Home>CATERING & FOOD HYGIENE>Equipment & Services>Eco-conscious hospitality
Home>SUSTAINABILITY>Green Cleaning Methods>Eco-conscious hospitality
Home>SUSTAINABILITY>Green Cleaning Products>Eco-conscious hospitality

Eco-conscious hospitality

26 June 2023

As environmental concerns continue to hit the headlines, Peter Ducker examines sustainable cleaning within the hospitality industry.

I DON'T think many of us will be surprised that cleanliness has shot up the ‘must have’ list when people venture away from the safety of their home. If there’s lessons that we‘ve learned during the pandemic, it’s just how easy it is for germs to spread, and how to judge the safety or otherwise of a venue we visit.

Back in olden times – before early 2020, when we first heard the word ‘lockdown’ – hospitality businesses would, by and large, have named sustainability as their priority focus. Sustainability, particularly reducing the environmental impact of your operations, is just plain good sense for any business, of course, but for hospitality, it ticks every box. 

A sustainable culture not only reduces waste, it reduces the pollution caused by our operations, and the energy we burn to run our businesses. A successful sustainability programme wins clients, saves money and gives staff a belief in the integrity of the company they work for. 

A 2020 survey for the World Economic Forum canvassed Gen Z’s and millennials in 186 countries, finding the three most important things they look for in an employer were: That the company cares both for their well-being and the well-being of the planet; that the company is ethical in all its dealings - with staff, clients and suppliers; and that they as employees have access to facts, data and third-party validation, so that they can be confident about the integrity of their employer.

To sum up – at a time when finding and keeping staff is harder than ever, being the sort of business that they aspire to work in, and can be proud of is the only way forward. The good news is that in striving to satisfy those demands, you also meet your customers’ expectations.

In the home, they recycle or compost household waste, they reduce their food waste, limit the use of single use plastic, limit water usage and buy more seasonal produce. They choose brands that demonstrate environmentally sustainable practices and look to reduce their energy consumption.  It’s fair to assume that they expect nothing less from the hotels, restaurants and bars they frequent.

It’s useful to see some research that confirms just how important this trend is. Deloitte has been researching consumer trends – the actions they take to lead a more sustainable lifestyle in their home, their workplace and in their buying habits, including when they eat, drink or sleep away from home in our establishments.

They want to see more locally sourced fresh products (54%), meat eaters are increasingly becoming “flexitarian” (39%), perhaps the most important statistic is that 34% have stopped using some brands due to ethical or sustainability concerns. 

In these challenging times we need to do everything we can to attract and retain both customers and staff. Resolutions for hospitality businesses in the New Year will all be about winning and retaining customers, retaining and upskilling staff to increase their productivity. But they must also be about reducing food, energy and water waste.

Finally, businesses must ensure that cleaning processes are as efficient as possible. Energy usage accounts for 3-6% of a hotel’s operating costs and contributes to 60% of its CO2 emissions. Efficiency means dishwashing and laundry at lower temperatures and shorter cycles - so the quality of the products used are vital. 

For example, Ariel Professional is specifically formulated to provide outstanding clean, even at colder temperatures – meaning businesses can save energy and in turn save money on bills, while still achieving a spotless clean. In fact, making a simple change such as switching to cold can save up to 40% on washing machine bills. 

Hospitality is a resilient industry, and the long-term projections for growth remain strong. The challenge we face is existential – how can we be sure to still be in business when the economy changes and business is at full steam once more. Many of the answers are buried in this article – recognise what people want (both customers and staff) ensure that every factor you can influence you do, and that you don’t just get it right, you are seen to get it right, retaining the trust of both clients and staff.

Former Institute of Hospitality CEO Peter Ducker has spent a lifetime in the hospitality industry and is a member of P&G Professional's Expert Advisory Council.

For more information visit www.pgpro.co.uk