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In the battle to reduce waste from hotel operations, we tend to look at ways to deal with the problem after the waste has been created. But it’s also possible to look at the issue from the front end of the situation and use your procurement services as another weapon in your armoury.
This is exactly what the Best Western Monkbar Hotel in York did, when they worked with Beacon to implement a ‘green’ procurement strategy.
Their new purchasing process not only reduces costs but also aims to support the environment.
Beacon helps businesses in the hospitality sector improve their profitability, and they say it makes good business sense to ‘go green’ when it comes to procurement as building sustainability into the supply chain can lead to reduced consumption of resources and therefore reduced costs.
The Best Western Monkbar achieved this by:
Graham Usher, General Manager at Best Western Monkbar, said, “We have worked closely with Beacon for the past two and a half years and the team has worked with us to really impact our bottom line. Our green policies are hugely important, both to us and our customers, and by taking advantage of new technologies, such as the Waste2Water filtration system, we’ve been able to further our commitment to operating sustainably.”
Diane Webster, Director of Marketing at Beacon said, “We’ve really enjoyed working with Graham and the Best Western Monkbar team to further enhance its green credentials. By implementing an environmentally friendly procurement strategy, which sits in line with the business’ wider strategy, the hotel has been able to reduce its costs whilst also operating sustainably. With technology advancing so quickly, the team at Beacon is always on the lookout for new ways in which hotels can further enhance their commitment to going green.”
The company’s customers increasingly want, and often need to know exactly where the products they’re buying have come from, how they were produced and what impact they have had on the environment. Hotels often want to improve their green credentials by working with sustainable partners, for example through sustainable procurement. Often it isn’t just about cost savings; it’s about good procurement practice and sustainable purchasing strategies, which will benefit a business now and in the future.
For hotels, challenges occur when good intentions miss an important issue that could destroy the reputational benefits of all the other sustainability efforts combined. For example, chefs may do all they can to reduce the amount of waste produced in the kitchen, but a supply chain may not adopt a similar approach. Poor choices in the early stages can mean that the full benefits of sustainable procurement decisions that are ethical and deliver cost reductions are lost.
Creative thinking can bring interesting solutions to challenges, but Beacon advises hotels shouldn’t try to tackle everything at once. They advise taking one category at a time ensuring to get it right. For example, when choosing guest amenities, hoteliers should consider which aspects of sustainability are most important for the hotel and its guests; use of natural ingredients, reduction of waste, recyclable packaging, the CSR credentials of the supplier or cruelty-free production and so on, and assess their supply options accordingly.
And they say hotels should remember to communicate their strategy to guests. There are several accreditation bodies and measurement tools that can help hotels to shout about their ongoing work towards being a more sustainable business.
Here are Beacon’s top tips for improving your purchasing practices:
Slowly, but surely
It’s best to implement your new programme slowly, but surely, truly considering how it fits with your business as a whole. There is no overnight fix, as a new procurement strategy takes time to be adopted throughout the entire organisation – it’s best to do it right over a longer period of time, than make any mistakes.
Choose the right suppliers
Whether you manage purchasing in-house, or use a purchasing partner, it is important to understand how your suppliers are committed to sustainability. Your partners need to share your vision and commitment to sustainability, without that, your aims may not be achieved.
Eco-amenities on the market
With a huge choice of eco-amenities available on the market, it is important to understand what sort of products you can opt for. From toiletries containing natural ingredients and organic extracts, to paper bottles and packaging, which provide waste reduction when compared to hard plastic, and bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which are recyclable, the choices are vast.
Measure and communicate
Several organisations offer benchmarking tools for measuring various elements of sustainable practices (including the HCMI), and e-procurement systems can also be useful. Once you have a strategy and measurement plan in place, it’s essential to communicate to clients what you are doing, to ensure they understand the steps you are taking and how these affect them.