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The company which is home to Premier Inn, the cafe chain Costa and several restaurant chains including Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, is one of only eight companies in the world to achieve the standard.
The Carbon Trust Water Standard is awarded to businesses that can demonstrate a robust approach to water measurement and management, and achieve year on year reductions in use.
Whitbread has the target of achieving a 25% reduction in water use by 2017 (from a 2009 baseline) across its hotel and restaurant estate. This target was recently revised after the business achieved its original goal of a 15% saving four years early. Water saving and conservation helps to decrease water costs across the business, saving valuable water resources and cutting carbon emissions associated with water demand, particularly through heating and treatment.
Achieving the Carbon Trust Water Standard is a direct result of Whitbread’s corporate responsibility strategy, ‘Good Together’. The programme is designed to make the business as sustainable as possible and includes amongst other things targets on energy, carbon, water and staff engagement. The award provides independent, third party verification that Whitbread’s commitment to delivering water savings and promoting water conservation has led to real results, with a 9% reduction over the certification period.
Commenting on the achievement, Chris George, Energy and Environment Manager for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said, “As water becomes more precious it is essential that hospitality businesses of all sizes use it more efficiently. By achieving the Carbon Trust Standard we have demonstrated that simple changes can make a huge difference. By installing water saving technologies across our hotels and restaurants, and educating team members and customers on the importance of water saving water where we can, we have saved thousands of litres of water - equivalent to 180 Olympic swimming pools - and made our business more efficient. It’s rewarding to have our achievements recognised by the Carbon Trust and I hope the industry follows in our footsteps.”
To achieve its water saving targets Whitbread installed a variety of water saving technologies across its hotels and restaurants estate. It replaced all of the shower heads in more than 52,000 rooms in over 650 Premier Inn hotels with aerated low-flow versions, introduced low flush toilet cisterns and taps across its hotel and restaurant estate as well as installing grey water and rainwater recycling technologies in new developments.
Whitbread also invested heavily in real time water metering technology in its hotels and restaurants to model water consumption at individual sites and identify leaks early – something that was commended by the Carbon Trust.
The company trained 40,000 staff members in methods to improve resource efficiency to help them contribute to the water saving target. Their methods included introducing sustainability into staff training, developing easily accessible online training guides and fun interactive quizzes on how to save water.
Chris said, “As a business we’re extremely proud of our inclusive culture and training. We believe it results in the best possible experience and service for our guests and brings out the best in our teams. It’s initiatives like these which demonstrated the depth of our commitment to saving water and helped us to achieve the Carbon Trust Water Standard. We will continue to build on the water management systems we have to deliver even further reductions in the future to make a real difference.”
To meet the Carbon Trust Water Standard businesses are judged on a number of criteria including governance, water savings, reporting and communication.
Darran Messem, Managing Director of Certification at the Carbon Trust, added: “We have seen Whitbread demonstrate a continued commitment to improving its environmental performance for a number of years now. Back in 2009 Whitbread was one of the first hospitality companies to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard for carbon reduction, and now it is the first to have reductions in water use certified under the Carbon Trust Water Standard.
“By achieving independent certification, showing that ambitious policies are resulting in genuine reductions, Whitbread are setting an example to other businesses. The savings made as a result of these environmental actions shows that sustainability and success go hand in hand.”
As well as achieving the Carbon Trust Water Standard, Whitbread also achieved re-certification to the Carbon Trust Standard for carbon reduction. More details on that and Whitbread’s Good Together programme can be found here.