Talking Point: What’s holding back your sustainability?

What hurdles are in your way?

What hurdles are in your way?

While 85% of hospitality businesses would consider themselves sustainable, almost half don’t have specific corporate social responsibility (CSR) targets in place[1]. Sarah Taylor, Managing Director of BRITA UK, offers hoteliers five ‘quick wins’ to break down sustainability barriers simply, quickly and cost effectively.

There’s increasing international pressure for businesses to be more sustainable in the wake of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Since then, a further push for action is coming from all directions, including for example the UK Government’s announcement of a proposed plastic tax, which could see up to 22p added to the cost of single-use drinks containers in England. This builds the spotlight on sustainability and single-use plastics in particular, which is increasingly exposing those businesses that show little initiative when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint.

“Two-thirds (67%) of UK consumers recently stated they would boycott brands that lack an ethical conscience[2] and 56% feel guilty about the plastic waste generated by bottled water[3]. It’s clear that consumers are increasingly putting the onus on businesses to have meaningful CSR initiatives, which helps them feel they are making a difference through the products and services they use. Research conducted by the Hilton Group found that 33% of customers actively seek information about a hotel company’s environmental and social efforts before making a booking[4].

BRITA’s new report Life is Better Filtered: The Planet Around You, offers an in-depth look at sustainability barriers in the hospitality sector. It’s positive to see how committed the industry is to adopting CSR practices: eight in ten businesses are prioritising reducing waste levels[5]. Looking ahead, 70% of hospitality businesses plan to reduce the use of single-use plastics and six in ten want to ban plastic straws[6].

While good intentions are laudable, there is no denying that the hotel sector is facing a number of business challenges, which can mean that implementing new initiatives falls to the bottom of the pile. Therefore, establishing simple and cost-effective ways to improve sustainability is essential.

Little things make a big difference:

We encourage businesses to make small changes that can have a big impact on the environment. Over a year, small savings can add up to impressive results. For example, according to WRAP, the energy saving from recycling one glass bottle will power a 100-watt light bulb for almost an hour. One litre of BRITA filtered water generates up to 27 times less CO2 than one litre of bottled water.

Align with sustainable suppliers:

Look to suppliers that provide sustainable products but also have their own environmental programmes in place that align with your business’ CSR targets. We have achieved zero waste to landfill and we have a designated ‘green team’ and waste facilities on site – the benefits of which filter down to our clients. 

Investigate smart swaps:

One of the easiest ways to reduce single-use plastics is to swap water in plastic bottles for a refillable bottle, jug or filtration system. This sustainable water offering lowers a businesses’ carbon footprint due to fewer deliveries and reduced energy needed to store and refrigerate bottled water.

Measuring success is vital:

Ensure you catalogue all of the sustainable benefits of your business’ CSR practices. This will help you quantify the environmental benefits, financial savings and areas for improvement. Sharing your success is a great way to attract and retain today’s discerning consumer and employees.

Work together:

One third of businesses would like insights into what other businesses are doing when it comes to sustainability[7]. Learn from other businesses such as those signed up to the UK Plastics Pact, which is aimed at bringing businesses together from across the entire plastics value chain. The International Tourism Partnership brings leading hotel members together to #ShareLearnLead on sustainable best practice across the industry.

Despite the significant challenges facing the hotel industry, much is being done to tackle sustainability issues effectively. Our aim at BRITA Professional is to work with the industry to support businesses’ sustainability goals. We’re confident that through creating partnerships, hospitality businesses can significantly reduce their impact on the environment.

To download a copy of the ‘Life if Better Filtered: The Planet Around You’ report go to:

[1] Explori in collaboration with BRITA Professional (2018), 355 respondents
[2] WRAP (April 2018)
[3] Mintel (2018), Bottled water
[4] Hilton (2018), Hilton commits to cutting environmental footprint in half and doubling social impact investment
[5] Explori in collaboration with BRITA Professional (2018), 355 respondents
[6] Explori in collaboration with BRITA Professional (2018), 355 respondents
[7] Explori in collaboration with BRITA Professional (2018), 355 respondents

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