

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 August we showcase the Green Key awarded Le Méridien Hotel in Vienna which has been implementing various sustainability strategies, including the efforts on ensuring more food locally produced.

Several strategies and practices have been developed in order to make Le Méridien Hotel in Vienna “greener” in terms of environmental, social and economic sustainability. Through collaboration with their hotel owners, suppliers and business partners, the hotel actively works to reduce the environmental impact.

In order to minimize carbon dioxide emissions due to long journeys mainly locally produced food and drinks are purchased. That is also reflected in an investigation the hotel recently did. Around 62% of the food needed for preparation of the dishes is regionally produced and comes from Austria.

“The appreciation of the food quality in Austria is way different than in other countries” says Mr. Alexander Raddatz, Chef de Cuisine at Le Méridien Vienna who pays special attention where the products originate he serves his guests. “Why obtaining products from overseas, when I can get coequal regional products of probably better quality? Of course the price might be higher but taste and flavors are even better adherent with the conscience of having reduced the carbon footprint.”

A star that shines twice as bright

The Castellaras Restaurant, situated in a magnificent Provençal edifice in southern France, is the first Green Key restaurant to have obtained a Michelin star!

The acknowledgement of the famous guide comes as the icing on the cake for Hermance Carro and Quentin Joplet who have been promoting seasonal cooking and use of fresh local ingredients for years.

But Hermance and Quentin go far beyond the search for the perfect culinary match. They are equally dedicated to the quest for sustainable solutions in the kitchen as well as in the global management of their restaurant. The Castellaras was awarded the Green Key ecolabel in 2013 thanks to its many green practices: local sourcing and use of short supply chains, use of organic produce whenever possible, 100 % eco-friendly cleaning products, rainwater recovery, use of solar panels for water heating, recycling and waste recovery, use of naturals methods in the garden, etc.

Recently, an old greenhouse was transformed into a henhouse which became home for 15 new coworkers hired to help out with the recycling of green waste. There’s probably not need to tell you that the eggs are used in the kitchen by Quentin and his team.

We think everyone will agree that the Michelin star shines twice as bright at the Castellaras - once for the gastronomy and once for the sustainability!

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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.  

Food wasting strategy at Hilton Copenhagen Airport

At Hilton Copenhagen Airport they wanted to put the focus on food waste, as they found too much food was being wasted.

First of all they decided to measure the food being wasted during one week. The team measured the food waste in the team member restaurant for 1 normal week. The next week they arranged a “Food Reduction Week” in which special attention was given to food waste. They increased the awareness about food waste by arranging a separate large garbage bin just for food, making signs for awareness and focusing on how much food is being prepared. Just by doing these simple things, they managed to reduce the food waste by almost 60kg per week! This small effort has encouraged the whole team to keep up the good work.