Premier Inn to open first all-electric property this year

UK: Premier Inn will open its first all-electric property this year, as its owner Whitbread’s net zero target is validated by SBTi.

UK: Premier Inn will open its first all-electric property this year, as its owner Whitbread’s net zero target is validated by SBTi.

The company, which owns Premier Inn, has released The Whitbread Net Zero Transition Plan, which outlines priorities, plans and projects to reach its newly validated SBTi carbon target. 

Whitbread’s net zero target has been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). To achieve SBTi validation, the ambition of the Scope 3 targets is greater than in the published Net Zero Transition Plan, although the actions within the plan remain unchanged and equally valid. Scope 3 emissions are, after all, the tricky ones and the biggest emission area to harness and reduce.

Part of the Net Zero Transition Plan includes 100 per cent renewable electricity to be purchased across the entire Whitbread estate by 2026, where possible. Before that date, however, the first all-electric Premier Inn hotel will open in Swindon later this year. The Swindon hotel (pictured above) will be fully heated and powered by renewable electricity (grid and on-site), is built with market-leading insulation, energy efficient equipment and new water-heating technology such as the Mitsubishi Q-ton heat pump.

The Net Zero Transition Plan also goes into the details of how Whitbread is bringing its directly controlled (Scope 1 and 2 emissions) to net zero by 2040, and removing mains gas connection from the existing estate by 2040. 

The plan cites removing mains gas from its existing estate where possible, including more than 800 Premier Inn hotels, using a wide range of initiatives to embed decarbonisation throughout the business. Initiatives include the installation of Air Source Heat Pumps, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, only using renewable energy and the installation of more energy-efficient kitchen equipment. 

Dominic Paul, Whitbread CEO, said: “Our Net Zero plan is integral to our business plan. Setting ambitious carbon reduction targets across Whitbread supports our people recruitment and retention, attracts more customers and has a positive impact on our local communities and suppliers. We are in a strong position as one of the few hospitality businesses to own its assets to leverage our rate of change and be confident of delivering our low carbon ambitions.”

The release of the Net Zero Plan follows more than a decade of activity to drive down emissions, which has seen the company reduce its direct operational GHG emissions by 52.5 per cent so far. Earlier this month Sustainable Hotel News reported on Premier Inn cutting water consumption by 20 per cent per guest.

Rosana Elias, head of sustainability, added: “We have been working on reducing our climate impact for a while and have successfully trialled the installation of air source heat pumps in 40 of our hotels and use solar power across over 20 per cent of our estate. Today’s plan doubles down on our commitment to reinvent budget hotels for the net zero age.”

The plan is being driven by the firm’s Force for Good sustainability programme, and its commitments and initiatives include:

Interim targets by 2030 to reduce Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 80 per cent per m2 and Scope 3 emissions by 58 per cent per m2 by 2030
100 per cent of new UK self-build developments constructed to net zero specifications from 2026.
Trial of a shadow cost of carbon in selected investment decisions.
Entire corporate car fleet in operation to be 100 per cent EV by 2030.
Working with a specialist food consultancy to measure the impact of embedded soy in Whitbread’s supply chain

Elias added: “We want to provide sustainable and affordable accommodation and dining options, allowing our guests to make choices that align with their values without having to compromise on the product and service they receive. We don’t claim to have all the answers now, but our plan will evolve over time and evolve as the technologies and policies that we rely on for success develop further.”

Image: All-electric Premier Inn Swindon to open later this year. Courtesy of Whitbread.

Mansley Serviced Apartments achieves Silver rating from Green Tourism

UK: Mansley Serviced Apartments has announced all seven of its properties have received a Silver rating from Green Tourism.

UK: Mansley Serviced Apartments has announced all seven of its properties have received a Silver rating from Green Tourism.

Green Tourism is a certification programme, which recognises and promotes sustainable practices in the tourism industry. The accreditation criteria are based on internationally recognised sustainability standards and guidelines, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The assessment process involved looking at Mansley’s energy and water consumption, as well as how it communicated awareness for ESG, how staff are treated, the guest experience and the low carbon and eco-friendly activities the business promotes. 

Mansley had to demonstrate its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, implement energy-efficient measures and adopt sustainable waste management solutions. The business was also evaluated on its commitment to protecting local ecosystems, promoting biodiversity and supporting local communities.

As well as operating serviced apartments, By Mansley owns more than 1,200 acres of commercial forest, which are part of the Forestry Stewardship Council and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. The idea is that the forests offset the carbon emissions from the business, as well as Mansely practising carbon capturing, which has resulted in 9,000 m3 carbon captured since 2021.

Mansley will be assessed on an annual basis to ensure the standard is maintained or improved. The business will use Green Tourism’s Green Check Action Plan to review targets and progress and the plan will be reviewed regularly and shared.

A spokesperson said: “We are delighted to announce that all seven Mansley Serviced Apartments properties have received Silver rating from Green Tourism. We take our ESG responsibilities very seriously and will be taking on board the assessors reports and aiming for gold next time around. The assessment looks at every area of the business and it has been a big team effort to collate all of the information. Well done to all those involved in gaining this achievement.”

Mansley Serviced Apartments are located in London, Edinburgh, Inverness and Cheltenham. The company has another site coming soon in York, with construction beginning this year.

Image: Pexels Free Images

Nature-inspired 1 Hotels to open in Mayfair

UK: Luxury lifestyle hotel brand 1 Hotels has announced the opening of its debut property in the UK, in London’s Mayfair, this July. 

UK: Luxury lifestyle hotel brand 1 Hotels has announced the opening of its debut property in the UK, in London’s Mayfair, this July. 

SH Hotels & Resorts manages the 1 Hotels brand, as well as Baccarat Hotels, Treehouse Hotels and SH Collection. 1 Hotels is its sustainable offering and the Mayfair property is described as a nine-story “sustainable sanctuary” overlooking Green Park. 

Barry Sternlicht, 1 Hotels founder and chairman of SH Hotels & Resorts said: “We are delighted to bring nature and our mission of sustainable luxury to Mayfair, the very heart of London, one of the most important travel markets in the world. We are thrilled to bring our unique fusion of fresh comfort, conscious sustainability, exceptional bespoke service, understated elegance, wellness and nutrition to London.”

Opting for reconstruction over new construction, the hotel has been built to BREEAM Excellent standards, and has utilised 80 per cent of the existing structure.

All of 1 Hotels US operated properties are 100 per cent certified carbon neutral since 2018, and the brand has offset 19,171 tons of C02 (the equivalent of 49,145,794 miles driven by an average diesel car).

SH Hotels & Resorts chief executive officer Raul Leal said: “We’ve reimagined the traditional luxury hotel experience for Mayfair by infusing our love for nature with effortless sophistication. With this opening we celebrate our distinctive brand’s entry into Europe and the dynamic and culturally rich city of London.”

All 181 rooms, including 44 suites of the Mayfair hotel, has walls lined with native British moss and there are more than 200 local and regional plant species throughout the property. Living green-trellised exterior walls transform former hard surfaces into natural vertical landscapes. 

The restaurant, Dovetale, from two Michelin starred chef Tom Sellers will feature seasonal, organic, locally sourced ingredients. 

For the full list of locations of the 1 Hotels brand as well as hotels coming to Europe and the US soon, click here.

Image: 1 Hotels, Mayfair

Highgate publishes first ESG report

WORLDWIDE: Real estate investment and hospitality management company Highgate has outlined a series of sustainability goals in its first ESG report. Mark Caswell reports.

WORLDWIDE: Real estate investment and hospitality management company Highgate has outlined a series of sustainability goals in its first ESG report. Mark Caswell reports.

The group’s portfolio comprises over 80,000 rooms across more than 500 owned and/or managed hotels in the US, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean, with nearly half of its properties falling under the Marriott family of brands.

The ESG report highlights that more than 200 of Highgate’s hotels are now powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, through investment in Green-e certified renewable energy certificates (RECs). Green-e focuses on clean energy and carbon offset certification, helping businesses (and individuals) to purchase verified clean energy.

Other areas of focus for the group’s sustainability programme include requiring its hotels to install smart thermostats in guest rooms, and 100 per cent LED lighting, as well as reducing food and landfill waste, eliminating single use plastics and supporting biodiversity projects.

Highgate is also performing an analysis of onsite solar and battery storage opportunities across its portfolio, and by the end of this year all full-service properties will offer parking areas with electric vehicle charging stations.

Highgate said that it had cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 21.8 per cent and energy use by more than 170,000 megawatt hours (MWh) when comparing 2021 with 2019. To put that into perspective, one megawatt hour (MWh) is the same as 1,000 kilowatts of electricity generated per hour. Over the next two years the group will be collecting environmental data from its suppliers, including greenhouse gas emissions metrics.

Individual properties, which have been highlighted in the report include the Alohilani Resort, which recently became the first hotel in Hawaii to commit to the internationally recognised PAS 2060 Standard for Carbon Neutrality. PAS 2060 was developed by the British Standards Institution in 2009 to create a common definition and method to achieve carbon neutral status. Alohilani Resort has partnered with the Hawaii Legacy Reforestation Initiative to reforest more than 1,200 acres of trees, and has installed water bottle refill stations throughout the property. 

Other hotels of note are, The Graduate Roosevelt Island, which was awarded LEED Silver certification for new construction, and the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA, which completed a property renovation using 60 per cent of products made from recycled, sustainably harvested or rapidly renewable materials. Check out our Glossary of Sustainable Hotel terms for more information on some of these phrases.

As well as Highgate’s sustainable practices the ESG report highlights the group’s work on diversity, equality and inclusion, including its ‘Opening Doors Together culture’ which aims to “support a culture where all associates are accepted, valued and encouraged to fully engage with each other and the Company”.

The company has also launched a self-paced learning “designed to expand learners’ understanding of various types of bias and microaggressions”, with the training including during the on-boarding of new employees.

Commenting on the report, Highgate’s CEO Arash Azarbarzin, said: “We all share an urgent responsibility to reduce our impact on climate change, and this is especially true for the hospitality industry. Highgate is very proud to be a leader on this front by presenting this analysis that can serve as a roadmap to help drive hospitality management toward a net-zero future without compromising the guest experience.”

The full ESG document can be read here.

Report by contributing editor, Mark Caswell.

Image: Reception Alohilani Resort – Courtesy of Alohilani Resort Gallery

Hilton recognised for global leadership in sustainability

WORLDWIDE: Hilton has been recognised for its global leadership in sustainability, in the World and North America Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), the prestigious ranking for corporate sustainability performance. 

WORLDWIDE: Hilton has been recognised for its global leadership in sustainability, in the World and North America Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), the prestigious ranking for corporate sustainability performance. 

This is the sixth consecutive year Hilton has been included in the indices, which recognises performance across long-term economic, environmental and social criteria. 

Hilton scored in the 100th percentile in the Hotels, Resorts and Cruise Lines category— an accomplishment that reflects Hilton’s rigorous investment and continued progress towards its environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, Travel with Purpose.”

In addition to Hilton’s rankings with DJSI, the global hospitality leader has also been recognised by EcoVadis with a Gold Medal designation, representing its place among the top five per cent of more than 100,000 companies analysed. 

Hilton has been recognised by EcoVadis since 2012 and was most recently awarded with a Silver Medal designation in 2021. EcoVadis is one of the world’s largest and most trusted providers of business sustainability ratings.

Hilton’s Gold Medal designation, a first for the company, is based on its performance across 21 sustainability criteria covering four major themes: environment, labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement. Hilton’s procurement arm, Hilton Supply Management, continues to make significant advances in the company’s responsible sourcing initiatives.

Erica Gordon, senior vice president and global head of public affairs & ESG, Hilton said: “Hilton is proud to have received these two prestigious recognitions from S&P Global and EcoVadis, which serve as markers of Hilton’s continued dedication towards protecting and preserving the environments where we operate, driving positive social impact in the communities we serve and building a more sustainable world for the future.”

Hilton’s greenhouse gas emissions goals, which aim to cut emissions intensity by 75 per cent in its managed hotels, and emissions intensity by 56 per cent, by 2030 in franchised properties, have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). SBTi is a global body enabling businesses to set ambitious emissions reductions targets in line with the latest climate science.

Jean Garris Hand, vice president of global ESG, Hilton said: “These recognitions from S&P Global and EcoVadis are powerful illustrations of the progress we are making on our ESG journey, and I couldn’t be prouder of our Travel With Purpose team and all of our champions who demonstrate that hospitality can be a powerful force for good. As climate science continues to evolve, recognitions like these validate the work of Hilton teams who are more committed than ever towards our Travel With Purpose goals.”

In July this year Hilton updated its ESG targets in sustainability push.

Image: Hilton Hotels