The Responsible Business Events conference on October 30, 2017 had a large range of international SDG experts and hotel chains in the lead of a sustainable change. One of them was Scandic Hotels, the Nordic leader in eco-labeled hotels
At Responsible Business Events, Scandic Hotels was one of two cases at Eco-labeling Denmark’s seminar on how eco-labeling can generate value in the hotel industry. Scandic Hotels was cherrypicked as case due to its position as a true front runner being the first to obtain a license for the Nordic ecolabel the Swan for one of its hotels. Since then, the commitment to the Swan label has been ever increasing with more and more eco-labeled hotels. Never-the-less, though eco-labeling is a high priority for Scandic Hotels, it represents only a small part of its sustainability efforts, says Tommy Nederman, director of the hotel chain’s Sustainable Business.
Read more: Responsible Business Events
Scandic Hotels’s sustainability efforts derive from the traditional People-Planet-Profit approach, but after the launch of the UN’s 17 world goals for sustainable development Scandic Hotels has chosen four of the goals as framework for their efforts. And that makes sense as with the four goals Scandic Hotels can better reflect the community the hotel chain is forming part of and interacting with, he says.
“When we act as a company based on the SDG’s it has three direct benefits: it makes our employees more proud to work with us, it is good for the business as it constitutes a huge financial potential, and last but not least we clearly feel our customers are requiring sustainable solutions.”
CO2 accounting gives a competitive edge
Many companies might fail to see that hotel accommodation often does not have an insignificant footprint on their climate accounts. However, the Swan label does require licensees to report on CO2 emissions for accomodation thus Scandic Hotels provide can their customers with a full CO2 report upon request. And quite many customers do so, Tommy Nederman underpins.
Read more: Scandic Hotels Sustainability
“When it comes to electricity consumption we’re 100% on renewable energy. We see this as a clear competitive advantage to those customers who have hotel accommodation to be included in their KPI for climate impact. Many companies have significant travel activity and in these cases it does matter whether they do count in overnights stays and whether they choose the hotels for environmental reasons.”
In the lead on fighting food waste
One of the areas with a particularly big and very direct benefits from doing the sustainable walk-the-talk is on food waste. As for eco-labels Scandic Hotels has been committed to reducing its food waste from the very beginning when food waste came up as an issue tells Food & Beverage Director, Scandic Hotels Denmark, Jens Christian Andersen: “We were amongst the founders of the Danish Charter on Food Waste back in 2011, and since then we have been working very actively with the area and laid down very ambitious goals for it.”
In the light of Scandic Hotels is not a novice in the field their target on food waste is indeed not an easy pick: 50% reduction by 2020. And they are already well on their way, emphasizes Jens Christian Andersen. For instance, the largest of the Danish hotels Scandic Copenhagen has been saving 17%, while the somewhat smaller hotel Scandic Glostrup has accomplished a saving of 46%, considerable savings achieved with relatively simple meassures.
Read more: Scandic Hotels Annual Report 2016
A large share of the savings has been obtained from the Winnow app at which the staff can enter the single food items and as a result they get an amount so that they can relate to how much the waste costs.
“With Winnow we have achieved a lot of attention on what we put on the table and how much of it is not eaten. It has been super easy for staff to relate to, and it has motivated them to think out of the box.”
Everybody is welcome
Eco-labels and food waste fall within SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production, but in a service-oriented area like the hotel industry, it indeed does make a difference whether you are capable of attracting skilled employees. Thus, it was an obvious choice for Scandic Hotels that three of their four world goals are within “People”: 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Decent Jobs and Economic Growth) and 10 (Reduced Inequality).
“With our choice of SDG’s we wanted to take a stand with regards to diversity and inclusion,” says Tommy Nederman stressing that the choice has been taken from a business point of view as much as an ethical as all trends tell it will be harder to attract talent in the future.
Read more: more articles on Responsible Business Events
For the same reason, Scandic Hotels has decided a very open employment policy that focuses exclusively on competencies, Tommy Nederman concludes:
“No matter who you are – your age, your gender, your sexual orientation, disabilities – we welcome you and you should always feel welcome! By having full transparency in our employment practices, we will reflect the community we’re part of and so are our guests. So, it’s not only from an ethical point of view we do this – it’s simply good for our business.”
As a clear proof of success Scandic Hotels has been awarded the best workplace of Denmark with more than 500 employees by the consulting and analysis initiative Great Place to Work.
Read more: Best Workplace in Denmark (in Danish)