By Brian Collett — Employees at the Landgut Stober hotel at Nauen, near Berlin, including a number of refugees, have become a “nurturing family”, said the judges of the Green Hotelier Awards, which name the world’s most eco-friendly and sustainable establishments every year.
The judges, who made the Landgut Stober the Europe winner in this year’s awards, noted that the hotel was self-sufficient in energy, collected rainwater for flushing toilets and found engaging ways of sharing their green innovations with guests.
The awards, run by the London-based International Tourism Partnership, which promotes responsible conduct in the industry, rates hotels on their reduction of energy and water use, waste practices, policies on employees and the local community, and the way they communicate their responsibility ethos to guests.
They are open to hotels of any size anywhere. This year they attracted almost 60 per cent more applications than in 2016.
In the Europe section the Novotel in Blackfriars, London, and the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin were highly commended.
The Africa and Middle East winner was the Chole Mjini on Chole Island, Tanzania, which provides its own energy and works with guests to minimise consumption. The hotel cooks with wood, uses small amounts of kerosene for hot water, uses non-potable water for outdoor showers and provides dry compost toilets.
Within its community, the hotel finances education and works with the locals to choose improvement projects.
The Asia Pacific winner was Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, which runs carbon offset projects.
Rainwater collection and desalination make the hotel self-sufficient in water, and 90 per cent of waste is converted into income. For example, styrofoam and glass waste is turned into lightweight bricks for construction. The hotel’s youth career initiative helps young people into jobs and teaches hundreds of children to swim, thereby saving lives.
El Albergue at Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of southern Peru won the Americas section, mainly thanks to its organic farm, which cuts the hotel’s environmental impact and the waste caused by agricultural practices and poor food management.
The farm supplies food to the hotel restaurant and is used for lunches at which guests can experience eco-friendly ancestral farming practices. At other times the farm becomes a school where children can learn skills, values and knowledge needed for good citizenship.
Siobhan O’Neill, editor of the trade magazine Green Hotelier and one of the judges, said: “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.
“Many hotels are striving to do their best to take care of their environment, their staff and their community even when local conditions make it difficult.”
Another judge, Nicolas Perin, programme manager of the International Tourism Partnership, said: “We were … 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.”