Sustainable tourism is not just a rising trend in the travel industry. It is also rapidly establishing itself as a priority (if not a moral imperative) at a global level among the leaders of the hospitality world.
According to the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, tourism contributes 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and this figure is expected to rise by 130% between now and 2035. Meanwhile, the International Tourism Partnership has found that to comply with the Paris climate agreement, the hotel industry should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050 (based on the 2010 parameters).
These are data that make us think, especially if we take into account the growth rates that were expected for this sector before the COVID-19 pandemic: 80,000 new hotels before 2050 (Source: Trivago Business Blog).
For several years now, WHY THE BEST HOTELS is at the forefront of sustainability projects in various ways.
- Biomasses: WTB facilities use renewable energy as a supply source. Thanks to the commitment in the field of renewable energy, Belvedere Angelico Holding, which controls 100% of WTB, is a fully eco-sustainable company from an energetic point of view and every year produces green energy five times greater than the consumption of the entire group (https://belvedereangelico.com/en/green-energy-2/).
- Replacement of almost all old generation bulbs with LED lights. This is a low-cost, high-impact practice that helps save money and reduce maintenance. LED bulbs consume up to 85% less energy than traditional bulbs and last up to 25 times longer. (Between 2017 and 2019 we have replaced more than 2000 incandescent lamps with led lamps and now we are now replacing them with energy saving lamps).
- Energy automation in rooms: all rooms are equipped with an automatic system that activates lights and electrical sockets with the room key (card in slot) or via software by the reception.
- Cleaning of the extractor fan filters is carried out at least once a year to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact.
- Cleaning the surfaces of the heat exchanger of the ventilation system is done at least once a year.
- All windows ensure a high degree of thermal insulation and ensure greater energetic efficiency that is in line with the local climate and current energy-saving legislation.
- To further reduce the environmental impact through energy-saving and therefore reduce costs, the structure has an automatic energy-saving lighting system in certain areas (public bathrooms, changing rooms, warehouses).
- Presence of sensors in the rooms that automatically switch off the air conditioner if a window is opened, this is also remotely monitored via software by the reception.
- Use of a twilight timer for outdoor environments (courtyards, signs) that require night visibility.
- Use of the warmth generated by the air conditioners to heat the water in the hotel.
- Coffee and water vending machines, paper shredders, etc. are switched off during periods of non-use.
- Use of well water for toilets.
- Dual flush toilets, that in partial flush reduce the consumption of water from 9 to 6 liters. With a correct use, an estimated 60% of water is saved.
- Aerator taps that reduce the water flow, without limiting the efficiency or comfort of the same, are installed in all the bathrooms. 30% of water is saved thanks to their use.
Complimentary toiletries and disposable products
- In rooms and common areas, dispensers are used for shampoo, shower gel and soap.
- In cases where disposable glasses, plates, cutlery, or straws are used, the hotels use products made with biodegradable materials in order to reduce the environmental impact.
Food & Beverage
- Food waste monitoring aimed at reducing environmental impact and costs.
- One or more vegetarian and/or vegan alternatives are included in the restaurant menu and are emphasized using logos or other easily understandable means of communication. Vegetarian/vegan food has a lower environmental impact than meat-based food.
- To raise guests' awareness of eco-labeled, fair trade, and/or locally produced organic products, the hotel group clearly indicates which products are organic, ecologically labeled, and/or locally sourced on the menu and /or buffet.
- To promote the reuse and recycling of waste, the company separates waste according to national and local legislation into at least four categories (paper, plastic, organic waste and undifferentiated waste).
- The hotels ensure that as much of the separated waste as possible is either recycled or reused.
- Separated waste is safely stored in compliance with national and local laws. Used toners are stored and then disposed of ecologically through a contract with a company specialized in their collection and disposal.
- Each bathroom has a litter box specifically for sanitary waste, thus discouraging dumping in the toilet and subsequently in sewer system.
- To reduce health risk and nuisance of smoke, all rooms are non-smoking
- To minimize water consumption for irrigation, an intelligent irrigation system has been implemented.
- Where possible, rainwater or gray water is collected and used for the irrigation of flowers and gardens (e.g. Villa Cora: recovery of rainwater is achieved by conveying it to a storage tank then used with an assisted irrigation system, if necessary well water may be used. (Water from the aqueduct is never used).
Corporate social responsibility
- Urban Waste Project: WTB is, the only hotel company in Florence, among the undersigned and actuators of the European Urban Waste Project, that proceeds with a daily distribution of food products to the needy. WTB was also called to attest and illustrate its experience at the European Urban Waste 2019 Forum in Brussels (http://www.urban-waste.eu/).
- Donation of materials for the purpose of social solidarity for the exclusive benefit of non-profit associations: a) bulky materials; b) electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) (Regional Law June 4 2020, n.34 Provisions on the circular economy)
- Computers, printers, and copy machines switch to power saving mode and switch off automatically.
- New purchases of computers, printers, copiers, and appliances must always be eco-labeled or manufactured by a company with an environmental management system.
- The group takes steps to reduce the use of paper in their offices and encourages the staff of the reception dept to do the same by preferring digital archives rather than printing, double-sided printing and eventual reuse as scrap paper.
- The use of environmentally friendly means of transport is encouraged through verbal or written communication and offers financial incentives.