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Epicure Winter 2017

Listen Up Hoteliers! 2018 Is The Year Of Sustainability


A recent report by social enterprise group Bouteco demonstrates that ethical consumption is not the reserve of millennials; when it comes to travel, all age groups are turning towards more responsible and authentic experiences.

Their global findings include:

  • 42% of those queried would pay more for a sustainable hotel but would not compromise on luxury.
  • 64% of respondents consider green issues the most important when choosing a sustainable hotel.
  • 63% look for dedicated eco-related content on the hotel’s website.
  • It is the youngest and oldest travellers who care the most.

Within the luxury hospitality sector there’s never been a more prudent time to implement and promote sustainable and social initiatives. Not only for the sake of employee retention and community wellbeing, but to generate better press coverage, more direct bookings and enduring guest loyalty. With that in mind… Here are the top Eco-Travel trends for 2018:

Plastic-Not-Fantastic

With five trillion pieces of plastic floating around our oceans, a figure which is rising with us humans throwing away around eight million tons of plastic each year. And in the UK the Chancellor’s new Budget just flagged that single-use plastics, packaging, bubble wrap, and polystyrene should be taxed towards the battle against waste. Hotels should find new ways to stop their plastic usage – from single use plastic water bottles and food packaging to beauty bottles and microbeads; in 2018 hotels should turn their backs on unnecessary waste.

Photo courtesy of Selfridges

Watch Your Waste

Since oceans are teeming with rubbish and microscopic plastics from beauty products, travellers today are more and more thinking about waste when on holiday — many tropical destinations are landfill disaster zones and recycling is non-existent. We’ve all seen those heart-breaking photos of whales and turtles with stomachs full of plastic — if you do one simple yet dramatic thing to help the environment, never offer a plastic straw again. Don’t use those mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner either; work on moving towards refillable dispensers and bamboo or recycled paper straws.

Look For Water Bottles And Coffee Cup Alternatives

Instead of offering a takeaway coffee in a disposable cup and plastic lid, use a KeepCup — some high-street coffee shops are offering a discount for bringing your own. Lots of hotel groups are wising up to how they could be part of the solution. Alila is a zero-waste hero which invests in an elaborate water-filtration and bottling system at each property. Some hotels are offering guests refillable non-plastic water bottles in their rooms to use on their holiday.

Buy Into Bioplastics

Avani is a company in Indonesia which is making compostable plant-based plastic alternatives and sustainable packaging solutions such as takeaway cups and boxes, wooden cutlery, straws, shopping bags and rain ponchos. ‘We want to replace everything that could be made from plastic,’ says Avani’s founder Kevin Kumala. ‘The main material of my invention is cassava starch, and it’s 100 per cent safe. It’s passed oral toxicity tests. It’s going to be a revolutionary product because it’s not going to hurt the environment, especially marine animals. We know that a lot of plastic products end up in oceans, rivers and streams. But when animals eat our bioplastics, they’re not going to get hurt.’ Kevin recognises that education is really important, but that’s not a short-term solution. ‘Consumers hate for their behaviours to be changed and we’ve convinced them.’ In 2010, he finished the feasibility study, and set about helping Indonesia escape this epidemic. In 2011, he set up the company after realising that 95% of countries all over the world are suffering from the same problems.

Consider Using Upcycled Interiors

Van De Sant is a pioneer as a sustainable supplier providing an innovative means of removing and reusing plastic by creating contemporary outdoor furniture. Demonstrating a commitment to conservation, their chairs and sofas are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic waste, covered with high-quality foam and weatherproof fabric. These designers are not the only ones trying to increase awareness of the plastic problem. By recycling and repurposing single-use plastics, such companies are creating a sustainable cyclical economy. With countless articles emerging that break down the immeasurable and restorative benefits of spending time by the ocean, let’s optimistically assume these companies are the first of many of their kind. Even Ikea is at it — the Kungsbacka unit designed by Swedish studio Form Us With Love is made exclusively out of recycled plastic bottles for Ikea. CEO Jonas Pettersson believes that by challenging the excuses for not using waste as a resource, Form Us With Love will normalise its use in making ‘affordable democratic products that will last’. Smile Plastics gets a big thumbs-up: used in retail environments such as Selfridges, Dior and Stella McCartney, it’s a material design and manufacturing company repurposing waste into exquisite hand-crafted panels. Combining technology and education they hope to inspire others and subsequently unlock the full potential in recycling.

#StopThinkDiscuss

It’s time to #StopThinkDiscuss how we can be part of the solution not just the problem, says Juliet Kinsman founder of Bouteco. What else should we be talking about? The social enterprise Juliet has set up with Holly Tuppen celebrates boutique hotels with a big heart, and Bouteco has just published a report which puts the spotlight on what matters to us when we’re booking hotels http://www.stopthinkdiscuss.com. As well as sharing inspiring stories of sustainability in luxury travel, as part of their consultancy service they help hotels come up with solutions on how to be a positive force in the future. Join the #StopThinkDiscuss conversation now

Winter 2017

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