This year brought the largest number of applications yet from a diverse range of properties from eco-lodges to 5* luxury resorts, from city boutiques to spa retreats and even a distillery inn. Locations spread across the globe reaching from Peru to Ukraine, Australia and China to Tanzania.
Editor of Green Hotelier and Awards judge Siobhan O’Neill said: “We were delighted to receive so many fantastic applications this year and reading them all has been wonderful. Every single hotel which entered is performing well above average and it’s truly heartening to see so much effort and commitment to being a responsible business taking place all around the world.
“Judging has been harder than ever as the standards continue to rise, and there have been long conversations between the judges about which hotels made the cut when some missed out by the smallest margin. Many hotels are striving to do their best to take care of the environment, their staff and their community even when local conditions make it difficult to do that. It’s incredible to see them leading the way on sustainability and they should all be justly proud of their impressive efforts. They are all truly making a difference and their positive impacts on local people will be felt for generations.”
The Awards suggest that more hotels than ever are measuring their performance on energy, water and waste, and setting themselves new targets each year. Around the world owners are investing in new technology as well as simple solutions to reduce their environmental impact. Meanwhile they’re taking their responsibility as fair employers very seriously and investing in the development of their staff. They all value their contributions to their local communities.
Interestingly more hotels are getting braver about communicating their actions more widely to guests and inviting them to be a part of their initiatives. Several hotels are incentivising guests to behave more sustainably during their stay via a range of innovative programmes.
Awards judge and Programme Manager of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), Nicolas Perin said, “It was a great surprise to receive so many applications this year - almost 60% more than last year's edition of the awards - and we were even more delighted to see that quality came with quantity. Hotels around the globe are innovating for the environment; taking action on such sensitive issues as modern slavery, and creating solid trends on how to provide fair and meaningful employment for their staff. Some of the applications we received were really off the chart. Congratulations to all our applicants for their initiatives and setting the bar on what a sustainable hotel looks like.”
The winners of the 2017 Green Hotelier Awards are:
Winner: Landgut Stober, Germany.
The owner / operator of this hotel set out with the ethos of environmental sustainability and a commitment to the local community built into the renovation of the property and leads by example. They’ve created a nurturing ‘family’ around their employees which includes a number of refugees. They are energy self-sufficient and collect rainwater for flushing toilets, and they’ve found fun and engaging ways to share their green innovations with their guests.
Highly Commended: Novotel London Blackfriars, UK; Ritz-Carlton Berlin, Germany
Africa & Middle East:
Winner: Chole Mijni, Tanzania
This unique island property is off-grid, providing their own energy but working with guests to reduce their consumption as much as possible, cooking with wood and using small amounts of kerosene for hot water. They avoid competing with the local community for drinking water by using non-potable in their outdoor showers and their toilets are dry compost. Their commitment to sustainable rural development includes investment in the education of local people, and they work with the local community to determine their priority focus for upcoming projects.
Highly Commended: Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, Kenya; Radisson Blu Kigali, Rwanda.
Winner: Soneva Fushi, Maldives
This beautiful island resort has been carbon neutral for all activities including guests’ flights since 2012, investing in renewables as well as carbon-offset projects. They are also self-sufficient in water using both rainwater collection and desalination. Incredibly they operate a ‘Waste to Wealth’ programme converting 90% of their waste into an income, including turning Styrofoam and glass waste into lightweight bricks for construction. They operate a Youth Career Initiative programme offering employability training to local young people, as well as teaching hundreds of children to swim, saving lives.
Highly Commended: Crystal Creek Meadows, Australia; Jetwing Yala, Sri Lanka
Winner: El Albergue Ollantaytambo, Peru
This unique property recognised that a majority of negative environmental impact and waste was caused through agricultural practices and food waste so they solved both issues by creating their own organic farm. The sustainable farm not only provides food for the restaurant but is used as a school with an alternative education model which aims to give children the skills, values and knowledge to be successful but also positively contribute to society. The farm is also used as a communication tool on sustainability to guests who are invited to a special Pachamanca (earth-oven) farm lunch where they can watch and take part in the eco-friendly ancestral farming practices.
Highly Commended: Marble Distilling Company & The Distillery Inn, Colorado USA; Novotel Jaragua, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Responsible Business Week is an initiative of Business in the Community (BITC) and an opportunity for companies in the UK and around the world to showcase their sustainable and responsible actions, as well as take part in a variety of events which further our understanding of what it means to be a responsible business. Discussions and workshops are taking place for businesses to learn more about the challenges they face as well as the issues which are looming on the horizon. The theme for this year’s #RBWeek examines how businesses can ensure an inclusive digital revolution that’s fair for all members of society. Visit the website to learn more or follow the hashtag on Twitter.