Having reached the ninth edition of the award, it has become increasingly clear that EHMA members have embedded sustainability deeply in their operations and culture. The hospitality industry in general is raising the bar on sustainability and the circular economy in particular; EHMA General Managers are taking active roles ensuring sustainability and social responsibility are part of the properties’ business plans. Plastic straws and single use packagings are some of the obvious targets, but circularity of resources and materials is being integrated into hotels and their operations in new and innovative ways and in a variety of activities, as demonstrated by this year’s competing projects.
Sustainability is very close to the heart and to the philosophy of Diversey, a company constantly delivering revolutionary cleaning and hygiene technologies. In collaboration with EHMA, Diversey aims at contributing to a profitable hospitality industry which puts the environment and the guest first.
Under the guidance of Manolis Manousos, the Apollonia Beach Resort & Spa in Crete has undertaken 360-degree initiatives demonstrating an outstanding commitment to sustainability by addressing the challenges of climate change with the objective of leading the way in sustainable tourism in Crete. In general, the corporate environmental policy of the Cyan hotel group aims at lowering the carbon footprint; reducing food waste, plastic, packages; reducing the consumption of electricity, water, paper; and last but not least recycling.
Manousos addressed both sides of the issue: technological and social. New energy-saving measures were implemented for lighting, heating and cooling through use of solar energy, biogas and state-of-the-art appliances. Issues such as reduction of water consumption, food waste and single-use plastics were also tackled.
The hotel park was enlarged and reforested. A special tour through the park was created for the guests with information about the heritage and the story of the plants. Electric golf cars are used throughout the property and free-of-charge bicycles are provided to the guests. Vegetables and herbs are grown in a bio-garden, which once a week is taken care of by the children participating in the kids’ club. A vegan restaurant, “Avocado”, was opened in 2019. All waste food generated by the hotel is transferred to an organization that transforms it into animal feed through an innovative process.
Guests are kept informed and are involved in the hotel’s eco-activities; all employees are trained and informed on all critical activities related to sustainability. The Apollonia contributes to the local community through donations, charity and social projects. It is co-founder of the certification “We do local” which supports the area’s economy and promotes the local culture and gastronomy.
As a result of these activities, the Apollonia Resort was able to get numerous certifications and awards for respecting the environment.
A jury comprised of EHMA Treasurer Johanna Fragano; Daniel Daggett, a Diversey sustainability expert; Arjan van Rheede, Hotelschool The Hague, chose this year’s winner.
Besides Manolis Manousos, this year’s candidates were:
- Rudi Jagersbacher, President Hilton Worlwide, Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean, Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, Seychelles, (local implementation of Travel with Purpose, Hilton’s corporate social responsibility strategy to redefine and advance sustainable travel globally);
- Wilhelm Luxem, General Manager, Baur au Lac, Zurich, Switzerland, (heating and cooling project using water from the Lake of Zurich);
- Feliks Magus, General Manager, Nordic Hotel Forum, Tallinn (the first hotel engaged in urban beekeeping in the very heart of the Estonian capital);
- Ilio Rodoni, General Manager Hilton Molino Stucky, Venice, Italy (“Planting a New Forest”, a wild life environmental restoration project after the Vaja storm in 2018).