A ongoing process
For a spa hotel, launching greener initiatives - especially in old, historic buildings - demands a huge amount of research and planning.
Every single day, our Sustainability Manager, Pavlina Blanarikova is in close contact with all departments in the hotel in the endeavour to find new approaches to, and ways of optimisation.
“We have lots of plans for our green journey. However, even though it’s important for us to evolve all the time, we are aware that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Kurhotel Skodsborg is a luxury spa hotel and, of course, our guests come first. They’re the reason for our existence, and it’s vital that any changes should positively enhance the experience of our guests, as well as our green journey,”says Pavlina, Sustainability Manager.
“The transition is an ongoing process, and it’s important for the great work we’re doing to make a visible impact. That’s why we discuss every single measure both before and after implementation to ensure we’re heading in the right direction.”
Improved Well-being and Fewer Chemicals
The strength of Kurhotel Skodsborg lies in our skilled, dedicated staff, who make everyday life at the hotel very special. For us as a spa hotel, mental and physical well-being are of course paramount, and we strive to improve the health and well-being of every single person in Kurhotel Skodsborg - staff and guests alike. We are firm believers in staff involvement and every month, to ensure the well-being of everyone, we issue an optional staff survey, which employees can answer anonymously. Once every three months we ask our employees for additional feedback on our green initiatives, so we don’t miss out on good insights and ideas - both about those in the pipeline and those already in operation.
In September 2022, we commissioned a new cleaning technology from PureTech, and we are already seeing an extensive and positive effect. The technology, which consists of an eco-certified surface treatment of the rooms, means we can now make do with three different cleaning agents instead of the previous eight. As a result, our staff are exposed to far fewer chemicals and their skin, sense of smell and breathing have improved. Those of our guests who usually suffer from allergens, such as perfume and dust, are also noticing a clear improvement in the treated rooms.
PureTech’s cleaning method prevents dust and dirt from settling on walls and furniture. This keeps a room clean for longer and makes it easier to clean – even with fewer chemicals. What’s more, even though 90% of our cleaning products are certified with the EU Eco Label or the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, we are noticing more advantages in the PureTech treatment.
Since entering into the partnership with PureTech, more than half of our rooms have been treated, and we are continuously working to ensure that all our rooms will be fully treated by the end of summer 2023.
We Love Local
Our fantastic location is one of the main reasons that Kurhotel Skodsborg is so special. Skodsborg’s setting, perched as it is between forest and water, creates a close connection with, and love of nature — something clearly reflected in the work of many of the local businesspersons. We have particular respect for those of them who actively contribute to the green journey of both our guests and ourselves. So, our Spa Shop features not only well-known, highly popular brands, but also products from new, local companies trying to gain a foothold in a highly competitive market with their wonderful products and ideas.
Food Waste Turned Into Gas
Food waste is a major issue in the hotel and restaurant industry – and of course we are no exception. We are working hard to reduce food waste: for example, by carefully measuring the amount of leftovers and adjusting our purchases accordingly. Any food waste that we may have left over is weighed and milled and then sent to BioTrans, who convert it into biogas for heating, electricity and fertiliser.
The food waste we cannot grind is collected by HCS, who make sure that it also gets transformed. Every ton of kitchen waste can be converted into around 120 m³ of biogas, and the waste that cannot be turned into gas is made into fertiliser. In 2022, we had approximately 4.5 tons of bio-waste, which HCS converted into biogas (about 480 m³) and fertiliser.
Many of the spices and vegetables we use we grow in our own kitchen garden, and more than 30% of the food we serve is organic. To the greatest extent possible, our brilliant chefs attempt to shop locally and seasonally and have, for example, organised internal competitions that involve creative ways to reduce food waste. The competitions have proven to be both great fun and an educational challenge.
Less Plastic, More Recycling
Plastic can be used for many things and can, in principle, be a sustainable solution. However, we are seriously trying to cut down on the use of single-use plastics. As mentioned, we do not offer our guests products made of, or packed in single-use plastic, and we return the boxes our food is delivered in to our suppliers.
We sort any remaining plastic we cannot reuse and send it for recycling. Currently, we sort waste into 13 different categories: for example, cardboard, plastic, building materials, glass and electronics. One recent addition to the hotel is a textile container.
We try to recycle what we can, and invest in materials that have already been recycled. One small, but excellent detail is the fact that the uniforms worn by our highly professional receptionists are made from recycled polyester and wool.
Kurhotel Skodsborg in the Future
Working with environmental labelling has generated so many ideas and goals for our green journey. It is vital for companies like ours to look within and decide whether what we are doing is good enough and how we can improve.
The green transition is certainly a long, more extensive process, but it has already changed everyday life at our beloved spa hotel. We have decided to implement our responsibility in a more focused way and actively help improve the culture of well-being - for ourselves, our guests and the climate.
We hope that our transparency may inspire others and illustrate the fact that we are open to new ideas and initiatives that can help us proceed on our green journey.
GREEN KEY 2022
Green Key is the international eco-label that is awarded to companies who go that extra mile on behalf of the environment. A company’s environmental friendliness is checked on the basis of 13 categories with 338 mandatory considerations for which points are awarded.
One point in the Environmental Management category relates to the extent to which the company has appointed two environmental managers with responsibility for the environmental initiative work. For this purpose, we have hired a Sustainability Manager who works specifically and purposefully to optimise Kurhotel Skodsborg’s green journey. Similarly, in accordance with requirements, we will conduct an annual review of the Green Key criteria and submit our environmental objectives and action plan. Thereby, we will always evolve.
Food consumption and food waste also constitute one of our focus points. For example, we hope that by offering more vegetarian and vegan alternatives we can help minimise our meat consumption – especially meat with a high carbon footprint. Our skilled chefs make clever, creative use of different vegetables, so our guests’ dining experience remains outstanding.
It takes large amounts of both energy and water to run a spa hotel. As a Green Key hotel, we are committed to submitting an energy report every 5 years and to work purposefully on suggestions for improving the energy audit and energy labelling.
GREEN RESTAURANT BRONZE 2022
As the name indicates, ‘Green Restaurant is Green Key’s eco-labelling scheme for restaurants that aim to be more environmentally friendly. The company is awarded points based on 12 criteria and is ranked as: Green Restaurant, Green Restaurant Bronze, Green Restaurant Silver or Green Restaurant Gold.
Kurhotel Skodsborg was ranked as a Green Restaurant Bronze because we meet all mandatory criteria, score more than 50% points in the points criteria and have a bronze Organic Dining Label. The mandatory criteria include setting and implementing a minimum of 2 environmental objectives each year, training and informing colleagues on how to support sustainable action - and much, much more.
The criteria you can score points on range from the type of kitchen equipment, initiatives for getting staff involved and which energy source you use. For example, we were awarded points for the internal competition among our chefs to reduce food waste.
Our goal, of course, is to gain Gold. For example, we will be looking into how to produce our own energy and replace more of the products we use with environmentally friendly alternatives.