Stockholm is a world-leading city when it comes to environmental thinking. This is particularly noticeable among the city's hotels, which are now focusing more than ever before on their green credentials.
"Being environmentally aware as a city will become an increasingly important criterion when choosing where to host congresses and meetings, and where to travel for business and leisure. Stockholm is well equipped to meet future environmental demands, having had a green focus for many years," says Peter Lindqvist, CEO of Stockholm Visitors Board.
In a time where people become increasingly aware of the climate issue and demand environmental friendly alternatives, Sweden's leading hotel chains have shifted their focus in order to meet customer demands, from tourists as well as business travellers.
Scandic Hotels started its environmental thinking back in the early 1990s. In 2004, it became the first hotel chain in the world to receive an eco-label, the prestigious Nordic ‘Swan' eco-labelling, for all its 74 Swedish hotels. One of its Stockholm hotels also features Stockholm's first eco-labelled restaurant, Niki, which was awarded the ‘Swan' label in 2008.
Scandic Hotels' environmental programme is now fully implemented across both operations and hotel construction. Scandic has built some 17,000 EcoRooms, served 25 million organically certified breakfasts and phased out half a billion single-packed amenities. All 138 Scandic hotels have also phased out bottled water, replacing it with chilled, filtered, carbonated tap water.
With its unique resource consumption reporting system, Scandic Hotels can as the only hotel chain in the world publish actual CO2 emissions per guest night. So far, emissions have been reduced by 30 percent over the past 12 years. By 2025, Scandic Hotels aims towards a zero emission target.
One of the chain's newest additions, Scandic Anglais in the heart of Stockholm, features a number of innovative environmentally focused solutions. For example, all organic waste from the hotel's restaurants is sorted in order to produce biogas, which is used as a replacement for fossil fuels. There are also a number of supplier collaborations in place, ensuring that products and services are being eco-labelled and that transport logistics are efficient.
"Our customers are becoming increasingly aware, which means that our consistent sustainability work is now paying off. One of our strongest driving forces is to carry out a sustainable business as we know that being part of the solution instead of further increasing the environmental and social problems in the world is extremely important," says Jan Peter Bergkvist, vice president of sustainable business at Scandic Hotels.
The Rezidor Hotel Group is working to have all its 11 Swedish hotels certified under the ‘Swan' eco-labelling by the first half of 2009. The aim is to lower the consumption of water and energy, and the amount of waste produced. Six of Rezidor's hotels under the Radisson SAS brand - including the Royal Viking and the Strand in Stockholm, two hotels at Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, and two in Gothenburg and Malmö - received the ‘Swan' eco-labelling in 2008.
The hotel chain has been working with its environmental programme since 1996, and the aim is to have all its hotels, in 55 different countries, following the policy.
Rezidor's new Park Inn Stockholm Waterfront hotel and congress centre, due for completion in 2010, will also feature many innovative green solutions, including solar panels and cooling from the water of the nearby Klara Sjö. The aim is for the hotel to be twice as energy efficient as the criteria in the EU's Green Building Programme.
"We want to raise the awareness and competence surrounding environmental issues," says Kristina Windset, director of communications at the Rezidor Hotel Group in Scandinavia. "Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia are far ahead within climate and environmental awareness, and we want to export the solutions we have implemented over here to other parts of the world."
Choice Hotels is also following a strict environment programme. As the owner of the biggest hotel in Stockholm, Clarion Hotel Sign, Choice has a long tradition of environmental thinking.
"Our owner Petter A Stordalen is a well-known environmental profile and Choice Hotels has had a genuine commitment towards environmental issues for many years. Now it's time for us to continue our environmental work in a more structured way, as all our 160 hotels are to be certified under the ISO-14001 environmental specification this year," says Katalin Paldeak, brand director at Clarion Hotels Nordic.
The work to certify all Choice hotels under the ISO-14001 specification includes all aspects of hotel operation, from energy usage to water, chemicals, waste and transports. Choice Hotels is currently building what is to become the biggest hotel at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport, which is expected to open in 2012. The building process for the 400-room hotel is restricted to some of the highest environmental demands in Sweden. Another aim is that by 2011, 50 percent of the food served in Choice Hotels should be organic.
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