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Net-zero: lessons from 19 eco-friendly hospitality businesses

17/03/2022 techadmin Comments Off

COP26 saw pledges to extremely ambitious and inspiring carbon reductions targets in hopes of reaching net-zero by the middle of the century. In the world of hospitality, sustainability is an important topic of discussion as climate change holds a direct impact on businesses. In 2019, a survey conducted by the CDP climate non-profit revealed that many hotels and airlines have climate change-related resources and strategies set in place.  

Over the years, the hospitality industry saw the rise of inspiring establishments that have committed to reducing their carbon footprint in order to become more eco-friendly, and here’s what you can learn from our favourite eco-friendly businesses to make your property in hospitality more sustainable.

The Zetter in London, UK

Address: 49-50 St John’s Square, London EC1V 4JJ, UK

The Zetter saves the planet, one booking at a time – that’s their motto. From an old warehouse to an eco-friendly hotel, The Zettler received the Gold award from Green Tourism, a rare but extremely important recognition given to only a handful of hotels around the world. One of the hotel’s most impressive initiatives is its own 1500ft bore-hole, which supplies spring water as well as takes care of flushing toilets and cooling the building. The rooms also feature an occupancy detection system, which automatically detects when a guest leaves the room and minimises energy waste. The hotel’s energy loop system ensures that the energy is swapped around the hotel. For example, when a guest heats up their room, they also cool the hotel’s fridges. A sustainable rarity in Central London.

🌱 Takeaway: use of spring water, energy loop and occupancy detection systems

Septime in Paris, France  

Address: 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, France  

If you’re on a hunt for a sustainable dining experience, you absolutely have to stop by the award-winning Parisian restaurant Septime. Truth be told, you might need to book a few months in advance if you want to get a table – that’s how popular it is. In 2017, Septime won the Sustainable Restaurant Award and is continuously praised for its ethical sourcing efforts. Bertrand Grébaut, who is the restaurant’s chef and owner, sources all of his ingredients and meant from local Parisian farms. The menu itself is 80% vegetarian. However, when Grébaut uses meat, he makes sure every part of the animal is used in order to avoid waste. When it comes to fish, Septime focuses on sourcing from small-scale fishermen to avoid overfishing. What a gem!  

🌱 Takeaway: ethical and local food sourcing, vegetarian menu, food waste management

Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, USA 

Address: 704 Green Valley Rd, Greensboro, NC 27408, United States 

Located in North Carolina, Proximity Hotel leads the way in sustainability with its LEED Platinum certification. Featuring 100 solar panels on its roof, Proximity Hotel uses 40% less energy than its competitors. You can find more than 70 sustainable practices at Proximity, including the bistro bar made of salvaged walnut trees, refrigeration equipment using less water with geothermal energy, 7’4” windows in rooms for natural light, building materials used by regional vendors to reduce transportation, and more. Proximity Hotel takes it one step further than most – it also provides a wedding venue for those who wish to say their “I do” in the most eco-friendly way possible. A true inspiration.

🌱 Takeaway: LEED Platinum certification, solar and geothermal energies, repurposed materials

Narisawa in Tokyo, Japan 

Address: 2 Chome-6-15 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan  

Narisawa is all about connecting people with the Earth. Created by Yoshihiro Narisawa, the restaurant opened in 2003 and soon started to gain a positive reputation for its sustainability practices. Chef Narisawa’s dishes aren’t just seasonal, but they also visually represent societal and environmental issues such as global warming. Care, passion, and creativity is put into every single dish and every corner of the restaurant. There’s definitely a reason why Narisawa has been named in the ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ list – a well-deserved title indeed.

🌱 Takeaway: locally sourced foods, sustainable gastronomy

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Vanu Levu, Fiji 

Address: Lesiaceva Pt Road, Savusavu, Fiji  

Fiji resorts are amongst some of the best when it comes to embracing sustainability and providing eco-friendly services. The Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort features a wonderful organic garden where you can find pineapples, mangoes, coconuts, and guava. All wooden furniture comes from certified local forests and low-energy light bulbs are used throughout the resort. The resort’s founder, Jean-Michel Cousteau, is a world-recognised explorer with a clear passion for the environment and preserving the ocean. During their stay, guests can also take advantage of many sustainability courses offered by the resort in order to learn how to make their own homes more eco-friendly.

🌱 Takeaway: wood from certified local forests, low-energy light bulbs, sustainability courses

The Duke of Cambridge in London, UK

Address: 30 St Peter’s St, London N1 8JT, UK

Crowned as one of the most sustainable pubs in the UK, the Duke of Cambridge gastropub leads the way in eco-friendly hospitality practices. It’s Britain’s first and only certified organic pub, using ingredients provided by Riverford Organic Farms. “Waste not, want not” is the Duke of Cambridge’s biggest motto – the pub collects all of its food waste and uses it for its anaerobic digester to generate energy. Each piece of furniture is either recycled or repurposed. The Duke of Cambridge also makes sure it gives back to the community with frequent fundraisers and various charity donations.

🌱 Takeaway: certified organic pub, food waste management, recycling, repurposed materials

Caravan in London, UK 

Address: North Road, London N7 9DP, UK

Caravan is a beloved UK coffee shop, fully dedicated to making our world a greener place. Their Green Coffee team is focused on sustainable sourcing while also building long-term relationships with coffee farmers around the world. The shop is also devoted to sourcing many of its products in-house, including charcuterie, shrubs, soda, and Kombucha. As you can expect from an eco-friendly coffee shop, their cups are 100% compostable and customers who bring their own cup receive a 50p discount. Each year, Caravan also donates 1% of their total revenue to important environmental causes.

🌱 Takeaway: locally sourced ingredients, 100% compostable cups, discount for bringing your own coffee cup

Jetwing Surf in Arugambay, Sri Lanka 

Address: P20, Kottukal Road, Hidayapuram, Pottuvil 32500, Sri Lanka 

Inspired by nature, the Jetwing Surf resort is committed to providing luxurious eco-tourism to all its guests. The hotel itself has been created with palm leaves, sustainable wood, and dried iluk grass to make sure it does not negatively influence the vegetation around it. Iluk roofs play an important part in air ventilation while each room also features a steep roof pitch to prevent stagnation of warm air. The resort, therefore, doesn’t need to use air conditioning devices in any of its rooms. Other eco-friendly practices at the hotel include biologically treating all wastewater and soaking it back into the soil.

🌱 Takeaway: hotel built with palm leaves, sustainable wood, grass and roofs made of dried iluk, natural air conditioning system with steep roof pitches, water waste management

Three Camel Lodge in Gobi Desert, Mongolia 

Address: Gobi Desert, Mongolia  

That’s right – you can stay in a cosy lodge in the heart of the Gobi Desert. Not only does its exterior look incredibly inviting, the Three Camel Lodge fully embraces sustainability practices in order to provide its guests with an eco-friendly holiday. All plastic use is banned and the lodge itself is 100% solar-powered. Each piece of furniture is made of local materials and every item is dedicated to protecting wildlife. The lodge uses its profits to make sure winter months remain cosy for nomads who might find themselves struggling to find a place to stay.

🌱 Takeaway: solar energy, locally-made furniture, wildlife protection, welcoming nomads

Karijini Eco Retreat in Karijini National Park, Western Australia 

Address: National Park, Savannah Campground, off Weano Rd, Karijini WA 6751, Australia 

When you have ‘eco’ in your business name, you know you’re serious about sustainability. The Karijini Eco Retreat is perhaps one of the most unique sites to stay at when you’re exploring Karijini National Park. It features solar-powered tented suites that are semi-permanent – they can be taken down and erected in various remote areas. Natural ventilation is featured throughout and the retreat is committed to only using natural products.

🌱 Takeaway: solar energy, natural ventilation, use of natural and organic products

Nomad in Surry Hills, Australia 

Address: 16 Foster St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia 

If you’re looking to wine and dine in Australia without harming the environment, Nomad’s got your (and the nature’s) back. Focused on sustainable sourcing, Nomad prides itself on its seasonal menu featuring some of the best products found on the continent. Wine lovers can enjoy a range of flavours – the restaurant works with many growers who embrace organic practices. To minimise energy consumption and bring extra flavour to the menu, each dish is either woodfired or charcoal grilled. The restaurant also carbonates its water on-site and recycles all cooking oil to make biodiesel fuel. 

🌱 Takeaway: locally sourced food and ingredients, organic wine, wood-fired or charcoal-grilled dishes, water carbonation, cooking oil recycling to be transformed into biodiesel fuel

Church House Westminster, London, UK

Address: Great Smith St, London SW1P 3AZ, UK

Eco-friendly event venues are becoming more and more common, with Church House Westminster in London leading the way with its sustainable practices. Everything is recycled, all food is served fresh, water reduction devices are available in toilets, and green energy is used throughout the venue. Because of its central location, participants can easily reach the venue on foot. Each staff member and guest is encouraged to think about the environment and minimise waste whenever possible. From award ceremonies to special parties, exhibitions and more, Church House Westminster is the place to be if you’re looking to host an event with sustainability in mind.  

🌱 Takeaway: recycling, homemade and fresh food, water waste management, green energy

Heckfield Place in Hampshire, UK

Address: Heckfield Pl, Heckfield, Hook RG27 0LD , UK

Looking like a scene from a movie, Heckfield Place is an important reminder not to judge a book by its cover. The large building is committed to reducing waste wherever possible, with ground coffee featured in locally-made ceramic pots. Sustainable heating is an important part of the hotel, with biomass boilers burning wood pallets from a sustainable source. Natural materials are featured throughout and the hotel is focused on creating a biodynamic farm to embrace regenerative agriculture. Guests are able to book sustainability tours and various classes to learn more about Heckfield’s commitment to regeneration.  

🌱 Takeaway: waste management, sustainable heating, biomass boilers, regenerative agriculture (biodynamic farm), reclaimed wood, sustainability courses and tours

Whitepod in the Swiss Alps, Switzerland 

Address: Les Giettes, Des Cerniers, 1871 Monthey, Switzerland  

It doesn’t get any more nature-friendly than staying in the majestic Swiss Alps, does it? Whitepod is an eco-luxury hotel, bringing its guests a sustainable Alpine experience. The hotel features eco-friendly pods, made from a unique self-supporting framework. Each pod includes a wood stove for heating and all lighting provided uses LED bulbs. The hotel uses local spring water instead of bottled water and water-saving devices are in the palace on taps and showers to have minimal impact on the environment.

🌱 Takeaway: eco-friendly pods, wood stove for heating, LED bulbs, use of spring water, water waste management

The Green House in Dorset, United Kingdom 

Address: 4 Grove Rd, Bournemouth BH1 3AX, UK

The Green House is very serious about combining a luxury experience with innovative sustainability practices. In their own words, the hotel is designed to spoil its guests without spoiling anything else. It’s without a doubt one of the greenest hotels in the UK, featuring 100% wool carpets and eco beds in each room. Even their wallpaper is Forest Stewardship Council certified. Upcycled furniture, kitchen oil turned into fuel, composted coffee beans, a community vegetable garden, and more – sustainability truly plays an important part in The Green House’s day-to-day operations.

🌱 Takeaway: 100% wool carpets, eco beds, Forest Stewardship Council certified wallpaper, upcycled furniture, cooking oil recycling to be transformed into biodiesel fuel, composted coffee beans, community vegetable garden

Hotel Punta Islita, Costa Rica 

Address: Provincia de Guanacaste, Punta Islita, Costa Rica 

Hotel Punta Islita first opened its doors in 1994 and since then, it’s won many awards for its dedication to being as eco-friendly as possible. “Planet-friendly, people-positive” is its main mission, with a focus on wildlife conservation and reforestation. The hotel is also committed to local employment and maximising the potential of tourism while minimising the impact on the planet. As a destination, Costa Rica is extremely devoted to sustainability in hospitality – the government created The Certification of Sustainable Tourism (CST) which periodically assesses the businesses commitment to environmental health.

🌱 Takeaway: wildlife conservation, reforestation, local employment, minimal tourism impact

1 Hotels Central Park, New York City 

Address: 1414 6th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States 

Sustainable hotel chains are becoming more and more common, but 1 Hotels definitely stands out from the crowd. They’re extremely well known for their eco-friendly actions, including their popular plastic reduction programme. Almost every product, including room keys and hangers, are made from recycled materials. The hotels work with local food suppliers in order to provide guests with fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Shower timers are featured in every room and sustainability programs are frequently evaluated and improved.

🌱 Takeaway: plastic reduction programme, recycled room keys, upcycled materials, locally sourced food and ingredients, fresh and seasonal fruit and veggies, shower timers, water waste management

Kachi Lodge in Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia 

Address: 4CVG+5QV, Jirira, Bolivia  

Featuring scenic domes and breathtaking sights, Kachi is located at the foot of the Tunupa volcano. Set at an impressive altitude, it promises spectacular views and a truly unique eco-friendly experience. The domes are solar-powered, with lanterns provided for heating and lighting. All cuisine is local, coming from the Gustu restaurant, which is also committed to providing a better life for the underprivileged youth.

🌱 Takeaway: solar energy, heating lanterns, local cuisine

Bambu Indah

Address: Jl. Baung, Sayan, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia 

With its teak houses and bamboo ‘tents’ set among the treetops, the eco-centric luxury hotel Bambu Indah is a distinctive boutique hotel in Ubud, carefully curated by designers and long-term residents of Bali, John and Cynthia Hardy. In 2005, eleven antique Javanese bridal homes were brought to Bali, restored, and decorated with the finest details. The property was developed to the riverside, to pioneer a sustainable future with innovative, bespoke and luxurious bamboo structures for a truly one a kind experience. Privileging sustainability throughout the property, the restaurant has replaced plates with bamboo leaves, and straws with papaya stems. 

🌱 Takeaway: bamboo leaves instead of plates, straws with papaya stems, repurposed materials and furniture

Looking to learn more about sustainability and see how your hospitality business can make a positive impact on the environment? Join Otolo’s private sustainability group, managed by 50 Shades Greener, whose mission is to empower companies to reduce their carbon footprint and develop eco-friendly practices to save our planet.  

👉 What is your business doing right for the environment? Think about one initiative that you have implemented whether it’s for your employees, your customers or even yourself which helps reduce carbon footprint, achieve net-zero targets and help promote a more sustainable business – and share it with the group!