“Sharing is the solution for improvement” and “Only by talking the same language can the industry raise its standards”. These are just two of Whitbread’s ten ‘Recommendations for Action’, pushed by the hotelier and restaurateur in a new report called Future of Sustainable Hospitality.

The call to action is based on the outcome of a debate the firm held with around 50 experts from the hospitality and sustainability arena.

Top of the list of recommendations is pooling knowledge and expertise and the need to unlock barriers to ensure that the benefits of investment in research and development (R&D) can be maximised for the greater benefit of the industry and the environment.

The conclusions were drawn from the discussions led by Simon Calder, The Independent‘s travel editor and Will Day, head of the Sustainable Development Commission. Jan Peter Bergkvist, SleepWell’s sustainability adviser, Dominic Burbridge, senior manager for hospitality at the Carbon Trust and Mark Anderson, Whitbread’s property director – who is leading on the roll out of Whitbread’s sustainable buildings programme across its 580 UK hotels – also made valuable contributions. “We’re serious about sustainability at Whitbread and we’re not only applying the expertise that we already have in the business but are keen to reach out and grasp new ideas too,” says Anderson. “Finding fresh insights into how we can change and improve what we do – that’s what the debate was all about.

“We all know that sustainability is a big issue for us and guests in our own Premier Inns have told us they would like us to do more. The challenge is finding the right solutions. We now have ten important recommendations for action that we can build upon.”

The initiative is part of Whitbread’s Good Together Corporate Responsibility programme which was launched in 2009 alongside targets the business set for itself on sustainability, environmental and corporate responsibility objectives. The strategy is to: reduce CO2 emissions by 26% by 2020; achieve 80% of waste diverted from landfill from Whitbread hotels and restaurants sites by February 2012; ensure that 100% of all Costa Coffee production would be Rainforest Alliance certified by June 2010; achieve 3,000 qualifications from Whitbread Hotels & Restaurant Apprenticeship scheme and have 400 Costa learners trained by the end of 2011; raise £1M for WaterAid; and enable 15,000 children to be educated as part of the Costa Foundation.

“The hospitality sector has a big footprint so there is a big opportunity to demonstrate leadership,” added Will Day. “Unless we start to raise standards on sustainability in line with the recommendations, we are going to endanger the long-term competitiveness of the sector as well as the prospects for the planet.”


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