Global Warming of 1.5c – IPCC October 2018 report

A stark report from the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change has categorically warned of the fateful consequences if the world fails to deliver actions to cap global warming to 1.5c above pre-industrial levels.

Read the Press Release here with links to the full report https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/ 

GHP Comment:  It is clear that the Irish Government is not willing to provide the relevant leadership required to move Ireland to a more sustainable future.  Ministers are afraid of the political consequences and are quite happy to obfuscate and bury in reports and meetings any real actions that could at least improve our situation.

We will see in our lifetime changes to the world that can never be reversed and eventually our economy will suffer as our untenable position as one of the worlds major carbon polluters per capita in the world will be met with penal fines – which the governemnt of the day will blame on previous governments and external powers – never our fault of course.

We are failing to address the carbon emissions from farming and creating huge barriers to enable people and businesses take direct action.  The level of paperwork and distrust faced by the business sector to support carbon reduction initiatives is staggering – leading to many just not bothering.

 

 

Monasterboice Hotel invests in Energy Efficiency with EXEED

The Monasterboice Inn completes a major energy efficient renovation project using SEAI EXEED system

 

The Monasterboice Inn has recently extended its premises by 25%, while at the same time reducing energy costs with support from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

The Inn is located north of Drogheda on the main Dublin Belfast route. They constructed a new conference centre extension and dramatically upgraded the energy efficiency of their premises using SEAI’s EXEED (Excellence in Energy Efficient Design) certification programme.

SEAI’s EXEED encourages innovation in how we design and manage projects and is driving the adoption of longer-term solutions to the energy challenges we face. The benefit of EXEED is that energy performance is considered at the very beginning of the design of a new build or major upgrade project, reducing energy consumption and operational costs for the lifetime of the building.

In addition, SEAI supports up to €500,000 per year to businesses or public bodies applying EXEED in the design of projects.

Commenting on EXEED, Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI, said: “SEAI is already supporting over 70 businesses in achieving EXEED certification and significantly reducing their energy consumption. Last year, SEAI invested €1.6 million in EXEED projects, ranging from educational facilities, to pharmaceutical companies to public buildings. Projects that consider energy performance and energy management at the design stage can save up to 30% in energy use and typically save on capital expenditure for new investments.”

The upgrade of the Monasterboice Inn was led by the owner Roseanne Donegan and the general manager Karl Murphy. While planning their new conference centre, they realised that the stream running through the site would need to be re-piped. Their heating company Eurotech had the expertise to harness its energy, but recommended they go further and use a design-led approach to improving energy performance.

Their motivation was to do business responsibly using less fossil fuels and to lower costs. Roseanne Donegan talks about their environmental motivations: “The biggest problem with climate change, is that everybody thinks somebody else is going to solve it. We all need to live and do business responsibly. If everybody does something, no matter how small, it will encourage others to do likewise and then maybe tipping point could be avoided. Certainly, at this point, doing nothing is not an option. It also makes commercial sense.”

The challenge, in the beginning, was to get all of the design team on board. The EXEED consultant was key in this. He held meetings with all involved before the build, ensuring that they understood the concept of a design-led approach.

They now use this approach in everything they do. For example, if they are buying a new oven, they consider its energy usage before purchase. Their managers are aware of their daily energy usage.

They designed the new conference centre to maximise natural daylight and provide an attractive bright space. There is now high-grade insulation throughout the building, and it has been made as airtight as possible and includes triple-A glazed windows. Although initially, this resulted in a higher build cost, they now have a more comfortable building that is cheaper to run.

They installed smart lighting in their conference rooms and car parks. The lighting is lux level and light sensor controlled. This gives perfect lighting, and uses far less energy.

The old gas boilers were replaced with heat pumps. The heat pumps provide heating and cooling to the building. Energy is extracted from an onsite stream. The pumps take moisture from the atmosphere and convert it to heat using very little electricity. They also capture the hot air from the extractor fans and use it to heat water. This heat was previously being wasted.

Both systems work in tandem, using their own intelligence to choose the most efficient source on the day, depending on the climate and the building’s demand. They have smart controls that manage the various sources of heat and cooling. This system is responsive and provides much better control.

The payback on this project is expected to be three-and-a-half years. Commenting on the future plans for improving energy performance, Roseanne Donegan says: “We have seen the results of a design-led approach and want to continue improving the energy performance and environmental credentials of our building.

“We have plans to build rooms in the same eco-friendly fashion, taking account of building orientation and natural sources of power, right down to the lights being fitted to the correct lux level. All of our refrigeration units in the kitchen and the bar will be cooled from the stream in the near future.

“The customer feedback has been very positive, from an aesthetic and comfort point of view. We intend to promote the positive environmental impact of our work with customers. We will display our EXEED award, and show our energy use in real time, by way of a graph displayed in the restaurant.”

SEAI’s EXEED funding is open to all public and private organisations who are planning energy investment projects of any scale or complexity. Applications for 2019 will open early in the year. Please contact exeed@seai.ie to be notified when the date is announced and to start planning your projects.

 

Halogen Light bulbs banned

Lights out for halogen lamps as Europe-wide phasing-out of bulbs begins today

EU member states agreed to withdrawing the inefficient bulbs from the market in 2009.

1st September 2018

Image: Shutterstock

HALOGEN LIGHTS WILL be switched off across Europe from today after an EU-approved phase-out of the bulbs commenced at midnight.

From today, non-directional mains-voltage halogen lamps, which mainly consist of pear-shaped bulbs used in traditional light sockets, will no longer be brought to the market.

However, the decision does not affect directional halogen lamps, such as popular spotlights or halogen lamps which are often used in desk lamps and flood lights.

The phase-out was voted on in 2009 after Europe ruled it would help the environment and provide long-term financial benefit for consumers.

It’s claimed that switching from an average halogen lamp to an energy-efficient LED will result in savings of €115 over the light’s 20-year lifetime, while the cost of the LED would also be paid back within a year.

Prices of LED bulbs are expected to drop as a result of the move, while their performance is expected to increase, both of which will also bring benefits to consumers.

EU members agreed to end the sale of “D”-class halogen lamps in 2009, after their consumption was found to be more than five times higher than that of more energy-efficient LEDs.

Member states originally agreed to phase-out the bulbs from September 2016, but the move was deferred after the European Commission decided that date would have been too early for LED technology to fully replace the bulbs.

 

New lightbulb rules save households energy and help reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions

 

As of 1 September, energy intensive and inefficient halogen lightbulbs will no longer be sold across the European Union.

As a result of these rules, European consumers will be able save on their household bills resulting on significant EU-wide energy savings – equivalent to the electricity consumption of Portugal over 5 years.

The changes to the EU rules entering into force relate to standard halogen bulbs, but exclude those used in desk lamps and floodlights. The halogen bulbs will be replaced by LED-lightbulbs, which, due to innovation, have become safer, more affordable, and more energy efficient.

The new measures will not apply to products that are already on the shelves in stores, but only to new products produced in or imported to the EU.

Originally decided in 2009 by the Member States and the European Parliament, the new rules were reconfirmed in 2015, but their introduction was deferred by two years until September 2018 so as to ensure that sufficient affordable alternatives would be available.

The changes are part of the EU’s Ecodesign Work Programme – click here - which is an element of the EU’s action to put energy efficiency first and to lead the clean energy transition. In June, as part of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package, co-legislators reached political agreement on a new 32.5% energy efficient target for 2030 – see here

US National Restaurant Association – The State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018

The National Restaurant Assn. (NRA) just released “The State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018.”

For its report, the NRA surveyed 500 restaurant owners and operators about their environmental efforts and sustainability opportunities and challenges within their operations. More than 1,000 consumers also were surveyed about the best methods for restaurants to promote sustainability practices to customers.

The NRA identified four key trends:

Efficient equipment is now standard in many restaurants. Most restaurants use energy-efficient lighting, and many use U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star-rated kitchen equipment. Water-saving innovations are also gaining ground, from low-flow toilets to efficient pre-rinse spray valves.

Restaurant operators are recycling and focused on packaging. Large majorities of restaurant operators engage in recycling. Most restaurant operators source at least some packaging and supplies made of recycled content.

Reducing food waste is an emerging area for action. About half of restaurant operators track food waste in their operations, with many of them doing so daily. More than one in five operators donate edible leftovers to charity and more than one in 10 compost at least some of their leftover food.

Sustainability is a mainstay on restaurant menus. Restaurant operators and chefs say environmental sustainability, local sourcing and food waste reduction are among the top trends affecting restaurant menus. As both operators and consumers increase their knowledge about where and how food is produced, menus are also evolving to reflect the growing request for transparency.

 

To read the full report click on this link State of Restaurant Sustainability_2018

Chambers Ireland 2018 CSR Awards Shortlist – No Hospitality Businesses!

CSR Projects Shortlist Champion Diversity & Inclusion

Jul 23, 2018

CSR Awards 2018 Shortlist Announced Today

 Chambers Ireland today (23 July 2018) officially announced the shortlist for the 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards. Over eighty shortlisted projects across the fourteen award categories are a showcase of the practical innovation of CSR activities conducive to positive organisational change, employee benefit and much more.

Announcing the shortlist, Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive said,

“Once again this year’s awards have motivated companies to put forward a fantastic range of entries from which we are delighted to have selected our shortlist. Globally we are undergoing a period of evaluation where CSR practices are more than simply a mainstream concept for larger companies.

Today, businesses are continuously re-examining their impact beyond the boundaries of their respective industries and giving greater consideration to the scale of their social influence in engaging with current issues including gender equality and environmental sustainability.

The change and shifting ambition in Ireland’s business world is no different, with this years’ shortlisted entries showcasing the depth and range of Irish business ingenuity in the field of CSR activities. We are excited also to reveal the shortlisted entries for our new category for the 2018 Awards, Diversity & Inclusion, which ties with our 2018 Awards theme, ‘Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace’.

We are immensely proud to play a role in the recognition of CSR best practice through the showcasing of excellent projects in the annual CSR Awards. I would like to wish all shortlisted applicants the very best of luck.”

The Chambers Ireland CSR Awards are partnered with Business in the Community Ireland, sponsored by BAM Ireland and run in association with the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD commented,

“CSR creates a meaningful win win for businesses, supporting and protecting the community and environment in which they operate, and making businesses more competitive and sustainable.

The companies and organisations shortlisted for the Chambers Ireland CSR Awards 2018 are among those in Ireland that make a significant contribution through their CSR activities to building a more inclusive Ireland, a greener Ireland, and to making Ireland, and the Globe, a better place in which to live and do business.

The Government’s vision as set out in the National Plan on CSR Towards Responsible Business” 2017 – 2020, is that ‘Ireland be recognised as a centre of excellence for responsible and sustainable business practice’.

Those shortlisted for the Chambers Ireland CSR Awards reflect and support this ambition, and I commend you for that.”

Theo Cullinane, Chief Executive at BAM Ireland, said,

“BAM are delighted once again to sponsor the awards and see participation grow exponentially.

The CSR Awards provides the perfect platform to highlight the significance of corporate social responsibility for Irish businesses and we are delighted to see more companies realising its potential.

At BAM, sustainability is a core pillar of our corporate strategy enabling our business to have an overall positive impact on society. This aligns with the principle behind these awards as we gather to celebrate initiatives that aim to make the future brighter and more sustainable.

-Ends-

For further information please contact Gabriel Doran, Communications & Public Affairs Executive  on 01 400 4331, 086 608 1605 or email gabriel.doran@chambers.ie

Notes to Editor

Further information on 2018 CSR Awards here.

 

Complete 2018 Shortlist

Excellence in CSR Communication

Aldi – Aldi Foróige Partnership

Carbery Food Ingredients – Carbery Connect

Diageo Ireland – St James Gate Quarter – Conversations at the Gate

Lidl Ireland – A Better Tomorrow

The Taxback Group – GroupLife

Tesco Ireland – Tesco’s ‘No Time for Waste Community Chill’ Campaign

William Fry – William Fry Making a Difference

 

Excellence in Community – Partnership with Charity – LIC

Applegreen plc – The Applegreen Charitable Fund – Innovating for the Future

Bank of Ireland Group plc – Up the Hill for Jack & Jill

Bord Gais Energy – Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy CR Partnership

Deloitte – Deloitte Overseas Volunteer Placement with Nurture Africa

Diageo Ireland – Celebrating 200 Years of the Dublin Pub – Diageo and LVA ALONE Partnership

Earth’s Edge – KPAP Equipment Lending Programme

William Fry – William Fry Partnership with the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation

 

Excellence in Community – Partnership with Charity – MNC

Boots Ireland – Partnership with a Charity

LinkedIn Ireland – LinkedIn for Good Jobcare partnership

Mace Technology Ireland – Mace and Barretstown Community Project

Microsoft Ireland – Enable Ireland Retro Gaming for Eye Gaze

Transdev Dublin Light Rail – FillaLuas Homeless Shoebox Appeal

Tesco Ireland – Tesco Ireland raising funds to save lives at Temple Street

Vodafone Ireland Ltd – Vodafone and Childline – Working Together to Keep Children Safe by Keeping them Connected

 

Excellence in Community – Community Programme – LIC

A&L Goodbody – A&L Goodbody’s support of literacy in the community

Arthur Cox – Opening the Door between Corporates and Community – Restorative Conversations with Arthur Cox

Deloitte – IMPACT Day

Energia – Energia Get Ireland Growing

Gas Networks Ireland – Our Universe

Law Society of Ireland Diploma Centre – Public Legal Education Programme at the Law Society of Ireland

Little Island Industries Development Company – Little Island Industries Development Company

 

Excellence in Community – Community Programme – MNC

Canada Life Reinsurance – Cycling WIthout Age – Sybil Hill Nursing Home

Coca-Cola Ireland – Coca-Cola Thank You Fund

Lidl Ireland – Lidl Community Works

Microsoft Ireland – Special Olympics National Games

PayPal – Opportunity Hack

Tesco Ireland – Tesco Community Fund – Donating €3m to 10,000 local causes

 

Excellence in Community – Volunteering – LIC

Bank of Ireland Group plc – The Great Bank of Ireland Backyard Blitz

Deloitte – WorldClass Volunteering at Deloitte

Earth’s Edge – Explore, Experience, Evolve

Three Q PERMS & TEMPS – Putting Our Skills To Work In Our Community

William Fry – Incognito with the Support of William Fry

 

Excellence in Community – Volunteering – MNC

Abbott – Abbott’s commitment to strategic volunteering

Fujitsu Ireland – Fujitsu Ireland Volunteering Programme

Microsoft Ireland – Microsoft Cycling Challenge for LauraLynn

VMware International Limited – VMware Cork Giving Network

Workday – Workday: Giving & Doing Programme

 

Excellence in Environment – LIC

AIB – AIB’s – First Green Hub

Deloitte – Deloitte’s Green Agenda Programme

eir – fresh eir

Gas Networks Ireland – Biodiversity Programme

 

Excellence in Environment – MNC

Aldi – Aldi Ireland Origin Green Plan

BioMarin International Ltd. – Making BioMarin site and local area more environmentally friendly.

HEINEKEN Ireland – Reducing CO₂ emissions “Drop the C” in HEINEKEN Ireland

Intel Ireland – Biodiversity at Intel

Lidl Ireland – A Better Tomorrow

 

Excellence in Marketplace

A&L Goodbody – A family renuification case – Serge and Giresse Kanymuhanga

Abbott Nutrition – Certificate in Abbott Management & Leadership Programme for Directors of Nursing

Bank of Ireland Group plc – Bank of Ireland Workbench

EirGrid – EirGrid’s Six-Step Approach for Public Participation in Grid Development

 

Excellence in Workplace – LIC

Arthur Cox – Arthur Cox working in partnership with Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities

eir – eir Wellness: Live Life, Live Well

Friends First – Friends in the Workplace

William Fry – William Fry Making a Difference in the Workplace

SL Controls Ltd – Live Well at SL / Think Well at SL

 

Excellence in Workplace – MNC

Abbott – Abbott: Inspiring our people to LiveLifeWell

Boots Ireland – Boots & See Change : De-stigmatising Mental Health

HEINEKEN Ireland – Growing with our Communities – bringing communities together to create green urban growing spaces in partnership with GIY

IBM – I Like it Here!

Lidl Ireland and Lidl Northern Ireland – Work Safe. Live Well.

Veolia Ireland – Veolia’s well-being evolution

Workday – Workday: Fostering a Great Place to Work

 

Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion

AIB Group – iMatter – no matter who I am, how I look, where I’m from, I make a difference

Diageo Ireland – Learning for Life Refugee & Asylum Seeker Training Programme

Enterprise Rent-A-Car – The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Diversity, Career and Family Focus Programme

ESB – Managing Successful Parenting Transitions Programme

Fujitsu Ireland – The Women’s Business Network at Fujitsu (WBN@F)

Vodafone Ireland – Inclusive Talent Acquisition and Development to create a sustainable diverse and inclusive workplace

 

Excellence in CSR by an SME

Connector – Drivers of Change

Earth’s Edge – Guide Exchange Programme

Fitness Freak – Free Fruit For All in South Tipperary General Hospital

Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre Cork – Yoga in the Park Cork

OpenApp – Rare100

Recycle IT – Residents Electrical Recycling Initiative

Republic of Work – Birthday Week in Aid of Pieta House

Technically Write IT – Charity and Community Involvement Committee

Tico Mail Works – Tico Mail Works Renewable Energy Electric Car To Work Scheme

 

Wild Atlantic Way Litter Problem

Fáilte Ireland to tackle Wild Atlantic Way litter black spots

Tourism body Fáilte Ireland is to evaluate parts of the Wild Atlantic Way in light of litter at “pinch points” along the route which runs along the west coast.The move is in response to an Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) survey highlighting litter black spots, some of which are located on the route. An Taisce, which assessed 50 beaches, harbours and rivers on IBAL’s behalf, found 46 of the sites were “littered” or “heavily littered”.

The findings in IBAL’s first survey of coastal areas and inland waterways provoked an angry response in Co Clare, where the environs of Doolin pier were classified as “a litter blackspot”.

Fáilte Ireland has been carefully monitoring development of the Wild Atlantic Way through an environmental monitoring group which has been in place for four years, according to Alex Connolly, its head of communications.

Litter issues were part of the group’s remit, though overall environmental impact was its prime concern, Mr Connolly said – the group includes local authorities, environmental groups such as Coastwatch Ireland and other State agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fáilte Ireland surveyed more than 2,000 holidaymakers every year, and in its latest survey 79 per cent were satisfied Ireland was “litter- and pollution-free”, he said. But the tourism body was not complacent on the issue, particularly as nine out of 10 overseas visitors come to Ireland for its unspoiled landscape, he said.

“The IBAL findings are of interest to us. We are looking at perceived litter blackspots. They will feed into that,” he said.

Clare County Council said it disagreed with IBAL’s finding that Doolin pier was a “litter black spot”. The local authority employs two harbourmasters in Doolin and in conjunction with local private ferry operators and an on-site catering operator, maintenance of the area around the pier is a priority, a spokesman said of the pier area.

“Clare County Council invests considerable time and resources in promoting environmental awareness and litter prevention in association with community groups throughout Clare and this collaborative approach is reflected in the recent awarding of prestigious blue-flag and green-coast status to 12 Clare beaches,” he added.

The condition of Doolin pier was also defended by Eugene Garrihy, operator of the Doolin to Aran Islands ferry. “In my view, this place is pristine . . . It’s grossly unfair that it’s classified as a litter black spot,” he said.

An Taisce graded Doolin pier as “a very unpleasant site” for tourists due to heavy littering. “There didn’t appear to be any bins or litter awareness notices,” it noted. The director of its environmental education unit, Michael John O’Mahony, strongly defended its assessment, which was “based on what we see before us”.

With 40 per cent of Irish coastal areas badly littered it was “a clear sign that urgent action is needed to halt the deluge of waste clogging our cities, rural towns and marine environment”, the Environmental Pillar (EP) said.

“The findings in the IBAL survey carried out by An Taisce builds upon the All-Ireland Coastwatch Survey earlier this year that found plastic bottles at over 80 per cent of coastal sites surveyed,” it said.

The current system to tackle waste was failing, with “plastic bottles and disposable coffee cups continuing to foul our countryside and to destroy our marine environment”.

The EP, a coalition of Ireland’s main environmental groups, called on the Government to introduce a series of measures to cut down on plastic consumption including the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.

Its spokeswoman, Karin Dubsky, said: “The amount of marine litter in our oceans is predicted to increase year on year. Without serious action from both our Taoiseach and other world leaders there will be frightening consequences for our marine environment.”

She added: “We have already seen increased mortality in many species due to ingestion and entanglement, toxic and reproductive impact along food chains and we now routinely find plastic in the seafood on our own plates.”

“We are calling on the Government to introduce a range of policy measures to reduce this particularly stubborn widespread litter load before it reaches our marine environment. As with any problem, the best solution is to get to the very source of it and stem the flow of plastic into our waste stream and into the environment.”

Source – The Irish Times

 

Hive Mind – Bee Hives and Honey for Restaurants

Irish farmer and top restaurant team up for beekeeping project

In Myrtleville, Co Cork, Mark Riordan has come up with a novel way of operating the beehives that he keeps on his family farm.

Mark’s background is in tech, but as part of a master’s degree in organic horticulture at UCC, he wrote a thesis on commercial beekeeping and genetics, and became hooked.

“I had been keeping bees myself for five years and worked with a bee breeder helping to breed queen bees,” he says. “After I completed the thesis, I had surplus bees. I’d been involved in community-supported agriculture projects such as the allotments in Myrtleville, and I wanted to apply the same principles to the bee realm.”

And so Hive Mind – ‘We keep the hives, you keep the honey‘ was born.

Mark set about getting his hives sponsored by different companies and individuals. In exchange for an annual fee = currently around €300 per hive, and customers can sign up for one-third of a hive = he manages the hive and, at harvest time, the sponsor gets the honey. The price works out at about €7.50 per jar.

Currently, Mark has around 50 hives and, after a few bad winters, is focused on increasing this number. The good summer will help the process, and yields are likely to be high this year.

“Many of my corporate customers have got involved in sponsoring hives through their CSR programmes; I had corporate greening in mind when I started out. One of our biggest corporate customers is Airbnb; the company uses the honey in its canteens.”

Late last year, Aishling Moore, a chef at Elbow Lane in Cork, part of the Market Lane Group, spotted an Instagram post from Hive Mind and was intrigued.

“I thought that it sounded so cool,” she says. “I pitched the idea to Stephen Kehoe, who is our executive chef and the proprietor of Orso [another restaurant in the group]. He thought it was a great idea – Conrad [Howard, one of the owners] agreed and told me to get on with it.” she said.

“I got in touch with Mark and we met in January and agreed to sponsor three hives. Each one will give us around 15kg of honey. It’s not enough for all the requirements of the restaurants, so we’ll use it more as a component than an ingredient. We collected the first batch a few weeks ago.

” Each hive feeds from different meadows and they have distinct flavours – one is fennel; another tastes of blackberries. They are amazing.”

“As a group, we are very big on sustainability and waste. We are very conscious of anything we throw out.” Mark explained that it takes in the region of 12,000 flower trips to produce one teaspoon of honey.

“It puts it into perspective the way we want to use it. I’m working on developing other dishes and so are the chefs in the other restaurants.

“Elbow Lane is ahead of the curve. The cost of the honey works out at about €7.50 per jar. The honey is barely filtered, and we don’t heat it, so it’s set rather than runny. Heating ruins the enzymatic nature of the honey. As it passes through the bee’s gut, the nectar picks up enzymes that are beneficial for human gut health.

“A foraging bee collects nectar, brings it back to the hive in its honey stomach and regurgitates it to another bee, which takes it into its own body before regurgitating it into a strategic position in the hive. As the water content is reduced, the honey is capped and will keep forever.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring a hive can fill out an expression-of-interest form on Hive Mind’s website. Mark expects to be in a position to take on additional sponsors later this year.

Source – The Irish Independent

Sustainability as a modern pillar of branding and marketing: Part 1

With weird weather becoming the new normal, environmental activism has shed its hippie roots and become vitally mainstream. Consumers all over the world are waking up to the power they have to help reverse climate change by voting with their wallets – buying goods with smaller carbon footprints and, for our intents and purposes, selecting hotels that have sustainability programs firmly in place.

A peculiar trait of any eco friendly initiatives you take, however, is that the majority of the resultant operational efficiencies, which can run well into the millions, are never seen by the guest. That is, most of the actual cost savings are back-of-house and invisible to the customer experience. As consumers will only purchase what they see or know, it is important that you wholeheartedly promote your environmental upgrades, not only to selfishly garner more cachet from prospective guests but to altruistically lend the movement more legitimacy.

Years ago, I glibly dubbed this as the ‘going green to be seen’ ethos where, even though the front-of-house sustainability upgrades you make may not have as great a direct impact on profits than those made behind closed doors, they are nonetheless imperative for upholding long-term business prospects.

Such ecofriendly ventures and related marketing activities cannot work as a one-off ploy, though. Only by making these a core pillar of your brand identity will you realize tremendous success, both from substantial reductions in on-property energy consumption as well as from the upwardly trending demand from guests for travel accommodations with conservation practices.

So, while you engage an environmental consultant to help figure out a road map for all the back-of-house capital expenditures you will inevitably make, you must likewise plan for how you intend to upgrade your front-of-house operations to reflect your newly enlightened stance on sustainability Moreover, you must rethink your marketing of all of the above at every possible point of interaction with customers. We can therefore analyze each of the most prominent guest-facing operations for improvements, and then look to what advertising vehicles can spread the good word.

Food outlets

You can’t get away with incorporating a few select organic ingredients in the menus of your signature restaurant anymore. Sustainable practices must now be the norm for every facet of your F&B operations, from locally sourced vegetables and proteins to the proper recycling of food waste for all catered events. This department is an easy place to start because there is widespread documentation of how to make it work.

To understand the serpentine pathway from bolstered sustainability in the kitchen to increased revenues, though, you must first look back at why the locavore movement became mainstream. Not to blur five decades of agricultural history, but local foods, organic, natural ingredients and any other superlative modifiers are all a reaction to the emergence of the global supply chain and the continuous drive for increased efficiencies of food production that resulted in more herbicides, more pesticides, monocrops, GMO, advanced preservatives and a slew of other processes that negatively affect the nutritional value of what we eat.

After a few generations, the toll of all these new chemicals in our foods has added up with the effects being increased obesity rates, more instances of adult diabetes, heightened allergy sensitivities and so on. As the old expression goes, “You are what you eat,” and indeed customers all over the world are now highly wary of where ingredients are sourced and how they are processed.

As many of the processes used by the large agricultural conglomerates have been proven to be harmful for the environment in the long-term, switching to producers who utilize more sustainable practices is in essence you voting with your hotel’s wallet for a better tomorrow. While there is a sizeable added cost to the operator, healthy eating has an established perceived value, so this cost can be easily forwarded onto the customer. Sustainability and going local not only implies better quality foods but it also means you are putting more back into the community which in turn will mean that your efforts here will drive more support from the neighborhood.

But how do you start? Small, of course, is the best way with local craft goods followed by key ingredients used in your operations. While it may be logistically and financially impossible to make everything sustainable, whatever efforts you are able to successfully integrate must be matched by suitable promotions so patrons know you are consciously steering the ship in the right direction. Name your agricultural partners on the menus or make the necessary information available in the foyer of any foodservice facility. If you can recruit a graphic artist, have a map produced that shows how close the farms are to your hotel.

Next comes the implementation of a proper food recycling or donation program. For this, too, you must be one part environmentalist and one part impresario by highlighting your efforts on the website and perhaps on a nicely constructed pamphlet for onsite distribution. As an emergent trend related to this, inventive chefs are also trying to use every part of a plant or animal in their culinary creations so as to limit the amount of waste produced at the outset. One much-touted example is the beet root green salad whereby the leaves of the beet are utilized along with the fleshy bulb so barely anything is discarded while preparing the dish.

Microplastics in Irish Produced Food?

GHP Comment:  And there I was thinking that the issue of microplastics in the human food chain were mainly in developing economies where there is little or no recycling.  Given the scale of recycling in Ireland one could assume, as I did, that whilst we produce/use a lot of single use plastics, their negative impact on our local environment was negligible.  How wrong I was – and the current War against Plastic is only focusing on single-use plastics, at this stage.

Plastic in our soil, rivers, wildlife and drinking water

Microplastics can break down into nanoplastics, which can permeate human cells

Anthony King, Irish Times, Thursday 26 June 2018

When we see pictures of beaches and seas choked with plastic, the impact of our throwaway culture sinks home. But the plastic we do not see is probably doing more harm, Irish scientist warn.

Tiny pieces are going on to farmland and flowing into rivers and lakes. These microplastics are ending up in earthworms, birds, fish and our drinking water. A major source is sludge, which is the solid stuff leftover after sewage treatment.

EU policy on recycling favours using sludge as fertiliser, and 80 per cent of Ireland’s is reused in agriculture, particularly in the southeast. An Irish study last year found about 4,000-15,000 microplastic pieces per kilogram of sludge from sewage plants. “This is probably an underestimate,” says Dr Anne Marie Mahon at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, who led this research.

Some sewage works break it into ever smaller pieces. “Some treatments exacerbate the problems. Particles are broken up so you can’t see them, and they can be ingested by worms and eaten by birds,” says Mahon.

“I would be more concerned about nanoplastics (less than 0.001 mm) when it comes to human health. Microplastics will not enter a cell, but nanoplastics are small enough to cross into cells and permeate the body.” Microplastics are up to 5mm, but break down further in the environment.

Mahon is leading a study which is surveying Irish river and lakes this summer, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She expects to find plastic bits in insect larvae in rivers, in freshwater fish and in otter droppings. Some of these probably came from clothes. A recent Swedish study found that polyester fleeces shed most fibres – 7,000 in one wash.

Fibres from your washing machine can flow to a sewage plant, into sludge and on to farmland. Sewage sludge must be spread 20m from lakes and rivers, but heavy rain will wash sludge and your fleece fibres into waterways, where they may be eaten by insect larvae, which in turn are eaten by fish. Low numbers of microplastics have been found in pike and perch from Lough Corrib, for instance.

Hormone-altering chemicals

One issue is that the building blocks of plastics can be hormone-altering chemicals, and plastics contain additives that we know little about in terms of implications for human health. Another risk is that heavy metals, pesticide and drug residues and nasty bacteria can cling to plastic particles. These could come from sewage, diesel tractor fumes or crop treatments. The particles concentrate the pollutants, allowing them to enter the food chain. Effects on human health – if any – are unknown.

A study last year for the Environmental Protection Agency that Mahon cowrote identified sludge spreading and the recycling industry, where plastics are washed, as significant sources of microplastics. It estimated that at least a billion microplastic particles are spread on Irish farmland each year (not all farms buy sludge).

Recently, Mahon began investigating construction sites. “That is a large source that hasn’t been defined properly,” she says. She’s optimistic though: “There could be some easy wins on construction sites by simple process improvements, like doing all your cuttings in one place with a tray underneath.” Otherwise, shavings will enter the soil. What happens after plastic enters soil is a mystery. International research suggests some accumulates in the soil, some gets blown away by wind, while other microplastic is washed into rivers.

The shape of the particles and the type of plastic complicates what happens to them in the environment, when they move overland or through soil. Engineer Dr John O’Sullivan at University College Dublin is trying to find out by studying six types of plastic in his lab. He has nine soil columns set up and plans also to simulate rainfall on soil to track plastic movement. “There’s high levels of uncertainty,” says O’Sullivan. “There is some evidence that soil can act as a reservoir.”

Treated sludge

EU regulations limit metals in sludge added to soil, but not microplastic. Mahon questions whether we should be adding treated sludge at all, and predicts microplastics will be more strictly regulated in future. Meanwhile, Irish scientists are filling in knowledge gaps. “We need to look at pathways, risks and impact of microplastics,” says Mahon. “If we cannot assess the risks, it will be hard to develop policy.”

Ireland relies on surface freshwater for drinking supplies more than most European countries, so microplastic contamination matters here. The 2017 EPA report estimated that by downing 2 litres of tapwater a day, you will probably ingest three pieces of microplastic. For well water, it is 12 pieces.

Mahon is supervising a student in Trinity College Dublin who is looking at microplastics in Irish drinking water. “Everyone wants to know what they are drinking,” says Mahon, who would like to track microplastics at each step of our drinking water treatment process.

See more at www.irishtimes.com

 

Melia Hotels commit to Eliminate Single Use Plastics in 2018

Meliá to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics in All Its Hotels in 2018

PALMA, MALLORCA, SPAIN—Meliá Hotels International says it will eliminate single-use plastics in all its hotels in 2018. Gabriel Escarrer, the Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá, made the announcement during his speech at the Group’s General Shareholders’ Meeting, a decision justified by the fact that “great customer experiences have to be compatible with respect for the planet, and plastic pollution is a global challenge which affects all destinations.”

Escarrer highlighted the positive impact the decision will have: in 2017 more than 22 million plastic bottles were consumed in company hotels. Elimination will avoid more than 15 tons of CO2 emissions each year generated by waste disposal. This “further step in Meliá’s fight against climate change” affects bottles, cups, bags, straws and coasters which will immediately be replaced by reusable materials.

The Meliá CEO recalled that the prestigious “Carbon Disclosure Project” index has named Meliá one of the world’s leading companies in the fight against climate change. Escarrer reminded the audience that “combatting climate change and reducing emissions has been part of our strategy for years, with well-established energy efficiency programs in hotels and agreements with suppliers regarding the exclusive use of renewable energy, and was recently further ratified by the company assuming the commitments defined at the Paris Climate Summit.”

Most Industry Risks Related to Climate Change

Escarrer highlighted the importance of the tourism industry mobilizing to combat climate change. According to the Global Risk Report, four of the five biggest risks for the industry over the next 10 years are related to climate change, including extreme weather events, natural disasters or water shortages. “The tourism business depends to a large extent on the sustainability of destinations,” he said, “something of which we are very aware at Meliá as an international leader in resort hotels.”

For the Meliá CEO, the decision to eliminate single-use plastics from its entire value chain will have a significant impact. In 2017 alone more than 22 million plastic bottles were consumed in company hotels. Escarrer stated that, “Great customer experiences have to be compatible with respect for the planet,” and also mentioned that climate change is one of the material issues that is of greatest interest to its stakeholders, as stated in its Annual Report.

The company has already drawn up a roadmap to replace single-use plastics (bottles, cups, bags, coasters and straws etc.) with biodegradable or environmentally-friendly alternatives before the end of 2018, and also from in-room cosmetics as soon as possible.

Escarrer firmly believes in the fundamental role that companies must play in contributing to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and affirmed that “the business world, institutions and society in general has to get involved and work together in combatting climate change and tackling other major global challenges.”

A stark report from the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change has categorically warned of the fateful consequences if the world fails to deliver actions to cap global warming to 1.5c above pre-industrial levels. Read the Press Release here with links to the full report https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/  GHP Comment:  It is clear that the Irish Government is not […]

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GHP Comment:  And there I was thinking that the issue of microplastics in the human food chain were mainly in developing economies where there is little or no recycling.  Given the scale of recycling in Ireland one could assume, as I did, that whilst we produce/use a lot of single use plastics, their negative impact […]

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Meliá to Eliminate Single-Use Plastics in All Its Hotels in 2018 Source:  Green Lodging News –  July 2, 2018 PALMA, MALLORCA, SPAIN—Meliá Hotels International says it will eliminate single-use plastics in all its hotels in 2018. Gabriel Escarrer, the Executive Vice President and CEO of Meliá, made the announcement during his speech at the Group’s General Shareholders’ […]

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