NEW: our sector-by-sector look at innovation
Sustainability and social responsibility are fast becoming a prime concern for public and private sector organisations and businesses. The hotel industry is no exception, and the sector has been quick to respond.
Here are a few ideas to make your hotel sustainable, without compromising on comfort:
- electric vehicle charging points
- bike racks and hire arrangements
- 0% emissions chauffeur and taxi service
- rooftop solar
- LED lighting, cut-off and motion sensors
- biomass boilers
- heating control in individual rooms
- low-flush toilets, eco-showers and tap flow-limiters
- hard water treatment
- rainwater harvesting
- grey water capture and reuse
- eco-friendly cleaning utensils and processes
- soap collection and repurposing
- green cleaning products
- dry carpet cleaning
- energy-saving clothes driers
- eco-friendly beds and mattresses
- luxury certified organic and natural linens
- peat-free plant displays
food & drink
- organic beers and wines
- can and bottle recycling
- no plastic bottles
- Refill scheme in operation
- local organic produce
- food service packaging from plant-based sources
- eco-friendly gym equipment to generate power
- green walls to create healthier environment
- use of heat-saving cover for swimming pools
IT & admin systems
- electronic signature solutions to reduce paper
- C-neutral web hosting
There are many other great things that you can do. Why not share your ideas with us...
When we look to print anything (and we all know there are times when 'paperless' just isn't an option), we like to ensure that we use an FSC-Certified printer and thereby encourage eco-friendly print services.
Fortunately, it is perfectly possible to combine environmentally-sustainable practices with the highest quality.
ten top tips to go green with printing
Here are 10 helpful tips on how you can go green with printing:
1. Use non-toxic inks
- Print with vegetable-based and soy-based inks – they carry the lowest volative organic compounds (VOCs) of any ink in the industry and are biodegradable.
2. Opt for non-toxic coating
- Apply water-based or non-toxic aqueous coating – this will still allow you to have a full gloss finish without worrying about potentially-toxic chemicals.
3. Proof your work
- Proof often and reduce waste. Good proofing is one of the best printing tips we can give you. Less printing mistakes means less printing waste.
4. Choose a printer with a green policy
- Ask the questions and find a printer with a Green Policy that drives everything they do.
5. Combine mailing and printing
- Instead of printing your direct mail products and shipping them to a mailing house – have your printing and mailing done under one roof. Save fuel and transportation costs!
- In addition, look for integrated marketing services, combining the usual advertising platforms of print (direct mail, ads, coupons) with the interactive capabilities of web, mobile and social networks. All this allows for cost-effective runs and personalization of your marketing materials which will give you the greatest impact.
6. Do it digitally
- Consider using digital printing with no VOCs, light energy consumption and almost zero waste. Use print-on-demand techniques to eliminate cost over runs with outdated materials. Use personalization to better target your market and increase your ROI.
7. Consider using alternative paper
- Use recycled papers that contain up to 100% recycled materials, including 100% post-consumer content papers or papers that are non-bleached and chlorine-free.
- Find a printer that stocks these locally so printing can still be achieved in an environmentally-friendly process with no delays.
8. Choose conservation technology
- Choose a printer that uses a waterless printing system which eliminates the water or dampening system used in conventional printing. Waterless printing is a better choice!
9. Offset cost with creativity
- Design multi-functional projects to achieve economies when using more expensive paper.
- Combine projects whenever possible – e.g. print business cards and postcards from the same recycled paper. You'll save money, and help the environment.
10. Use a sustainable symbol
- Find an FSC-Certified printer, who can certify any of your projects and use the FSC logo to brand your printed pieces to help you send a green message.
- Ask for an eco audit on your order and publish the environmental benefits right in your document to help demonstrate your company’s environmental commitment.
You've got a challenge? We can help
Let us keep you on track
to achieve your sustainability aims
Whether you're looking for a few tips about how your business can create positive outcomes for the environment and your community, or you want to undertake a full audit of your performance; we can help. Earth Matters offers a range of packages to suit every need and budget. Give Richard a call today on 07517 523258
Feedback on our creating the waves of change workshop
What you had to say...
"A real thought-provoking session: we all talk the talk but need to refocus and walk the walk" Kirsty Meadows, JNCC
"Left me with some great ideas for CSR activity" Matt Mitchell, Green Energy Switch
"An informative presentation, inspiring our business...a nudge we needed" James Barber, GEM Bags
Meeting the sustainability challenge
Meeting the sustainability challenge can be daunting. We know that, and it's particularly true for smaller organisations.
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have proved slow to adopt sustainability programmes. This is unfortunate, as there are more than 4.5 million SMEs in the UK, making up 99% of all organisations and employing around 14 million people. They generate a combined annual turnover of £1.5 billion, almost half of that created by all UK business.
Many SMEs admit to confusion over what sustainability is and which programme to follow. Put simply, sustainability has got to be made easy!
The heads of SMEs need to know how a sustainability programme is going to:
- deliver operational efficiencies
- open the door to new business
- cost much less money than it generate (or even zero cost)
However, it's vital to think beyond cost-efficiency, to consider sustainability in terms of adding value to the business. This requires a broad view to be taken. Environmental issues are only part of the picture, and it is necessary to think about relationships with and the impact on employees, customers, suppliers, and the broader community. The social dimension is just as important, even though it can feel less tangible.
Investing in community projects can create lasting benefits for local people, engage your employees and enhance your reputation
Our 10-point plan
You want to put sustainability at the heart of what you do, but don't know where to start. Take a look at our 10-point plan as an aid to making those first steps.
So, our advice is to:
- define sustainability (be clear what it means to your business)
- get everyone on board (they need to understand what you are doing)
- ask for help (a trade or industry body is good starting point)
- establish responsibility (incorporate sustainability targets into job plans)
- take it step by step (don't try to do everything at once)
- prove that you mean it (you can't just talk about this: you have to actually do things)
- make the link to profit (see tangible benefits through lower fuel bills or reduced waste)
- use a variety of measures (measure progress in less tangible areas, e.g. strength of community trust; greening the supply chain)
- don't stand still (invest in the future, finding ways to create long-term value, e.g. developing new green products or services)
- tell your story (share your journey, be proud of your achievements)
Finding out more
Knowing where to look for information on sustainability and natural capital can be daunting when you're starting out. But don't worry, we've saved you some of the effort because we've pulled together a range of material that we think is helpful and informative. Feel free to browse.
If there's anything you've found particularly useful, or there's something you'd like to know about, please let us know. We're happy to help.
Sustainability for business
Here's a small collection of videos which help simplify and bring the concept to life. Take a look and see the great opportunities...
Companies need to respond to the changing global business landscape, and the scale of the challenges require them radically rethink current approaches. A responsible business model which creates shared value is gaining prominence. In addition to this, from a financial perspective, there are a number of commercial reasons to embed sustainability in a company's business:
- to become future-ready;
- to gain a competitive advantage; and
- anticipate growing customer demands for more sustainable products and services.
Companies need to seize the new commercial opportunities that are offered by addressing sustainability challenges. Many are already realising the benefits of investing in exciting initiatives to create a new generation of 'green' and 'ethical' products and services; while others are creating collaborative business partnerships to address some of the challenges.
Natural capital is what nature provides us for free. It comprises elements of nature which directly or indirectly produce value to people - ecosystems, species, freshwater, land, minerals, air, oceans, as well as natural processes and functions - through a flow of goods and services for the ultimate benefit of humans (Helm, 2015).
Nature needs to be viewed as a set of assets for it to be valued properly in economic considerations. Valued assets are worth looking after: rather like your bank account, you can only take out so much before you are overdrawn. The danger is that with our current patterns of production and consumption, natural capital will be eroded, thereby undermining our planet and its ability to support our growing global population. The only way forward is a sustainable approach which aims to preserve and enhance natural capital.
For an introduction to the subject, see Natural Capital: valuing the planet by Dieter Helm, published in 2015 by Yale University Press.