GTBS Gold: Radisson Blu Edwardian, London

GTBS Gold Award Hotel

At the end of 2012, Radisson Blu Edwardian in London successfully achieved Gold GTBS (Green Tourism Business Scheme) Awards for all 13 hotels in the luxury London hotel group.

The Gold Award is the highest standard a business can achieve within the GTBS scheme and is only awarded to businesses that have demonstrated excellence in sustainable tourism.

Described by GTBS as “one of the most impressive businesses (they have) graded”, Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels were assessed against a rigorous set of criteria, covering a range of areas including energy and water efficiency, waste management and biodiversity.

The GTBS Gold assessment criteria is based on a performance score of over 80% on 145 measures across 10 subjects including energy, water and waste management, travel, nature and culture, purchasing, communication, compliance with minimum standards and innovation. Each criteria is assessed on a scale of maximum 10 (best practice) to 0 (no action currently being undertaken/worst practice).

Wendy Fail, Grading Assessor for GTBS, stated “Radisson Blu Edwardian, London show a clear understanding and commitment to the green tourism ethos.  They provide an outstanding customer experience, whilst ensuring a sympathetic approach to the environment.  They are one of the most impressive businesses I have graded and their enthusiasm for the scheme and holistic approach to sustainability is to be highly commended”.  She continued “Onsite, the business has undertaken significant measures to reduce energy consumption across all the hotels and the supporting green management structure, including the excellent i-connect, green ideas for staff and innovative energy and cost saving measures help to set them apart from other hotel chains.  They are an excellent green champion for sustainable good practice”.

Last week Green Hotelier spoke with Paul Mansi, Chief Operating Officer for Radisson Blu Edwardian to find out more about their sustainable initiatives and motivation. In 2008 the hotel group set out to implement eco and sustainable initiatives on the back of a ‘commitment to the planet and its present and future inhabitants’. Since this time, sustainability has been an important part of the hotel group’s 10 Commandments, which include:

  • To achieve credible, responsible business practices including socio-cultural, economic, well-being & nature
  • To reduce our overall ecological and carbon footprint by conserving natural resources and energy
  • To minimize and efficiently manage waste production, ensuring the least possible negative impact on the natural environment
  • To expand our responsible purchasing policy by working closely with our suppliers
  • To acknowledge local and regional differences in sustainability practices in order to improve the efficiency and well-being of the hotels, staff, guests, local people and nature
  • To fully comply with all local, national and international sustainability legislation
  • To monitor and record our responsible business practices action programme regularly and to measure and compare performance with our policies, objectives and targets
  • To ensure a safe, secure and healthy environment and promote active and wellness lifestyles to our guests, employees, local community and nature

The hotels implement and discuss eco initiatives through the work of a local ‘Green Team’, which meets monthly at the hotel level with representatives from each department to generate an action plan on initiatives, either suggested locally or rolled out from the centre.  The team leaders join monthly corporate Radisson Blu committee meetings where group-wide initiatives are discussed and sanctioned before roll out across the group. This meeting is chaired by the group COO and in addition has senior management team representation.

See below a comprehensive list of the green practices implemented at the hotels to date:

Energy & Carbon

  • Carbon footprint measurement calculated for each hotel
  • Intelli-Hood systems installed to reduce power consumption for kitchen extract systems in all hotels (excluding Sussex)
  • Bedroom and C&B lighting energy saving procedures rolled out
  • REH now receive LEC (Levy Exemption Product) low carbon power from Total Gas & Power Ltd, which reduces the CO2 emissions by approximately 40% using electricity conversion factors as supplied by DEFRA
  • New energy saving computer PCs have been rolled out
  • Low energy bulbs introduced into all guest bedroom corridors and number of lights have been reduced, as well as movement sensors fitted in low-use public and BOH areas
  • Red dot initiative on all BOH lights and equipment switches
  • New organic products, treatments and suppliers introduced in all spas via Spa Ritual, Bio Essential, Ahava, Pinks as well as organic cotton mitts
  • Rainbow cleaning products introduced into all housekeeping operations – (all phosphate and chlorine free)
  • Eco-smart pillows introduced for guest bedrooms
  • Seven Dials dry Cleaners now supply bio-degradable laundry bags for guest laundry & dry cleaning
  • Bathroom heated rails switched off across the group during summer months
  • Dairystix milk sachets introduced for in-room tea/coffee facilities as they are better quality, longer shelf life and half as damaging to the environment
  • World Childhood Foundation designated as nominated charity for the entire group. Each hotel also supports a local community charity
  • Green Libraries set up at each hotel
  • Light compactors for Grafton, May Fair and Kenilworth hotels
  • Bicycle rack facilities established at each hotel
  • Hotel group car fleet moved to Toyota Hybrid models from May 2010
  • All printed collateral is now printed on recycled paper in all hotels
  • The Gilchrist & Soames new ‘Essential Elements” collection of guest toiletries has been rolled out at all hotels. The signature formulations contain no parabens, phthalates, petrol-derived ingredients, mineral oil, urea, DEA, TEA or propylene glycol. They do contain food-grade, naturally derived USP glycerine, natural conditioning agent from honey and the brassica plant and soybean and cottonseed oil, instead of petrochemicals. G&S are also committed to cruelty-free development and vow to never test their products on animals
  • Duplex printing options added to all main photocopier/printers across the group
  • 2nd copies of all back-up correspondence for all back invoices including credit cards are no longer required, saving us over 170,000 needless photocopies approximately per annum
  • Remaining old style TVs have been replaced with new LED flat screen televisions to all rooms at Heathrow, Grafton, Mercer Street in 2011
  • Electronic guest bills now offered on check-out
  • Heathrow to install a Tesla (electric) car charger within the car park area in 2012
  • Secondary glazing fitted to all front facing bedrooms at the Vanderbilt
  • Electronic tablets introduced at all reception desks (eliminating the need for printing registration cards for all arriving guests.
  • Enersol Flomar Energy saving device installed at the Kenilworth & has produced good results (gas savings between 15% in winter and 30% in summer)
  • Gas/electricity consumption now part of hotel monthly performance reviews and tracked electronically
  • Heat Recovery systems installed at Mercer Street, Grafton & planned at Heathrow & Hampshire in 2013
  • Belkin eco-friendly charging plates issued to all concierge desks

Waste & Recycling

  • First Mile recycle all waste at Leicester Square
  • All food waste is now recycled at all properties across the group in London
  • Fully recycled mattresses by Perpetua have been negotiated and introduced into the company
  • Bottle crushers have been installed in all hotels as appropriate
  • K.P. Waste nominated as new waste management supplier from May 09 offering separation of cardboard/paper, glass, general and food waste. All waste previously incinerated helping to produce electricity to 35,000 homes
  • Thames Valley Oil nominated as supplier to collect used kitchen oil
  • Recycling of used toner cartridges in place
  • Use of tinfoil / cling film removed from all room service orders
  • Batteries recycling in place
  • Reusable material newspaper bags introduced across the group
  • Paper hand-towels removed from all public area rest rooms

Food

  • Free trade tea & coffee available in all F&B outlets across the group
  • Red Tractor chicken incorporated into our general group menus
  • Herb garden planted on roof at Heathrow
  • Watt Farms appointed as our new fruit & vegetables supplier based in Orpington, traditionally growers of herbs and vegetables for the supermarkets and wholesalers. They grow 35-40 different products on approximately 1000 acres and source another 20-30 lines from surrounding farms, thus again radically increasing the percentage of British grown products and reducing the carbon footprint
  • Organic salmon dishes have been incorporated into all menus across the group
  • Meat and vegetable food suppliers now supply produce in reusable plastic containers
  • Endangered species of fish removed from all outlet menus

Water

  • Bathroom towels & eco-sheet changing strategies rolled out across the group together with guest amenity bathroom dispensers
  • Eco-pure water (in-house bottling plant) served in all C&B operations & VIP gifts
  • Flowco flow limiting shower valves fitted to all showers & taps in guest bathrooms across the group
  • Valves have also been fitted to all public toilet and staff urinals to reduce volumes of water consumed in all hotels.
  • Tap sensors installed in public toilets as part of overall renovation programmes at: Mercer St, Berkshire, Grafton, BSH & planned at Manchester & Hampshire.
  • Dual flush installed at  Grafton, Sussex, Berkshire, May Fair, Leicester Sq, Mercer Street & BSH
  • Reusable vinyl bathmats introduced to all guest bathrooms at Heathrow in lieu of laundering linen variety daily

Training

  • Responsible Business mandatory training courses introduced for all employees and managers as part of 90 day induction as part of 2012 training calendar
  • 'Eco' idea of the month competition of the month launched in 2010
  • Weekly ‘Green Fact of the Week’ – put on the green boards in each staff canteen and explained to all teams

Events & Meetings

As part of the hotels’ ‘Meet well’ initiative, the hotels each encourage clients and guests hosting meetings to be sustainable and respecting of local communities. Here are some ways in which the hotel group communicates green practice to guests planning an event or meeting:

  • Minimise ground transportation by choosing a venue that’s easy to get to using public transport
  • If car travel is absolutely necessary, encourage shared transportation for delegates
  • Reduce printed material. Don’t send paper invites or information and use online registration tools and electronic communications with delegates. Avoid sending course content, agendas or paper hand outs for the meeting. All documents can be hosted as part of the event registration website. If you do have to print, use recycled paper, ideally use soy ink and print double sided
  • Coordinate with your venue to donate unserved meals, or compost organics
  • Ensure lights and air conditioning are turned off in your meeting room when not in use
  • If flowers are required at your event, try to use living plants rather than cut flowers

And finally we asked Paul...

What have been the main benefits of implementing these green initiatives?

We have worked incredibly hard at all levels of the business to achieve this grading whilst also maintaining the quality and experience required of a luxury brand. It’s a testament to the enthusiasm and dedication of our staff and our pledge to continue to build for a greener future.

Do you have plans to expand on green initiatives in the future?

We are dedicated to the cause and committed to continue with our green tourism ethos.  We strive to provide an outstanding customer experience, whilst ensuring a sympathetic approach to the environment.  Onsite, we have recently undertaken significant measures to reduce energy consumption across all our hotels and to support the green management structure, including the excellent i-connect, green ideas for staff and innovative energy and cost saving measures. We will continue to look at new ways to build on this infrastructure.

What would be your top 3 bits of advice to hotels looking to do the same?

  • To be committed to the cause
  • Ensure there is a training structure in place for all staff to implement the changes
  • To continue to look at new ways to reduce emissions in all areas of your business, including energy, water efficiency, waste management and biodiversity

Radisson Blu Edwardian, London is a collection of 13 individual hotels in locations including Bloomsbury, Canary Wharf, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Kensington, Heathrow, Leicester Square, Marble Arch, Oxford Street, Central Manchester & Central Guildford.

For more information see www.radissonblu-edwardian.com

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