Sustainability is a transversal enabler of value in NH Hotel Group, with three fundamental commitments: care for customers, the destinations where the Group’s hotels are located, and the planet.
The environmental effects associated to NH Hotel Group’s activities are identified through an analysis of processes and operations carried out in the different areas of the hotels. These are reflected in the environmental Management System in place within the organization.
To fulfill the Company’s commitment to the environment, the Sustainability Policy establishes the principles of action for the entire organization in this area.
NH Hotel Group Sustainability Policy
• We apply criteria of efficiency and sustainability in all processes and decisions that have an impact on the environment, using innovation, eco-efficiency 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, committed 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 improve 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 into and spreading knowledge of the environment and energy efficiency.
Key environmental indicators
The Sustainability Plan defines six key goals on the basis of which the Company makes cross-cutting decisions to reach its targets.
In 2018, three out of the six sustainability targets set in the Sustainability Plan have been reached. Specifically, the targets set for the accumulated savings indicator, energy ratio and carbon footprint ratio.
Since the start of the II Strategic Plan in 2013, the carbon footprint per room sold has been reduced by 25% and energy consumption per room sold has been reduced by 8.7%. However, water consumption has increased by 5%.
SUSTAINABILITY PROJECTS IN THE STRATEGIC PLAN
The two specific projects established to meet NH Hotel Group’s environmental goals are the Green Savings Project and the Green Hotel Project.
GREEN SAVINGS PROJECT
This project is focused on obtaining savings in the Company’s operating costs and on energy efficiency, to ensure a saving in resources: water, energy and other expenses, such as laundry expenses.
To keep exhaustive and rigorous control over the energy consumption, carbon footprint and water consumption measures, NH Hotel Group uses the Sustain Focus platform, from which the KPIs of the sustainability strategy are monitored. This is an online system to which almost all the Company’s hotels have access and that permits reporting, control, follow-up and traceability of the indicators as well as giving the consumption ratios and costs of water and energy usage.
Energy efficiency plan
This plan combines energy efficiency projects, considering all the projects that can improve energy consumption in the hotel, as well as the associated costs:
• Replacing equipment with more efficient models: pumps, minibars, washing systems, heating and air-conditioning systems, boilers, coolers…
• Investments relating to control of installations: energy management systems in buildings, updated meters, improvements in lighting…
• Actions on the façade of buildings that provide improvements in the enclosure and insulation.
As a result, in 2018 projects to improve energy efficiency totaling 6.9 million euros were carried out.
Environmental certification program
The hotels of NH Hotel Group have ISO 14001 environmental management certification and ISO 50001 energy efficiency certification for the accommodation, restaurant, meetings and events services. 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, 14 hotels have obtained some kind of sustainability recognition for the first time, bringing the total number of Group hotels with certification up to 141. It should be noted that in 2018 the NH The Lord Charles was the first hotel in South Africa to obtain a Green Key certification. Furthermore, Mexico had two hotels gaining Green Key certification for the first time: NH Centro Histórico and NH Collection Guadalajara Providencia.
Thus, up to 141 hotels have external individual certifications in sustainability and globally recognized endorsements such as BREEAM, LEED, Green Key, Hoteles+Verdes, ISO 14001 or ISO 50001.
At the end of 2018, NH Hotel Group has 174 hotels recognized as Green Leaders by TripAdvisor, with 49% of the Company’s hotels now holding this award.
Commitment to the Carbon Disclosure Project
Since 2010 NH Hotel Group has participated in the global climate change sustainability index Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). This independent nonprofit organization analyzes the environmental performance of companies.
In the latest report for 2018, the Company obtained an A- score in the Climate Change Index, which places NH Hotel Group among the leading companies in taking measures to reduce emissions efficiently, which is indicative of advanced environmental management. This result places the Company above the average for its sector and region.
Commitment to the Climate
In accordance with the objectives of the Corporate Responsibility Strategic Plan 2017-2019, carbon footprint reductions have been analyzed and the target of 8 kg CO2/RN has been set. The Company also sets medium and long-term goals, with the global perspective of contribution to a low-carbon global economy.
NH Hotel Group aims to obtain greater efficiency in the consumption of resources and to reduce its carbon footprint. For this purpose, the Annual Investment Plan approved by the Management Commitment and the commitment to green energy promote improvements in adapting to climate change.
NH Hotel Group is actively involved in a variety of initiatives that contribute to reducing the emissions generated by the hotels and the activities that take place in them. Each hotel in the portfolio has carbon footprint reduction targets and a background history of data so it is possible to provide evidence of the commitment to reduction.
Customers are also encouraged to get involved when they celebrate events at the hotels through the “Eco-friendly Meetings & Events” service and the service that calculates the carbon footprint of their events and meetings and offers the possibility of compensating for the emissions, thus achieving a lesser impact on the environment.
The Company participates in different forums and projects to favor the fight against climate change and the reduction in carbon emissions.
Initiatives for the fight against climate change
Participation in forums and working groups
• Spanish Green Growth Group
NH Hotel Group has been part of the Spanish Green Growth Group (GECV) since it was created in 2016. This is a platform for public-private collaboration to advance together in the battle against climate change and towards a low-carbon economy.
In 2018, together with another 30 Spanish multinational and medium-sized companies, the NH Hotel Group signed a petition for an “ambitious” Climate Change and Energy Transition Act “as a source of opportunities”, in a pioneering initiative in Spain, coordinated by the GECV.
• Working Group on Water and Carbon Footprint of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP)
In 2018, the ITP and its members have continued to work on their four common goals; two of which are carbon emissions and water shortage.
NH Hotel Group has participated in the working groups with the aim of complementing the individual goals of each company in the sector through collaboration and working together to multiply the impact of actions.
Global initiative to raise awareness about reducing carbon emissions
• World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Earth Hour 2018
For the tenth consecutive year, NH Hotel Group joined in this global initiative which seeks to raise awareness about Climate Change. The Group’s hotels participated by switching off the lighting on their façades for one hour, and organized numerous activities to involve customers such as acoustic concerts, dinners by candlelight, menus prepared from a lower energy consumption perspective, etc.
NH Hotel Group products to reduce emissions
• EcoFriendly meetings and events
The Group’s hotels seek to involve customers as they hold their events by offering the “Eco-friendly Meetings & Events” service and a service that calculates the carbon footprint of the events and meetings held. An emission offset service is also offered.
• Sustainable mobility
During customers’ stay and tourist visits, the Company offers mobility services such as car-sharing or bicycle hire. At present there are more than 75 hotels that offer bicycle hire, as well as charging points for electric cars installed in 48 hotels. In 2018 the bid to offer electric mobility recharge services continues, with an increase in the number of hotels with this service.
Since 2014 NH Hotel Group has had a global sustainable mobility standard.
Awards for reducing emissions
• Green Hotelier Award 2018 from the International Tourism Partnership (ITP)
The hotel NH Noordwijk Conference Center Leeuwenhorst (The Netherlands) received a Green Hotelier Award 2018 in the carbon category.
This hotel has exceeded its targets for last year by reducing its energy consumption per occupied room by 15%. The building has centralized systems to control room temperature and monitor the use of energy throughout the building. The hotel also helps its guest to reduce their own footprint by offering charging points for electric cars and bicycle hire.
GREEN HOTELS PROJECT
This project seeks to offer value to customers through sustainable actions, placing emphasis on the innovation attributes that improve brand perception.
NH Hotel Group is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, and therefore the Company is committed to renewable energy.
Renewable or green energy consumption was available in 2018 in 76% of the hotels in Spain, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg, covering 81% of the total electricity consumed by the Group’s hotels in Europe.
Commitment to reduce single-use plastics
In 2018, European legislation on single-use plastics has been identified as a relevant impact. Accordingly, a plan has been established to eliminate disposable single-use plastic articles from all hotel brands of NH Hotel Group. An annual reduction of more than 13 million single-use plastic articles in the Group’s hotels is forecast.
As a first step, NH Hotel Group has joined in the commitment to eliminate plastic drinking straws in all its hotels. This initiative means that 1.1 million plastic straws a year will no longer be used in the Group’s bars and restaurants.
From 2019, articles such as plastic cups in rooms, laundry bags, slipper packaging or sweet wrappers, among others, will disappear or be replaced with more sustainable alternatives.
Customer satisfaction with sustainability
NH Hotel Group measures customer satisfaction in terms of sustainability, an indicator that at the end of 2018 scores 8.28 out of 10, just two tenths below the target set for the year.
This indicator is measured using the Quality Focus Online Tool, which enables the user to monitor the rating given by the customer by following reviews shared through internal channels and online channels.
Collaboration with Booking.com to communicate sustainability
Throughout 2018, NH Hotel Group has collaborated with Booking.com, one of the most relevant online rate finders and meta-search engines for booking accommodation, in order to identify the best way to communicate the sustainable commitment of the establishments included on the site. The aim is to convey to the end customer the added and differential value of establishments that integrate sustainable strategies in their operations.
Specific sustainability actions in hotels
Southern Europe Business Unit
• URBAN WASTE European Project – Urban Waste – Urban Strategies for Waste Management in tourist cities
NH Hotel Group participates through its hotels NH Lisboa Campo Grande (Portugal) and NH Santander (Spain) in this European project which seeks to implement strategies for the prevention, collection and management of waste.
• 10th Waste Reduction Week
The NH Hotel Group hotels in Italy support this initiative by distributing themed kits that use a game as the way to foster good practice in waste management, with the aim of raising awareness amongst employees and customers.
• M’illumino di Meno
Also in Italy, the Group’s hotels participated for the second consecutive year in this initiative promoted by Radio2 Caterpillar which seeks to raise awareness about saving energy through a campaign in which the main action involves switching off interior and exterior lighting, as well as sharing information. Both employees and customers of the hotels had the opportunity to join in this initiative.
Northern Europe Business Unit
• Prevention of food waste
NH Hotel Group is aware that when food is wasted, not only the food is lost but also other resources associated to food production or transport. In March 2018, a training workshop was held in The Netherlands on the subject of “food waste”. The event, held at NH Conference Centre Leeuwenhorst (Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands) was attended by personnel with environmental responsibilities from the certified hotels in this country. At the workshop, good practice driven from the kitchen to avoid and reduce food waste was shared.
• Meteorology and Air Quality in Amsterdam
The NH Carlton Amsterdam, which will open in 2019 totally refurbished under the name of NH Collection Amsterdam Flower Market, has been collaborating since 2018 with the Meteorology and Air Quality Research Group of the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands) in a two-year-long project to measure air quality.
Accordingly, innovative measuring equipment was installed at the top of the hotel, at a height of 45 meters. The object of the project, financed by the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, is to find out how a city responds to the climate: measure heat exchange, humidity, CO2 and methane in the air layer above the city.
• Good practice in responsible water management
The NH The Lord Charles, located in Cape Town (South Africa), was selected by the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) as an example of best practice in the hotel sector in responsible water management and its case was presented at World Water Week, held in Stockholm in August 2018.
The aim is to show that hotels are proactive against water risks, especially in areas where there is a shortage of water, such as Cape Town, where the NH The Lord Charles has implemented a multitude of savings initiatives.
America Business Unit
• Tree planting in Argentina
In 2018 the NH hotels in Buenos Aires took part in a tree-planting activity at the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve, to celebrate Tourism Day and National Environmental Awareness Day.
• Advances in environmental certification
NH Jousten and NH Collection Lancaster gained advanced-level recognition in 2018 under the Argentinian certification scheme for hostels and hotels thanks to their good environmental performance and the deployment of strategies to prevent pollution and reduce the environmental impact of their activity.
This certification, developed in the framework of the Buenos Aires Produces Cleaner Program in the city of Buenos Aires, recognizes leading hotels in the city in sustainable management.
In turn, the NH Buenos Aires Tango gained Silver Level in the “Hoteles+Verdes” certification scheme in December 2018.
Other environmental initiatives: protection of biodiversity
NH Hotel Group does not operate within protected natural areas. However, the Company has a range of different measures and initiatives in place to preserve and restore biodiversity in the environments where it does business.
• Sustainable fishing
Sustainable fishing is encouraged at the Company’s hotels. In 2018 basic purchasing criteria were created for sea products offered to customers, which are to be implemented in 2019. These guidelines guarantee legal compliance and responsible purchasing of
• Hotels for bees
Conscious of the limited space in cities for biodiversity and aware of the critical situation of bees in Europe, in 2018 five hotels of the Group house bees on their roofs in a safe way for guests. The hotels in question are: NH Wien City (Austria), NH Berlin Alexanderplatz (Germany), NH Potsdam (Germany), NH Köln Altstadt (Germany) and NH Collection Barbizon Palace (The Netherlands).
Urban vegetable gardens
Urban vegetable gardens, grown in the areas adjoining certain of the Company’s hotels, enhance the landscape and increase the gastronomic value of dishes, and reduce their negative environmental impact by reducing the need to transport the products grown there.
The NH Collection Royal Medellin (Colombia), cares for an organic vegetable garden where aromatic herbs such as parsley, thyme, mint, rosemary, peppermint, basil or oregano are grown on a small scale. These herbs, pesticide-free and with a high nutritional value, are used in preparations in the kitchen. The hotel takes care of the green area surrounding it, favoring the habitat of numerous animal species and thus maintaining the connection and transit area between natural areas. This green area is available for guests to enjoy, as well as favoring the mitigation of noise and pollution emissions. The NH Collection Royal Hacienda in Bogotá (Colombia) also has a small herb garden in its exterior gardens, where aromatic plants that are also used in the hotel kitchen are grown. Additionally, 50 additional species of ornamental plants were planted in this garden last year.
In Italy, the NH Collection Piazza Carlina, the NH Milano Congress Center and NH the Torino Centro also have herb gardens; furthermore and in addition to the herb garden, the NH Orio Al Serio has a small vegetable garden where lettuces and tomatoes are grown.
In turn, the NH Collection Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi (Italy), has a garden where aromatic herbs, vegetables and citrus fruits are grown for use in the kitchen and in cosmetics for the hotel spa (aloe vera and lavender). Customers can experience this garden through a route, such as the meditation route, that consists of visiting the five terraces that currently exist: vegetable garden, rose garden, the monks’ walk, botanic garden and relaxation garden.