Earth Day – Sustainability Initiatives & Inspiration

By Georgia Ward

In celebration of the 50th annual Earth Day, we wanted to showcase the incredible sustainable initiatives our clients have implemented throughout their hotels, events spaces, associations and supplier organisations. Discover a range of environmentally-focused ideas to inspire your own operations, from:  

The Torridon 

Situated in the remote Scottish Highlands, five-star hotel The Torridon offers an abundance of initiatives for the conscious traveller. Fresh produce is sourced steps away from The Torridon Farm and Kitchen Garden, whilst pure water is extracted from a bore hole on the estate, saving the use of 10,000 plastic bottles per year, and large Cowshed dispensers are used in the rooms, wiping out the use of 40,000 toiletry bottles per year. Guests can utilise the onsite electric car charging points and depart from the hotel with a conscious gift of native British wildflower seeds in a compostable package as part of the hotel’s efforts to revitalise the bee population.  

Providing energy for the entire resort, biomass is created onsite from woodchip and timber, while local rhododendron wood is used for the hotel’s open fires. Water-based cleaning was implemented in August 2019, using chemical-free ENJO products that reduces plastic waste and chemical deposits in the waterways.  

The Meetings Show 

The Meetings Show has pledged a commitment to work with WRAP, the Mayor of London, London & Partners and Olympia London to help tackle the issue of food waste in the events industry as part of a wider sustainability pledge.    

With the help of WRAP’s Guardians of Grub resources, the UK’s leading exhibition for event, meeting and conference professionals will be encouraging its exhibitors and event buyers to help cut food waste and take sustainability seriously. As well as tackling food waste, organisers working for parent company Northstar Meetings Group, will continue to challenge suppliers to further increase the use of recyclable and reusable products at the show while educating and encouraging exhibitors not to bring single-use plastic promotional materials and paper onsite.   

Part of its 40 hours of free educational sessions will continue to help address the 1.1 million tonnes of food that the UK’s hospitality and food service sector throws away each year, 75% of which could have been eaten.   

The Cottage in the Wood 

The Cottage in the Wood, nestled in the Malvern Hills, places great emphasis on sustainable provenance for its stylish 1919 Restaurant & Bar. During his days off, head chef Mark Redwood forages with his family for ingredients including berries and wild garlic, the latter which is showcased throughout the latest Spring menu. In the bar, local wine is sourced from Worcestershire-based Astley Vineyard, and gin from Cotswold Distillery. 

As part of its recent Coach House refurbishment, the hotel has installed more efficient boilers and electrics to reduce energy usage by 60%, enhancing the Coach House’s existing sustainable Masonite and Tradis building systems as part of The Cottage in the Wood’s aim to increase its sustainability efforts. A 25-seat all-season covered terrace has also been completed, utilising innovative black infrared heating to ensure the space is kept warm throughout the year, while simultaneously reducing energy usage. 

Thwaites 

The House of Daniel Thwaites has cut over 400,000 plastic bottles from its hotel rooms with the introduction of water and fresh milk filters in each corridor as part of its plastic waste reduction initiative. The plastic water and milk bottles that were provided for guests in their rooms have now been replaced with reusable carafes allowing guests to use the water and milk dispensers to obtain the amount required at any point during their stay. All eight hotels have introduced this new scheme which has seen the 260,000 water bottles and 150,000 milk bottles eliminated.    

QEII Centre 

Leading London events venue the QEII Centre is committed to the Greening Government Initiatives 2016–2020 on waste management, with key targets to send less than 10% of its waste to landfill and reduce overall waste generated, both of which were met in 2018-19. This is pioneered by its Sustainability Committee which meets quarterly to discuss sustainability pledges. 

Holding a Green Tourism Silver Award, its in-house catering company QEII Taste has championed a sustainable approach across its operation. This has included replacing disposable cups at its coffee shop The Sanctuary with mugs which can be used anywhere in the centre and introducing hot food boxes made out of recyclable materials, which are cleaned out and re-used, additionally cutting food waste. Of all items used by QEII Taste, 94% are made of recycled materials and between October 2016 and November 2019, saved 5.7 tons of carbon emissions, preventing 2,085 kilograms of waste from going to landfill. 

IET Venues 

Sustainability has become a core value in both IET venues, with electric car charging points at IET Birmingham: Austin Court and a water harvesting system in place at IET London: Savoy Place which collects rainwater for the plants and flowers. Inside both venues, digital signage eradicates the need for temporary marketing materials, while a vast array of screens in every room reduces reliance on flipcharts. Environmentally-considered decisions are being made throughout the business, with carefully selected cleaning products, refillable water fountains, robust recycling schemes and many more initiatives to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint. 

During these difficult times particularly, IET has been identifying ways to help the vulnerable with the resources the venues have. Their in-house caterers at Savoy Place, CH&Co, are therefore donating all unused food to London-based homelessness charity, The Passage, and are continually monitoring new ways to develop consciously.  

15Hatfields 

Since its inception in 2008, 15Hatfields has pioneered sustainability in the events industry. Eco-credentials have been literally built into the fabric of the venue, including sandstone off-cut walls, goats’ hair and natural rubber compostable carpet, alongside end-of-the-line seatbelt cushions and banquettes. Operating with 100% renewable energy and zero waste to landfill, the venue completely eliminated all single-use plastic in 2019 with its ‘Make Plastic History’ campaign. Sustainable catering partner, Eden Caterers, is located less than a mile away and uses seasonal, ethical and locally-sourced produce, with 60% of event menus now being vegan and vegetarian. 

Regent’s Conferences & Events 

Regent’s Conferences & Events, known for its outdoor oasis of calm in the centre of London, is benefitting environmentally from this period of down time. The four acres of lawns and event space has been given the time for revitalisation, embracing wildlife and welcoming cleaner air surrounding shrubbery, plants and soil. While the main lawns are kept immaculately tidy throughout the year, biodiversity is largely encouraged in a designated section of the gardens, where the grass is left long and fallen autumnal leaves are blown into the wild area. Work is undertaken to ensure that any chemicals used in the gardens are biodegradable, and an efficient irrigation system is in place to minimise water waste. In addition, any garden waste is used to create compost. Anything that has to be cut down is re-used for nutrients and protection on the soil over winter.