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Green hospitality: 5 sustainable practices for eco-friendly hotels

Written by
Poppy Stringer
4
min read
February 1, 2024

In an era where environmental consciousness is at the forefront of global concerns, the hospitality industry has a significant role to play in adopting sustainable practices. Hotels, being key players in the travel and tourism sector, can make a substantial impact by embracing eco-friendly initiatives. 

On average, just one night in a hotel in London for a single guest generates 11.5kg of CO2, and in the Maldives that skyrockets to over 152.2kg per night 

UK Government GHG Conversion Factors 2023

Just one hotel room generates between 10 to 13 tonnes of CO2 a year which is over 100,000 footballs of CO2 released into the atmosphere from a single hotel room in a building which can have over 300 rooms. (that's over 30 million footballs of CO2!) 

That's a LOT of CO2

Hotels alone contribute to 1% of global carbon dioxide emissions, making it a priority to ensure they become more eco-friendly (especially when compared to aviation emissions are only 2%)

While it's essential for hotels to prioritise eco-friendliness to contribute to mitigating the carbon crisis, it is equally significant in driving business. More than 65% of customers express concern about the environmental impact of their hospitality choices, making sustainable practices a key factor in attracting and retaining customers.

In this blog, we will explore various sustainable practices that hotels can adopt to reduce their environmental footprint whilst also enhancing guest experiences.

Energy efficiency 

One of the primary areas where hotels can make a difference is in energy consumption. Implementing energy-efficient measures not only helps the environment but also reduces operational costs. Hotels can invest in LED lighting, motion sensors, and energy-efficient appliances. 

Switching to LED lighting has the potential to reduce your carbon footprint by 50-70%. LED lights can consume 90% less energy than regular lights, meaning that you are saving money and lowering your carbon footprint at the same time.

Additionally, harnessing renewable energy sources such as solar panels can further decrease reliance on conventional power grids. Once solar panels are installed they have minimal upkeep and are a great way to reduce the negative impact energy consumption and production have on the environment as they are completely renewable and release no greenhouse gasses. 

Sustainable sourcing and local partnerships

Hotels can support local economies and reduce their carbon footprint by sourcing products locally and sustainably. Whilst this applies to products such as toiletries and linens it is particularly important when it comes to food.

A 3-course meal, which you would likely find in a nice hotel restaurant, generates 8 kg of CO2.  To try and keep this number down hotel restaurants should focus on;

  • Prioritising locally sourced and seasonal ingredients to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation.
  • Choosing organic and sustainably produced ingredients to support environmentally friendly farming practices.
  • Consider plant-based menu options to reduce the carbon emissions associated with meat and dairy production.

Some of the more carbon-friendly foods are often plant-based, as seen in the chart below;

So focusing on offering delicious plant-based meal options is a great way for hotels to bring down their overall carbon footprint. 

Additionally, 82% of people have stated they would like to see hotels, cafes and restaurants offer a low-carbon menu so having this in place would also benefit business. 

Reduce waste 

Hotels generate significant amounts of waste, including food waste, packaging, and disposable amenities. To put it in perspective, food waste emissions have been estimated to be as high as 8% of total GHG emissions versus total airline travel emissions to be 3%.

To address this issue, hotels can adopt a comprehensive waste management system that includes recycling programs, composting, and waste reduction initiatives. Using biodegradable and compostable materials for disposable items can further minimise the environmental impact.

In terms of food waste food scraps should be composted and if you have the space on site consider making your own compost bin as this would keep transportation emissions down whilst also helping the circular economy. 

Eco-friendly transportation options 

Encouraging guests to use eco-friendly transportation options, such as local buses and trains, can help reduce the carbon footprint associated with travel. 

To put it in perspective, every 25 miles of the average car, creates enough cc2 that would take a mangrove sapling over 1 year to remove.

Additionally, many great hotels have bike stations on-site which encourages customers to explore their surroundings sustainably without relying on taxis which emit higher levels of CO2. 

Additionally, hotels can offer electric vehicle charging stations and provide shuttle services using fuel-efficient or electric vehicles.

It’s the small things that do matter.

Countering carbon emissions 

Carbon emissions are inevitable, and whilst hospitality businesses can implement sustainable practices there is no way to run a business without emitting any greenhouse gasses (yet!). Therefore, ensuring your hotel counters its carbon emissions is the most crucial step in keeping it eco-friendly. 

Purchasing humanitarian carbon reduction and removal credits, planting trees, and preventing ocean plastic are some of the best ways to reduce a hotel's negative climate impact. 

With SKOOT you can counter your hotel's carbon footprint whilst also helping communities in need, visit our website today to check out how to offset your carbon. 

By embracing sustainable practices, hotels not only contribute to global environmental conservation but also meet the growing demand for responsible and eco-friendly travel experiences. The implementation of these initiatives not only benefits the planet but also enhances the reputation of hotels as responsible and forward-thinking establishments. As travellers become more environmentally conscious, sustainable practices will play a crucial role in shaping the future of the hospitality industry.

Poppy Stringer

Our eco-conscious blog writer. Passionate about sustainability, she's on a mission to combat ecosystem decline with insightful blogs, driven by her concern for the planet's future.