What is the impact of hospitality and events on the environment?
Updated: Apr 13
Part II: Hospitality Operations
In this article, we look in depth at the contribution of Hospitality operations to the problem and our sustainable solutions.
This is a big question that requires a suitably complex answer. We cannot help but witness in both fixed location and temporary hospitality venues the large amount of consumption and resulting waste, see picture above if you are struggling to remember what the end of an event can look like. There have been valiant attempts to calculate this waste, for example a study in California in 2006 found that 2.5 pounds (1.25kg) of waste is created by a single person at an event. These interconnected industries, with a combined contribution to the UK economy of £115.3 Billion in 2016/17, are economically significant as well as socially and culturally necessary so we must work hard to reduce this impact.
The next consideration in answering this question is to look at the impact of serving the food and drink products that often already have a large existing carbon footprint. The scope for the impact on the environment of running hospitality venues and events is far ranging from the transport policies for staff to the use of single use plastic on the bars. Other possible footprints can be found in recycling practises including food and water, CFC emissions from refrigeration units and even the efficiency of the light bulbs. If you take each element in isolation it may not seem like a big deal but when you consider these elements as a whole and multiply them across all the fixed and non-fixed hospitality spaces in the world it quickly adds up. This is perhaps why the University of Cambridge Institute Sustainability found in 2014 that tourism which overlaps often with hospitality accounts of 4.9% of global greenhouse emissions. Unlike food and drink production this impact can be controlled by the industry itself and is a very visible and tangible way in which operators can reduce the footprint for their businesses and consequently the planet as a whole.
Sustainability accreditation: We have been accredited subject to audit for our sustainable practises, for more information our sustainability click here
On-site recycling: We travel with a recycling unit which allows us to sort on-site our waste, something that minimises the amount of recyclable waste that ends up in landfill.
Low emissions transport: Currently we have a small fleet of Euro 6.1 class Vans, with the highest payload allowed on a standard license. This means we need less vans on the road, as we can pack more.
Staff Recruitment and Training: Your systems are only as good as the people implementing them. We recruit staff that care about the planet and believe in our mission, we have to because the systems we run require attention and care. We train each staff member in our practices, especially in regards to recycling on the bar, so that we maximise the effectiveness of our sustainable operations.
By Dominic John
Dominic is the Sustainable Business Director at The Natural Bar Company. He has worked in hospitality and events for the past fifteen years and in sustainable businesses for the past three years, his passion is creating closed loop systems and proving that sustainability in the long run can save rather than cost money to a business .