sustainable consumption

Bookdifferent.com highlights Green Key as "greenest choice"

Green Key awarded accommodations receive highest sustainability ranking with the online booking platform Bookdifferent.com

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Bookdifferent.com, which includes 1.1 million accommodations all over the world, makes sure all its accommodations are checked on their sustainability performance while offering the best price guarantee.

On the new user-friendly, fast and mobile-friendly Bookdifferent.com website, the new ‘staygreencheck’ feature ranks the 22 ecolabels (including Green Key) that Bookdifferent displays on their website.

“It is our intention with this new feature to help travellers to make a better informed and more sustainable choice. We believe that consumer demand will motivate the hospitality sector to continue improving their level of sustainability,” says Lonneke de Kort, CEO of Bookdifferent.com.

With the 'staygreencheck' Bookdifferent has monitored how each of the labels perform on the four pillars of sustainability: fair & social, nature & environment, culture friendly and local economy taking the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Standard as the norm. Each of the four hearts in the ‘staygreencheck’ display compliance with one of these pillars.

As Green Key criteria touch upon all four pillars of sustainability, Green Key awarded establishments has been awarded all four hearts and is indicated as the ‘greenest choice’ and shown on top of each search result as a standard.

Finn Bolding Thomsen, Green Key International Director, says: "We are very proud to have the Green Key awarded establishments listed as the greenest choice in Bookdifferent.com. The establishments are deeply engaged in contributing to a more sustainable world through their actions, and we as Green Key strives to support this work through regular updates of our standards as well as supporting the Green Key awarded establishments with ideas, tool and best practice examples from our network.”

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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Talking Point: How can hotels switch employees on to energy saving?

Claire Maugham, Director of Policy and Communications at Smart Energy GB says employees are a crucial resource in good energy management at any hotel and keeping them switched on to sustainability is really important. In today’s Talking Point she describes some ways to keep employees fully engaged on the energy front.

Saving energy in the hotel sector.

Many of the small changes required to save energy in hotels across the globe are the same as those in the home – even if they are sometimes on a larger scale.

Whether it’s turning down the heating and air conditioning, turning lighting and other appliances off, or trying to save hot water, there is a plethora of ways to tap into the behaviours that employees and guests are already aware of. Drawing on experience in the home and topical sustainability events can be a great way to encourage behaviour change and get employees thinking about energy – at work as well as at home.

For example, in Great Britain, the rollout of energy smart meters to every home is providing an opportunity for hospitality employers to engage with their staff on sustainability issues like never before. Some hotel staff are likely to already have smart meters in their homes and others will be offered the opportunity to upgrade shortly.

Smart meters are installed by energy suppliers, and they show consumers how much energy they are using in pounds and pence, in near real time. The new technology is encouraging people across Britain to change the way they use energy, with eight in ten people with smart meters taking steps to reduce energy waste at home.

The national rollout presents the perfect opportunity to inspire energy behaviour change in workplaces. Simply put, behaviour change in the home is vital to make consumers and employees smarter and greener at work too.

Smart Energy GB worked with Hilton Worldwide's Energy and Environment Manager, to coordinate a session at Hilton’s head office to share information about smart meters with their staff. Encouraging employees at all levels to understand the concept of smart energy helps receptiveness for further smart energy initiatives.

A guide for employers

How to engage employees with energy saving is a challenge that the International Tourism Partnership has been working on with the Carbon Trust.

They have produced this easy to use guide for employers. The guide explains how to design and run an energy efficiency awareness campaign in the workplace, including giving practical advice to employees on how they can benefit from getting a smart meter and saving energy at home. You can download a copy at smartenergyGB.org/employers, or get started with the tips below.

Tips for kick-starting engagement with energy efficiency

  • To engage employees you need to be creative

Homes, personal experiences and saving money, are topics that can help make a campaign relevant to your employees.

Creative campaigns can provide information on sustainability options outside the office, such as transport or energy saving at home, to make a connection with workplace behaviour.

User-generated content is always popular and effective at bringing campaigns to life – ask your employees for their views and stories to really engage them in the subject.

  • Make data visual

People respond well to visual data. If you have smart/half-hourly metering in the workplace you could use the data it provides to help employees feel more connected to their energy use at home and at work.

  • Tap in to a range of motivations

Look at people’s existing values and motivations and build specific behaviour change campaigns around those. For example, a campaign around productivity gains from planning and daily routine changes are more relevant to staff than a campaign addressing costs and carbon.

Source: Green Hotelier