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LONDON—The first international restaurant rating system that enables diners to choose restaurants that match their sustainability priorities wherever they are in the world was launched recently by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). Some of the best restaurants in the world have already completed the SRA rating and a number of others have committed to doing so. Narisawa, the two Michelin-starred restaurant in Tokyo, won the Sustainable Restaurant Award, sponsored by Zacapa, at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year, by achieving the highest score among the 50 Best Restaurants to complete the SRA’s new Global Rating survey. Noma, in Denmark and 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA, in Hong Kong, completed the top three in this award. The SRA’s Global Sustainability Rating means diners in New York, Paris, Tokyo or Sydney for example, who care about where their food comes from, how restaurants manage their energy, waste and water and how they treat their staff, can check their credentials.
SAN DIEGO—Leading MRO provider HD Supply Facilities Maintenance and Greystar Real Estate Partners announced the launch of a new program to promote sustainability and help the environment by planting thousands of trees.
PORTLAND, ORE.—MeetGreen has added a new product to its suite of sustainable event tools. MeetGreen clients can now access Sustainable Event Solutions’ Sustainable Event Management System (SEMS) and Policy Wizard through meetgreen.com specifically by clicking here.
NATIONAL REPORT—There are very few industries in which competitors have come together and collaborated to address the problem of inconsistent carbon reporting. Despite increasing concerns that carbon reporting is a “tick box” exercise, non-comparable and ultimately informs little about the actual positive change a company is making, collaboration for the sake of a solution often seems a step too far. The global hotel industry is proving that it’s not. The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI), created by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and International Tourism Partnership (ITP), is the first consistent approach to reporting in the industry. With members of both organizations being fundamental in its development the methodology has been created by the industry, for the industry and has consequently proved both relevant and simple to implement. As one ITP member comments, “HCMI looks simple, but a huge amount of effort went into making it simple so that everyone can use it.” The methodology has been developed to be robust enough to meet global carbon reporting standards.
WHITE SALMON, WASH.—Travel businesses face a multitude of challenges: rising costs, shrinking resources, and increasing pressure to raise the bar on sustainable practices that reduce environmental impacts. Leading-edge businesses are turning responsibility into opportunity. They understand that long-term success requires stewardship of the destinations they serve. They also effectively communicate how their actions can make a difference by engaging customers and increasing brand loyalty.
NATIONAL REPORT—The bicycle is making a big comeback. More than 500 cities in 49 countries now have advanced bicycle-sharing programs—evidence of the growing interest in carbon-free travel. In the lodging industry, making bicycles available to guests is becoming more common and even standard practice in some companies. Starwood’s Element hotels, for example, are required to have at least two bicycles available for guests as part of the brand’s Bikes-to-Borrow program. All Kimpton hotel properties offer bicycles as well. Properties offering bicycles as an amenity are meeting the needs of an increasingly green-minded and health-conscious traveler community. The cost of renting a car or the high cost of gasoline are also driving travelers toward two wheels instead of four. Running a bicycle lending program on one’s own can be a challenge. “Some have underestimated what it takes to run one,” says Timothy Ericson, CEO and co-founder of Zagster. There are maintenance, safety, liability, and even marketing concerns that can be a hassle for a hotel owner or manager.
CAMBRIDGE, MASS.—Zagster, a company that provides bikes as a service, announced it has partnered with the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing to offer bike sharing services to guests. Hotel guests can reserve and ride comfortable, city-friendly cruiser bikes, giving them a healthy, convenient and fun way to explore the area, visit friends or attend business meetings.
HEREFORD, ARIZ.—March was a good month for Patrick Dome and Karl Schmitt, co-owners of the 10-room Casa de San Pedro B&B in Hereford, Ariz. The 105-panel, 34-kilowatt, solar photovoltaic array positioned on the south side of their B&B supplied 125 percent of the electricity they needed for the month. The panels typically supply about 90 percent of the B&B’s electricity. Given its Arizona location, the Casa de San Pedro B&B is ideally located to take advantage of the sun’s power; the inn also uses a simple passive solar system (black piping) to heat water for the pool. Schmitt says that system, attached to the pool water filtration system, helps extend the pool’s season by two months—one month in spring and one in fall. The solar panels were expensive—$170,000—but Schmitt expects a return on investment of 4.5 years. Already, the B&B’s owners have obtained grants totaling $67,000 and may receive yet another for $42,000. The inn’s owners’ approach to sustainability appeals to their clientele—bird watchers and naturalists.
ALPHARETTA, GA.—BEST WESTERN PLUS The Inn at King of Prussia, a 168-room property owned and operated by RWK Enterprises, Inc., has completed a furniture refinishing and armoire conversion project led by The Refinishing Touch. Within 30 days, The Refinishing Touch restored headboards, nightstands, side chairs, benches, desks, micro fridge cabinets and armoires in 100 rooms throughout the establishment.
EMERYVILLE, CALIF.—SCS Global Services (SCS) has earned accreditation from the Costa Rican government as a carbon footprint verification body under its ambitious new climate policy, which aims to make Costa Rica the first carbon neutral country. SCS will verify the measurement of private and public sector entities’ carbon footprints to help the government evaluate policies for emissions reduction.
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