NH Hotel Group is a company committed to the wellbeing of its guests and efficient management of the available resources in the environment where the Group’s hotels are located. The Company is aware of the effects of its activity on the environment, and works to prevent and anticipate possible environmental contingencies, as well as to integrate sustainability in all its processes, striving to reduce its impacts.

The Company’s environmental management is based on the identification and annual review of the main environmental impacts it could cause through the environmental risk map. In 2018, the risks that have been identified as the most significant are those deriving from climate change, water shortage and the consequences of new European legislation on single-use plastics. Atmospheric pollution, including noise and light pollution, the consumption of raw materials and the protection of biodiversity were not significant after this analysis.

The Company’s main commitments to the environment are set out in the Corporate Responsibility Plan 2017-2019, specifically in the ROOM 4 PLANET pillar, which highlights two major projects focused on the prevention and reduction of carbon emissions and in promoting sustainability among customers.

Effects of NH Hotel Group’ s Activity on the Environment

The environmental effects associated to the activities of NH Hotel Group are identified by analysing the processes and operations carried out in the different areas of the hotels. These are reflected in the Environmental Management System in place in the organization.

To comply with the Company’s commitment to the environment, the Sustainability Policy establishes the principles of action for the entire organization in relation to this matter.

NH Hotel Group Sustainability Policy
We apply criteria of efficiency and sustainability in all processes and decisions with an impact on the environment, using innovation, ecoefficiency and renewable energies, including the prevention of pollution, consuming resources efficiently and reducing the volume of waste we generate
We ensure compliance with legal and other requisites that affect the organization, committing to continuous improvement in the environmental aspects identified for our activity
We promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices among our customers and suppliers, developing actions that contribute to improving the environments of the destinations where we operate
We collaborate with the Administration and other entities in the sector in the development and promotion of sustainable tourism, contributing to research, development and dissemination of knowledge on the environment and energy efficiency

Environmental Certification Program

NH Hotel Group hotels are certified under the ISO 14001 environmental management system and the ISO 50001 energy efficiency system for accommodation, restaurant services, meetings and events. At present, 45% of the hotels in Germany, Spain and Italy have obtained ISO 14001 certification –a total of 88 hotels- or ISO 50001 certification – 24 hotels-.

In 2018, 13 hotels obtained a sustainability recognition for the first time, bringing the total number of Group hotels with certifications up to 137. It should be noted that in 2018 the NH The Lord Charles was the first hotel in South Africa to gain Green Key certification.

Thus, up to 137 hotels have individual external certification in sustainability and globally recognized endorsements such as BREEAM, LEED, Green Key, Hoteles+Verdes, ISO 14001 or ISO 50001.

Furthermore, 168 NH Hotel Group hotels obtained the Green Leaders badge from TripAdvisor, with a total of 56% of the Company’s hotels now holding this recognition.

Environmental Risk Prevention

Environmental risks are identified on the Company’s risk map. They are also contemplated in the Room 4 Planet initiative of the Corporate Responsibility Plan 2017-2019 of NH Hotel Group.

Through the Corporate Responsibility Plan, the Group works to minimize the impact of climate change, increase the efficiency of resources and develop new, more sustainable products.

For the management of the environmental strategy, the Company has a Corporate Environment Department which reports to Operations Management. Furthermore, with the aim of preventing and reducing environmental risks and impacts, teams from different areas, both at corporate and business unit and hotel level, work in coordination on three main areas:

1. Energy efficiency: improvement in the use of energy resources through changes in equipment and adjustments of systems in buildings. In 2018, a total of 6.9 M€ have been invested in improving the Company’s energy efficiency.
2. Environmental certification: implementation of relevant and recognized environmental certification in the NH Hotel Group portfolio.
3. Control of consumption rates: exhaustive and rigorous supervision of the measures implemented in relation to energy consumption, carbon footprint and water consumption. The sustainability indicators are monitored using the Sustain Focus online platform, accessed from the Company’s hotels, which lets indicators such as water and energy consumption, among others, be reported, controlled, monitored and traced.

Provisions and safeguards for environmental risks

NH Hotel Group makes investments in environmental activities that are stated at cost and capitalized as a higher cost of fixed assets or inventories in the year in which they are incurred.

Expenses derived from the protection and improvement of the environment are recorded in the income statement in the year in which they incur, independently of when the associated monetary or financial flow takes place.

Provisions related to likely or certain liabilities, ongoing litigation and ongoing damage compensation or obligations relating to the environment, the amount of which has not been determined, not covered by the Company’s insurance policies, are set up at the start of the liability or obligation that determines a possible compensation or payment.

Waste Management and Circular Economy

Waste Management Plan

NH Hotel Group has implemented in all its hotels a system of waste separation at the point of origin to permit recycling. The types of waste separated are: paper and cardboard, glass, used oil, plastic packaging, cartons and tins and organic. This system permits the recovery of material for recycling and subsequent valuation. Hazardous waste is separated according to the legal requisites of each region. Withdrawn furniture and fittings that are in good condition during refurbishment processes may be given away to employees or donated to local organizations.

In 2018, an analysis was carried out to identify potential significant sources of scope 3 emissions, among which the waste generated was identified. To obtain the necessary information to estimate such emissions, a tool has been designed which is expected to allow a more efficient monitoring of waste generation and treatment.

Collaboration with suppliers

In 2018, participation commenced in the programme for the recovery of aluminium coffee capsules by the Company’s coffee suppliers, thus reducing the impact these capsules generate on the environment.

In 2018, the NH Hotel Group hotels in the city of Buenos Aires started to collect used soap in order to donate it to the SOS Jabón solidarity recycling program, which consists of processing soap in order to manufacture new bars of soap, which are donated to vulnerable communities.

At NH Royal Terra 100 (Bogotá, Colombia) unused soap is also separated to be used and revalued into other products. Thanks to the collaboration with the processing company, this product becomes soap for pets, and after chemical processing, it is also used for plant fertilizer.

NH Hotel Group’s participation in events on circular economy and waste management

During 2018, both the Company and different hotels of the Group participated in several events and forums on circular economy and waste management.

Prevention of Food Wastage

NH Hotel Group is aware that due to food wastage, not only these resources are wasted but also others associated to food production or transport.

The origin of food wastage is generated in the process of preparing each of the F&B services. To minimize the impact of wastage, the hotels apply processes, tehnical data sheets and preparation standards in the production chain to guarantee them. These are applied based on a forecast of needs (orders), preparation, conservation and turnover of all products, also guaranteeting the best quality.

In March 2018, a training workshop on food wastage was held in Benelux, United Kingdom, France and South Africa. The event, which took place at the NH Conference Centre Leeuwenhorst (Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands), was attended by the personnel responsible for the environment in certified hotels in that country. During the session, good practice promoted from the kitchens to avoid and reduce food wastage was shared.

Sustainable Use of Resources

Water consumption and supply

Since the first Strategic Sustainability Plan was defined with base year 2007, water consumption savings measures have been implemented such as aerators and consumption reduction devices in cisterns, the installation of innovative water recovery and reutilization systems, employee training and awareness raising and the redesign of operating guidelines and actions in kitchen and floors.

Furthermore, since 2014 showers have been implemented progressively which achieve a reduction in water volume of 40% thanks to their saving technology.

Consumption of raw materials and commitment to reduce single-use plastics

Although consumption of raw materials is not an aspect that has been significant for NH Hotel Group in its analysis of environemtnal risks, European legislation on single-use plastic does have a relevant impact. Accordingly, the Company has established a plan to eliminate disposable single-use plastic articles from its standards for all brands in the portfolio. Thus, the new standards envisage an annual reduction of more than 13 million single-use plastic articles in the Group’s hotels.

As a first step, NH Hotel Group has signed up to the commitment of eliminating plastic drinking straws in all its hotels. This initiative means that 1.1 million plastic straws per year will cease to be used in the Group’s bars and restaurants.

Starting from 2019, articles such as plastic cups in rooms, laundry bags, slipper packaging, sweet wrappers, among others, will disappear and will be replaced with more sustainable alternatives.

Direct and indirect energy consumption

Commitment to the use of renewable energy

NH Hotel Group is a Company that is commited to reducing its carbon footprint and therefore believes in renewable energy.

The consumption of renewable or green energy is available in 79% of the hotels in Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg, covering 90% of the total electricity consumed by the Group’s hotels in these countries.

NH Hotel Group expects the electricity consumed by its hotels in Europe to be 100% green in the coming years.

Commitment against Climate Change

In 2018, NH Hotel Group started to design a new tool to obtain information on scope 3 emissions. This initiative aims to measure new sources of indirect emissions occurring in the Company’s value chain.

As a result of the analysis carried out, five potentially significant sources of emission have been identified (transport, business trips, rental vehicles, waste generated and hotels under a franchise model). To gather the necessary information to calculate these emissions, an information collection model has been prepared which the Company will start to use in the course of this year.

The Group currently reports and verifies its carbon footprint generated by its activity (Scope 1 and 2), as well as the emisssions generated by the outsourced laundry service (Scope 3).

Furthermore, since 2010 NH Hotel Group has participated in the CDP global climate change sustainability index (Climate Change Project). This independent non-profit organization analyses the environmental performance of companies.

In the last report of 2018, the Company obtained a rating of A- in the Climate Index, which places NH Hotel Group among the leading companies in the adoption of measures to reduce emissions efficiently, indicating an advanced environmental management. This result places the Company above the average for its sector and region.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Climate Change Adaptation Measures

NH Hotel Group seeks to obtain greater efficiency in the consumption of resources and to reduce its carbon footprint. With this aim, the Annual Investment Plan, approved by the Management Committee, and the Green Energy Commitment promote improvements in adaptation to climate change.

The Company participates in different forums and projects to promote the fight against climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions

Greenhouse gas emission reduction goals

NH Hotel Group has been implementing programs to reduce carbon footprint since 2008.

In accordance with the objectives of the strategic Corporate Responsible Plan 2017-2019, carbon footprint reductions have been analyzed and the target of 8 kg of CO2/RN has been established, which represents a reduction of 47% compared to the base year of 2016.

The Company also establishes medium and long-term goals, with the global perspective of contributing to a low-carbon global economy.

Protection of Biodiversity

NH Hotel Group does not carry out its activity in protected natural areas. However, the Company has a range of measures and initiatives in place to preserve and restore biodiversity in the areas in which it does operate.