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  • Writer's pictureKay Quillan

How Hospitality can Significantly Impact Carbon Emissions

"There is an ever-expanding consumer appetite for environmentally conscious hospitality venues. A holistic approach to sustainability is no longer an option. It’s an imperative. It will be extremely challenging for businesses who don’t make this shift in approach to comfortably exist."

David Collins Studio

Reducing waste, and therefore cost, has always made good business sense in the hospitality industry. Encouraging guests to use towels more than once, rather than replaced daily, is an eco-friendly suggestion that has been widely adopted. Guests oblige because it is no great cost to them and reducing water consumption seems like the right thing to do. The hotel benefits from reduced energy and labour costs. It’s a win-win.

But with increased public awareness on climate change, the pressure has increased on the hospitality sector. Enhanced reputation, competitive advantage, and futureproofing for legislative changes are compelling businesses reasons for reducing carbon emissions.

Bar area in hotel
QO Hotel Amsterdam

Research on Sustainability in Hospitality carries out an annual review of sustainability in hospitality and sustainable travel. The latest report has gathered information from 30,000 travellers across 32 countries.

"We believe that travel is and should remain a powerful force for good, bringing enhanced cultural understanding, socio-economic opportunities for countless communities and the potential to help rejuvenate and protect our planet for the long term."

Glenn Fogel, CEO of

Their recent research for 2022 revealed that: -

  • 57% of travellers would feel better staying in a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainable certification

  • A third (33%) say they have stayed in a sustainable accommodation over the past year,

  • 62% intend to stay in sustainable accommodation at least once in the coming year

The indication is that 'sustainable tourism' is on the rise as travellers are increasingly concerned about their environmental impact.

Mater Mask Stools made from spent beer grain

Eco-friendly Hotel Interiors

Tackling unsustainable practices, hotels and restaurants are likely to be focusing on energy efficiency, operational changes, water consumption and food waste. But for hospitality designers, commercial furniture is an area where businesses could benefit from significant carbon reduction.

10 million tonnes of furniture are discarded by businesses and consumers in EU Member States each year, the majority of which is destined for either landfill or incineration.

European Environmental Bureau

With hotels refurbishing every five years, FF&E procurement decisions can have a significant impact on a hotel’s carbon footprint. There is a lot of carbon embedded in furniture and making more considered choices will reduce the carbon in a business's estate. But there is also a lot of misleading information and greenwashing in the contract furniture industry. And insufficient planning for end of life of assets results in increased waste.

Circular Economy Approach in Hospitality

Meaningful change comes from transitioning to a circular economy approach. The circular economy model replicates the functioning of natural ecosystems which protects finite resources and reduces waste. Re-using and regenerating furniture and materials are crucial to protect the environment.

Three Principles of the circular economy: -

  • Design out waste and pollution

  • Keep products and materials in use

  • Regenerate natural systems

Refurbished monk's pews at The Royal Marine Hotel

So how can hospitality business owners and hotel designers ensure circularity with their FF&E and reduce their impact on the environment?

  • The starting point should be to offset carbon in new hotel fit outs by managing IT and furniture no longer required through donation, refurbishment, recycling.

  • Investing in better quality and ‘heirloom’ furniture which can be refurbished, re-sold (in the second-hand market), or more easily disassembled and recycled

  • Procuring sustainable hotel furniture solutions that are made from recycled, recyclable, or renewable materials, are easy to repair and use local sourcing.

  • Controlling assets and their embodied carbon throughout their lifecycle so that a circular solution is already considered at the point of purchase.

  • Aiming for a climate positive not just carbon neutral outcome to a hotel design project with verifiable data on carbon emissions to measure performance and report on it.

Would you like to make meaningful change with your FF&E procurement? Contact us at for more information on sustainable furniture and circular economy solutions for your next project.

The Pig Hotel Combe

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