ITP member NH Hotel Group has smashed its sustainability targets and grabbed a European Business Award for its efforts.
The Group set targets in its 2008-2012 Strategic Environmental Plan and has exceeded them, seeing energy savings of 22.7%, water usage reduced by 27.6%, carbon emissions slashed by 40% and waste generation reduction and recycling cut by 34.2%.
Not only has the company’s efforts seen it generate €33m of savings, but on World Environment Day last month, the group was awarded the European Business Award for the Environment in the ‘Business & Biodiversity’ category.
The Awards recognise and reward companies that stand out for their environmental record, and represent a significant accolade from society and the world of business and sustainability.
Since its launch, NH Hoteles has earmarked over €4 million to finance environmental initiatives. Their Environmental Plan comprised over 50 initiatives, ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to the replacement of conventional bulbs with LED lighting, the reuse of corks bottle stoppers and the use of biodegradable materials for certain amenities such as laundry bags, among others. The Plan’s initial targets were amply surpassed thanks to the involvement of senior management, all of the chain’s professionals and even its guests. The company’s Ecomeeting service was pivotal in achieving the result.
These prize was awarded by the European Union’s Directorate-General for the Environment and given by Their Royal Highnesses Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia.
Mónica Chao, Environment & Sustainability Corporate Manager at NH Hotel Group said, “At NH we believe that environmental certifications constitute a service quality seal for our guests. Environmental protection and efficient resource management are core strategic issues for the Company”
The almost 400 establishments operated by NH in 28 different countries are equipped with eco-friendly solutions that certify its guest stays as among the most innovative in the market from an environmental standpoint.
These combined measures have resulted in the group paring back its environmental footprint by 40% since the targets were set in 2008, and makes NH Hoteles the first hotel chain in the world to achieve ISO 50001 certification, the most important international Energy Management Systems standard.
The Group is in the process of drafting a new Sustainability Plan. The goal is to achieve more stringent sustainability targets than those attained to date and place the spotlight on innovation and bringing sustainability to guests as part of their overall experience in NH hotels.
Sustainability has been driving innovation and efficiency and unlocking value for the Company since 2008. NH Hotel Group was the first hotel chain to certify its energy efficiency management system under the ISO 50001 standard, the NH Eurobuilding  (Madrid) being the first hotel in Europe to obtain this seal, and the first to incorporate sustainability thinking as a whole across its entire hotel portfolio. Its environmental management system is also ISO 14001 certified at the international level and the results of its Environmental Action Plan are assessed by an independent external expert.
The Group has obtained the Greenlight stamp for its entire hotel chain and the Green Building seal for five of its hotels: NH Príncipe de la Paz  (Aranjuez), NH Central de Convenciones  (Seville), NH Pódium  (Barcelona), NH Bálago  (Valladolid) and NH Bérgamo  (Bérgamo).
In the meetings and events segment, NH Hotel Group offers a sustainability solution coined Ecomeeting, which implies the responsible consumption of energy resources as well as the use of environmentally friendly products for business meeting purposes. Meeting organisers are also offered the chance to offset the carbon emissions generated by their events (including travel) by means of a minimal surcharge per attendee.
NH Hoteles is a member of the International Tourism Partnership and as such were part of the working party of more than 20 global hotel companies who worked collectively to formulate and agree the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative . The HCMI is now the universally recognised methodology for measuring carbon emissions for any meeting or stay. The free tool is robust enough to meet global carbon reporting standards but also practical enough for any hotel to implement; from huge casino hotels to small bed and breakfasts. Measuring carbon is the first step to reducing output and the HCMI has helped thousands of hotels around the world – including those in the NH Group – to reduce their own carbon footprint whilst saving money.