sustainability

Solar Hotel - a green, affordable and activist hotel

Solar Hotel is a two-star budget hotel in Paris (France) with full focus on being sustainable and inclusive

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Since 2009, Solar Hotel has assessed its carbon footprint and worked towards obtaining a green certification. The hotel is a member of the ATD network (French activists for sustainable tourism) and has earned numerous awards for its environmental and social practices.

The many sustainability activities of Solar Hotel include:

  • Hallways, lounges and rooms are all exclusively lit by LED or fluorescent compact bulbs

  • Purchase of 100% renewable energy

  • Collection of rainwater to water plants, the garden and to wash the sidewalk

  • No unnecessary individual packaging for the breakfast and in the bathrooms

  • Eco-labelled soap and shampoo are available in dispensers

  • The breakfast served is 100% organic and with 90% of the products produced in France

  • Food leftovers from breakfast is reused in the mechanical composter in the garden

  • The second-hand furniture in the guest rooms is regularly renovated and repaired

  • Bicycles are available to hotel guests

  • Hotel management students regularly visit the hotel to increase awareness of environmental issues

  • The hotel supports and promotes environmental NGOs, e.g. by hosting and organising meetings and conferences

Franck Laval, owner of Solar Hotel says:

“We have for several reasons, chosen to be the first green, affordable and activist hotel: Firstly, to prove that ecology means investing, not spending; secondly, to prove that sustainable development is not exclusively reserved to those who have access to extensive information; and thirdly, to spread the word to thousands of independent hotel managers”.

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Green Key present at the UK´s leading hospitality event

This September, Green Key will be present at Hotel360, the UK´s leading hospitality event dealing with the improvement of the hospitality industry. To contribute to the future of this ever-evolving industry, Green Key will be part of the “Go Green Advice Hub”, a 2019 brand new feature where visitors will be looking for solutions to build a more sustainable business.

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Over two days, on the 18th and 19th of September, experts will introduce visitors to the latest innovations and talk about the future of the industry at Hotel360. This hub for hospitality innovation will connect industry´s professionals to solutions and services to make their establishments part of the leading ones.

In the years to come, the hospitality industry will have to focus on sustainability and responsibility, that is why communication about innovations is key to spread sustainable practices in this sector. After providing them with an environmental management framework, these industry´s most successful names will have to turn this knowledge into practices. For that, Green Key will help furnishing tools to help them reduce their water, energy usage and CO2 emissions.

Moreover, the desire to create a sustainable tourism industry goes hand in hand with a growing generation of eco-conscious travelers. Staff and guests also have to be aware of each establishment’s initiatives for the environment, as for Green Key awarded establishments. Being eco-labelled is a token of quality and proves that the establishment is committed to reducing its environmental impact.

“The Green Key team are really excited to share with visitors to Hotel360 the simple but effective actions they can take to make their hotel more environmentally friendly and how to work towards the Green Key award.” - Emma Whitlock, Green Key Development Manager at Keep Britain Tidy

Green Key is delighted to be part of the eco-experts who will help and advise establishments in their transition. The participation in Hotel360 aims at training environmental conscious hospitality leaders who will put the development of green and responsible establishments at the top of their projects.

You can already visit hotel360.co.uk to secure your free ticket and be sure to meet our Green Key eco-experts!

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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Online reviews featuring social and environmental initiatives score higher

A recent study reveals that there is a correlation between mentions of social or environmental initiatives in online reviews and hotel ratings.

Ecocertified hotel in Austria. 

The recent study in the Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality and Tourism shows a correlation between customers who mention social or environmental initiatives in online reviews and how they rate hotels. The research showed that reviews with explicit mentions of sustainability was 4.75 while reviews with implicit mentions of sustainability was 4.32 and reviews with no mention of sustainability was 4.17.

Initiatives with high scores for explicit and implicit sustainability mentions in the reviews mention sustainable management, education, biodiversity, wildlife conservation and sustainable products. Despite the promising results, the socially or environmentally responsible practices factored in in reviews might be considered low with an occurrence of 31.7% and 6.8% implicit and explicit mentions respectively. Another factor worth noting is that all the hotels in the study had a sustainability certification. These certifications often have levels, e.g. 1 through 5 or bronze, silver, gold and platinum.

When breaking down the explicit mentions of sustainability (6.8%), hotels with a Level 5 certification received nearly 19% mentions while hotels with Level 1 received only 2.1%. This indicates that hotels with a higher and more broadly integrated level of sustainability are more likely to leave an impression on the guests.

The results of the study point to a business case for investing in sustainability certification, as a strong certification means implementing sustainability throughout the organization and operations, thus becoming more noticeable to guests.  

Source: Travindy

Green Key at the Lanzarote Summit about Sustainable Tourism

From 19-20 October 2017 the world's leading experts in sustainable tourism from America and Europe gathered in Lanzarote (Spain) to discuss and exchange ideas about the latest trends in sustainable tourism.

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The international conference with the title "Sustainability: A key factor of competitiveness in the tourism industry" took place on the island of Lanzarote, where the World Charter on Sustainable Tourism +20 was was adopted at the first World Conference on Sustainable Tourism  in 1995. 22 years later, in the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, sustainable tourism experts from all around the world met again in Lanzarote to discuss the progress made in sustainable tourism and to give a perspective for the future of the industry. Green Key attended the conference to follow the latest discussions in sustainable tourism. Among the panellists were representatives from World Tourism Organization, UNESCO, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, TUI Travel, Tripadvisor, Responsible Tourism Institute as well as other practitioners from the tourism industry and representatives from different governmental tourism agencies in Spain. 

Main areas of discussion where the tourism industry's perspective on sustainability, the marketing of sustainability, innovation and technology in sustainable tourism, models of the industry and benefits for the local community and the tourism industry and its relation to the 17 SDGs. Among the key factors of sustainable development for the tourism industry identified at the conference were multi-stakeholder involvement, the estimation of the value of tourism compared to competing, less sustainable industries, as well as making sustainability tangible for tourists by marketing it as a quality attribute. Certification and award programmes like Green Key were highlighted as effective tools for the tourism industry to achieve their sustainability goals. 

Read more about the conference here.

Green Key and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG #12

Green Key is a leading standard of excellence in the field of sustainable tourism, guiding tourism establishments in doing their part in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. In our new feature series we will present each of the 17 SDGs and explain their connection to Green Key. 

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In 2015, the UN member states adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to guide governments, the private sector and civil society in transforming our world into safer, fairer and more livable place.   

Sustainability lies at the heart of Green Key, which is why the programme inherently contributes to all of the 17 goals. Today, we talk about Goal 12: "Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns".        

According to the UN "Achieving Goal 12 requires a strong national framework for sustainable consumption and production that is integrated into national and sectoral plans, sustainable business practices and consumer behaviour, together with adherence to international norms on the management of hazardous chemicals and wastes."

How does Green Key help to achieve Goal 12?

Green Key helps both tourism establishments and their guests to make more sustainable consumption decisions:

Tourism establishments

  • One target of Goal 12 is to "achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources by 2030". Green Key makes high demands on its awarded sites regarding the management of resources such as water, energy and food. To name a few:

- Water-saving devices (criteria 4.4, 4.5 & 4.6) and energy-saving light bulbs (criterion 7.3) are a must in all awarded establishments.

- The buildings and the equipment have to be managed in such a way as to reduce the consumption of electricity and heat to a maximum. This includes e.g proper insulation (criteria 7.12, 7.24 & 7.25) or use of sensors for automatic switch-offs (criterion 7.11, 7.19, 7.22 & 7.26).

- For the effective monitoring of the use of resources, separate water and electricity metres are being recommended in the criteria (criteria 4.11 & 7.21).

  • Food waste is another issue that is being addressed in connection to Goal 12. Green Key encourages their establishments to keep records of their food waste and to have a waste reduction plan in place (criterion 8.4). Awarded sites are furthermore encouraged to compost their organic waste (criterion 6.17).
  • The environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes as defined in the targets of Goal 12 are also an integral part of the Green Key criteria. The programme has a whole category of criteria dealing with the responsible management and reduction of waste (category 6) and different criteria that deal with the responsible handling of chemicals (criteria 5.2, 5.3, 5.6, 5.7, 6.7&6.8). 
  • Green Key awarded establishments are also encouraged to inform their suppliers and third-party businesses to operate in line with Green Key's criteria (criteria 13.3&13.5).

Tourists and guests

  • Green Key is a guidepost in sustainable consumption, as it highlights tourism establishments that adhere to strict environmental and CSR criteria. 
  • Thanks to the cooperation with several online travel agencies customers can easily find Green Key awarded establishments on different booking websites. 
  • Not only does Green Key help consumers to identify sustainable tourism establishments, but awarded establishments also inform them about sustainable practices during their stay (category 3 of Green Key's criteria). 

A document describing Green Key’s overall contribution to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals can be downloaded here.

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