Whitbread sets science-based target to halve emissions intensity

The UK's largest hospitality company Whitbread, has pledged to halve emissions in the next seven years as part of an "industry-leading" science-based target.

Developed with assistance from the Carbon Trust, the emissions targets are aligned to the goals of the Paris Agreement

Developed with assistance from the Carbon Trust, the emissions targets are aligned to the goals of the Paris Agreement

Announced on Earth Day (22 April), the target plots a 50% reduction in carbon emissions intensity by 2025, which then rises to 88% by 2050. As a result, Whitbread-owned Premier Inn becomes the biggest hotel firm in the world – and the first in Europe – to set a science-based target.

Whitbread’s director of sustainability James Pitcher said: “Our sustainability programme is part of the way we operate at Whitbread and helps us to ensure we always act as a force for good. All responsible businesses must recognise - and address - the impact they have not simply because it is the right thing to do, but because there is no stronger foundation for any successful business than clear values and robust ethical principles.

“We are delighted to confirm our latest sustainability initiative will cut our greenhouse gas emissions intensity in half and we reaffirm our commitment to constantly challenging ourselves for new ways to become even more environmentally sustainable.”

Developed with assistance from the Carbon Trust, the emissions targets are aligned to the goals of the Paris Agreement and will drive improvements across Whitbread-owned and operated buildings, including Premier Inn hotels and restaurants and Costa-branded properties globally. Fleet emissions will also be targeted under the goal.

Investment areas

The science-based target focuses on removing all gas use in new-build Premier Inn hotels, instead focusing on procuring green gas deals. Solar installations and uptake in electric, hybrid and alternatively-fuelled vehicles have both been earmarked as areas of investment to help reach the commitment.

Commenting on the announcement, the Carbon Trust’s associate director Dominic Burbridge said: “We have been working with Whitbread on carbon reduction for over a decade. Throughout that time, the company has consistently been at the forefront of best practice for sustainability within the hospitality sector.

“The company has strong plans for delivering it in a way that makes good business sense. This will help Whitbread reap the benefits of improved energy efficiency, the switch to clean energy and green heat, and use of low carbon transportation.”

Whitbread has already switched 100,000 light bulbs to more energy-efficient models across its estate, while solar panels and smart heating have been installed to minimise energy consumption at Premier Inn hotels.

Last year, Whitbread agreed a renewable energy tariff with SSE covering all of the firm’s purchased electricity, meaning the company is powered by 100% renewable energy in the UK, with the exception of 15 Whitbread sites where small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) units have been installed.

Costa Coffee last week strengthened its position as an industry leader in sustainability, after making a bold commitment to recycle the equivalent of its entire annual sales of takeaway cups – at a financial cost to the business.


Whitbread at edie Live

Whitbread’s director of sustainability James Pitcher will be appearing at edie Live to discuss the company’s "force for good" programme. Appearing on the Sustainability Keynote stage, Pitcher will also explore the role of collaboration in improving supply chain resiliency.

Running between 22–23 May 2018, edie Live plans to show delegates how they can achieve their Mission Possible. Through the lens of energy, resources, the built environment, mobility and business leadership an array of expert speakers will be on hand to inspire delegates to achieve a sustainable future.

For more information and to register for edie Live 2018, click here.


Matt Mace


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