citizenM secures Sustainability Linked Loan with aim to reduce environmental impact

WORLDWIDE: citizenM has secured a dual currency €243.3M and £201.7M Sustainability Linked Loan (SLL).

WORLDWIDE: citizenM has secured a dual currency €243.3M and £201.7M Sustainability Linked Loan (SLL).

The loan is with HSBC UK and HSBC Continental Europe, ABN AMRO Bank NV and Aareal Bank.

The completion of the loan means citizenM is one of the first European hospitality businesses to adopt the SLL funding structure.

By refinancing existing debt as a SLL, citizenM aims to reduce its environmental impact and drive continued sustainable growth. Green funding is often seen as a way to attract further investment for future growth as sustainability rises in importance for ESG and corporate sustainability targets.

Klaas van Lookeren Campagne, chief executive officer at citizenM, says: “At citizenM, we take sustainability seriously. We seek to build and operate hotels that minimise our impact on the environment, and it is important to us that our ongoing commitment to sustainability is reflected in every facet of our business. For this reason, we are immensely proud to have secured sustainability-linked funding, particularly given the complexity of the transaction, completed by a diverse lender group across Europe.”

The funding was provided equally by ABN AMRO Bank N.V., Aareal Bank and HSBC (UK and Continental Europe), with HSBC UK acting as facility agent and HSBC Continental Europe acting as Sustainability Linked Loan Co-ordinator.

Elizabeth Davies, head of hotels at HSBC UK, says: “We’re very proud to have completed this deal with citizenM. With its high profile in the hospitality sector, we expect that citizenM’s relatively early adoption of the Sustainability Linked Loan will help to drive further market adoption, as hospitality groups seek to demonstrate a serious commitment to creating positive impacts on the environment.”

Fred Bos head commercial clients sector, sustainability and E&E expertise at ABN AMRO, says: “We see climate change as the greatest threat to humanity. We view this cooperation as a positive step towards the prevention of climate change and as an opportunity to grow our loan book in a responsible way. We look forward to scaling what we have achieved with this financing structure more widely across the highly attractive hotel industry.”

citizenM launched in 2008 and operates 31 hotels worldwide across 18 cities and 9 countries, with a further 14 in development. In Europe the key target cities for new sites are London, Paris, Milan, Rome, Dublin, Munich, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, and Barcelona.

The company has a firm commitment to sustainability targets and continued improvement to its existing green building certifications.

citizenM requires all its new-build hotels to achieve at least BREEAM-NC Excellent (ideally – Outstanding) accreditation or LEED-BD+C Gold (ideally – Platinum) rating. For redevelopments or existing buildings, the company aims for BREEAM-NC Very Good and LEED-BD+C Silver (at least).

Other sustainability processes by citizenM include:

– 100 per cent of its hotel electricity in Europe and UK comes from renewable energy sources
– energy, emissions and water consumption has been third party assured – to make sure figures are right
– citizenM stopped putting plastic water bottles in guest rooms and societyM meeting rooms. This has mean using 1.7 million fewer plastic bottles per year. 
– It donates 3 euros to our charity when a guest staying two nights or more skip their room clean
– Only LED lights are used, from the bedrooms to the kitchens
– BMS means once a guest checks out, the lights in their room switch off automatically. Also all areas of the hotels have individual light and temperature controls – so it only heats and cools according to use
– citizenM tracks waste and recycling rates in every hotel
– with its partners, citizenM reduces food waste by 70 per cent with intelligent portioning and packaging
– citizenM signed up to the TooGoodToGo app to sell breakfast buffet leftovers which would otherwise go to waste.

You can read more about what citizenM does with its ESG programme here.

TUI aims for all hotels and resorts to be zero carbon by 2030

WORLDWIDE: TUI has pledged its hotels and resorts worldwide will reach carbon zero emissions by 2030.

WORLDWIDE: TUI has pledged its hotels and resorts worldwide will reach carbon zero emissions by 2030.

The company has also committed to reduce its emissions on its cruises and airlines package holidays over the next seven years, and aims to be net zero across all operations and supply chains by 2050.

For the hotels and resorts, this means working with renewable energy and practising resource saving operational activities. As well as reducing food waste by 25 per cent by 2030, in the next two years TUI aims to eliminate all “unnecessary” plastic packaging and items. 

TUI is using science-based stats as a baseline for its sustainability efforts starting from its reporting and stats from 2019, and is working with the GSTC to achieve its sustainability goals. 

TUI’s agenda is built on its long standing historical efforts with 54m holidays delivered to hotels independently certified as sustainable between 2015 – 2022. A quarter of TUI hotels already generate green power on-site from solar and the company wants to enable 20m customers by 2030 to be able to book a sustainable stay – so it will be interesting to see what happens with the booking process (Google and offer a sustainable stay search option).

Sebastian Eble CEO Tui Group says: “Sustainability is a top priority for me personally and for TUI. We have proven in the past that we have the expertise and the right approach to make tourism more sustainable. That’s why we don’t see sustainability as a threat – for us, it’s an opportunity. We wanted to be led by the latest climate science, which is why we are working with the Science Based Targets initiative.”

As an experiment into sustainable practices TUI also has its development on Rhodes, which is being used to create a beacon for sustainable tourism. The project is run with both the TUI Group and the government of the South Agean, the Greek Government and TUI Care Foundation. The five year experiment which began in 2022 has 27 projects being tested for measurements and statistics to create a blueprint for future sustainable hotels and resorts. Actions at the Rhodes development include reducing plastic, and food waste, roadmaps to make the island carbon neutral and up-skilling tourism workers. 

For more information on TUI’s sustainable efforts and roadmap see the PDF on the Sustainability page on the website.

Relais & Chateaux publishes first sustainability report

FRANCE: Relais & Chateaux, the French association of 580 luxury hotels and restaurants, has just published its first sustainability report.

FRANCE: Relais & Chateaux, the French association of 580 luxury hotels and restaurants, has just published its first sustainability report.

The document, which has been written after analysing results from half of the 580 properties which took part in the report, looks at the environmental, social, and societal impact the group has on the world, and defines 15 goals for 2025 and 2030 based on three core pillars: environmental conservation, sustainable cuisine and social and societal empowerment. 

The 89-page Sustainability Report: In Search of Hospitality in Harmony with the Natural World (baseline year 2021) aims to measure and share the association’s progress, as well as focusing on the positive impact its independent chefs, hoteliers and restaurateurs can have on sustainability.

Philippe Gombert president, Relais & Chateau and owner Chateau de la Treyne said: “I am deeply proud our association of 580 independent hoteliers, restaurateurs and chefs appreciates that hospitality must operate in harmony with the natural world. We have been working regeneratively long before that became a buzzword. Now, as the world faces the grim realities of climate change, it is time to consolidate our progress and accelerate the pace of change as we enter a new, critical phase in humankind’s relationship with nature. Against this context, our first sustainability report is published so that we can openly and transparently share our successes, acknowledge our challenges, set ambitious new goals for all our properties and showcase to the world the positive contribution that hospitality can–and must–make for future generations.”

The report provides a comprehensive snapshot of members’ sustainability practices and has sections on progress, such as how many of the United Nation’s SDG’s the group is meeting with a score against the ones they are committed to.

Page 23 of the report also has a detailed map – that of a tree dissected, with the growth rings showing the complexity of the process to cover all aspects of the groups’ impact on the environment. 

Not all properties in the 580 have replied to the first round of sustainability questions for the report and it is the hope of Oliver Roellinger, vice president, Relais & Chateaux, cook and owner Les Maisons de Bricourt that all properties will be part of the process for future annual sustainability reports.

Roellinger said: “It was a great success that half of our 580 properties responded to our first questionnaire, which measured activity in 2021. But it’s our ambition that all member properties respond each year, to reach the goals we are setting for ourselves. We want the data to be accurate and as robust and reflective of the association as possible– that way we can drive the necessary transition into a regenerative future.”

With the adoption of their sustainable development action plan, Relais & Chateaux will measure the progress of its members in a comprehensive annual report developed with engineers and sustainable development experts. 

The full report can be found in full on the Relais & Chateau website’s Sustainability section.

In September luxury hotel group Kempinski also published its first ESG report.

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts joins Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts is the latest hotel group to join the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts is the latest hotel group to join the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, which operates 26 properties across the Middle East, Europe and Asia, already operates a range of sustainability initiatives for the environment and community engagement.

Jumeirah’s environmental initiatives include working to eliminate single-use plastics beginning with the removal of plastic straws, and transitioning to sustainable packaging across its hotels.

The Group has begun to roll out onsite water bottling and filtration systems, which have removed over nine million single-use plastic bottles from reaching landfill, or the sea, per year. 

Thomas B. Meier, chief operating officer of Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts said: “Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts is committed to identifying and co-creating new ways to incorporate sustainable and inclusive practices across our business ecosystem, to shape the best possible future where everyone can thrive. The hospitality industry touches many communities and industries worldwide, and we believe we have the opportunity with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance to bring about transformative change, by working alongside our industry peers and finding practical solutions that will ultimately set the foundations for long term value creation and sustainable growth.”

Jumeirah played a pivotal role in protecting biodiversity through its Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, releasing more than 2,000 rehabilitated turtles back to their natural habitat, combined with free environmental education programmes for school children.

Other initiatives include setting up an on-site hydroponic farm to supply fresh produce to their restaurants which uses 70 per cent less water per yield, and implementing innovative food tech systems to not only help reduce waste but also convert the waste to fertiliser for local use.

Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, said: “Each new member brings a unique perspective and set of experiences which complement our existing community of responsible businesses, which enables us to better support the wider hotel industry around the world – at all stages of their sustainability journeys. We are delighted to welcome Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts to the Alliance and look forward to their insights and contribution as, together, we support the industry to achieve net positive hospitality.”

By joining the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, Jumeirah has become part of the world’s leading responsible hospitality network, with a reach of more than seven million rooms, along with strategic and supply chain partners to create shared solutions for environmental and social challenges.

The Alliance’s work includes climate action, water stewardship and responsible resourcing, alongside human rights, employability and equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Last week Choice Hotels became one of the largest members of the Alliance.

A Glossary for Sustainable Hotels

Photo by Daniel Watson on

This is a growing tree of acronyms and information and we will be adding to it frequently.

Alternative Energy or AE: Any energy that does not harm the environment or use up the Earth’s natural resources.

Blackwater: Contaminated waste water from toilets, sinks and kitchens.

​​BMS systems: A BMS monitors, controls and reports on smart building technology systems to control HVAC (heating ventilation and air con) and lighting systems and efficient water systems.

BREEAM certification: Globally accepted as a certification process for a sustainably designed building. BREEAM is a certification system for a sustainable built environment with nine criteria including energy, health and wellbeing, ecology and waste. It’s a bit like LEED. They just have different processes to get to their criteria. As part of the government’s Construction Strategy, it is now a requirement for all public projects to undergo an environmental assessment; achieving an Excellent BREEAM rating.

BREEAM In-Use: With BREEAM In-Use the owner, manager or property investor fills out an online self-assessment tool. Property investors, owners, managers and occupiers determine how to drive sustainable improvements in the operational performance of their assets, leading to benchmarking, assurance and validation of their operational asset data.

Carbon Footprint: Emissions of greenhouse gases from an individual or business. Measured in tons. Most businesses are aiming to be carbon neutral.

Carbon Neutral: This is when a business achieves net-zero carbon emissions, which means it can offset or balance its carbon footprint or buy carbon credits to make up the difference.

Carbon Offset: When you buy credits to offset or balance the carbon you are producing.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Where companies and businesses take on social and environmental concerns when planning their operations. 

Earth Check a standard / accreditation for sustainable hotels which uses internationally recognised criteria to report on areas including environment, risk and quality management.

Eco Hotel: A hotel which, with its operations and practices, is deemed not harmful to the environment. Worth asking how and why they are an eco hotel.

Embodied Carbon: Carbon emissions which happen during the building, development or renovation of a building. This is by far the largest amount of carbon emissions to focus on when thinking about hotels – the operational carbon emissions are much smaller than embodied carbon.

ESG: Environmental Social Governance – this phrase is all around us at the moment and is interchangeable with CSR. It means a company has to be socially and environmentally responsible in its strategies and can be held to account by its own self governance.

EMS: Environmental Management System.

EU Ecolabel: As its website says “the official European Union voluntary label for environmental excellence. Established in 1992 and recognised across Europe and worldwide, the EU Ecolabel certifies products with a guaranteed, independently-verified low environmental impact.”

Gigawatt: a gigawatt is a unit of measurement of electrical power and is often talked about when discussing Solar energy. It takes three million solar panels to create 1 gigawatt of power (and that energy can be stored and then dispersed). A gigawatt is the equivalent to 10 million 100 watt light bulbs or 100 million LED lightbulbs.

Green Building: Any building – hotel, school, house – that creates a positive impact on the environment with its design and construction and subsequent operations. There is no global standard but there is the World Green Building Council, which supports its members to help them create green buildings suited to the environment they are in.

Greenwashing: A term used when companies suggest they are greener than they are to sell their products. 

Green Key: Another award for environmental standards  – this one is a “voluntary eco-label awarded to more than 3,600 hotels and other establishments in 60 countries.” The other establishments include campsites, hostels, restaurants and conference centres. Operated by the Foundation of Environmental Education.

Green Globe: Established nearly 30 years ago this is another certification for sustainable hotel and tourism operation practices. If hotels adhere to the strict criteria they get the Green Globe International Standard for sustainable tourism.

ISO14001: an environmental management system standard. ISO 14001 Environmental Management provides guidance on how manage all aspects of a business from building to operations to product development and more. The idea is to be more sustainable and improve environmental performance for regulatory compliance and the ability to meet supplier requirements.

LEED certification: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a globally recognized green building rating system. It’s a bit like BREEAM. It provides a framework for being environmentally friendly, to produce lower carbon emissions and be healthier for people who use it and in the community. It’s a complex process but these are some of the points which have to be checked and certified. Sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality. You can get up to 110 points on your LEED certificate depending on what levels of sustainability you achieve. There are four levels:

  1. 40-49 points LEED Certified.
  2. 50-59 points Silver Certification
  3. 60-70 points Gold Certification
  4. 80+ points Platinum Certification

Net Zero Water: When a building or community only used the water that falls on its location.

SATE External Thermal Insulation System: When buildings are thermally and acoustically insulated from the outside making them more environmentally friendly through saving energy and preserving temperatures on the inside.

Sustainability: Achieving an ecological balance in the natural environment as resources are used. Basically keeping at a level which is sustainable for the environment. Or according to the United Nations: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

Zero Waste: When there is no waste – waste might be composted or reused or repurposed but nothing is chucked in landfill.