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Covering 12% of the estate to date, the Solar PVs are expected to generate approximately 10% of each site’s energy, considerably reducing carbon consumption and saving 6132 tonnes of CO2 each year. Collectively the panels should produce over 1,326,000kWh of power per annum - enough energy to power over 300 UK homes.
James Pitcher, Corporate Social Responsibility Director at Whitbread said, “Whitbread’s investment in Solar PV forms part of our wider strategy to reduce carbon emissions across the business. It will support us in meeting our 2020 target of reducing carbon by 15%, relative to sales turnover and we’ll continue to develop our energy management strategy in line with the growth of our business.”
Besides the environmental benefits, the completion of this installation is expected to produce a cost saving benefit of around £280,000 per annum. Whilst the majority of eligible sites now have Solar PVs installed, Whitbread will continue to invest in these technologies when appropriate as part of its wider commitment to carbon reduction.
In 2015 Whitbread announced its Good Together responsible business targets which includes reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
The 2020 corporate responsibility targets under Whitbread’s Good Together programme include committing to the creation of 15,000 new jobs and 6,000 apprenticeships, a further 15% reduction in carbon emissions from that already achieved, and to raising £25 million for charitable causes.
The Good Together programme was launched in 2009 and is built around three pillars of Teams & Communities, Customer Wellbeing and Environment. After making significant progress towards existing 2017 goals, Whitbread has created new targets to further challenge its business.
Whitbread committed to increasing employment opportunities in the hospitality industry with 6,000 apprenticeships by 2020, plans to create 15,000 UK jobs, 7,500 work experience placements for school and college pupils and 6,500 structured employment placements over the next five years. It has recently teamed up with Business in the Community campaign Futureproof to offer work experience opportunities and make their opportunities more accessible to young people.
Additionally, Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants aims to raise £10 million for its chosen charity of which £7.5 million will go to build the Premier Inn Clinical Building at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. Whilst the Costa Foundation has already raised £7 million and has set a target to increase this to £15 million to deliver 100 school projects in coffee growing communities helping to relieve poverty and increase education opportunities for thousands of children and their families.
As a member of ITP, collaborating with other international hotel groups, Whitbread is committed to minimising energy usage, water consumption and production of waste even as the business grows. Having already exceeded its 2017 carbon, water and waste targets Whitbread has set new 2020 targets to reduce carbon by a further 15% and water by 20%, both against a 2014 baseline, and to increase the direct operations recycling rate across the estate to 80%.
Andy Harrison, CEO of Whitbread said, “As we grow, we have an even greater responsibility to consider our wider environmental and societal impact. Our Good Together programme is an integral part of how we do business at Whitbread and as the UK’s largest hospitality company, we aim to be a leader in developing sustainable business practices within our sector. We have set new stretching targets for the next five years to help deliver a sustainable future for our company and be a force for good in the communities in which we operate.”
The Solar PV panels will help Whitbread achieve these goals. The most recent 40 installations were part of a single large project in the company’s 15/16 financial year. This is the largest batch of installations they have ever managed. The three largest installations are 30kWp, located at Ipswich, the Wirral and Basildon.