In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, we've been inundated with news about risk prevention, statistics, economic losses, and positive stories of nature reclaiming urban spaces. This period has heightened humanity's awareness of sustainability and the impact of our consumption choices, including the services we use.
When we talk about sustainability within the hotel sector, one of the primary aspects analyzed during the data collection phase is the hotel infrastructure, viewed through an environmental lens. We consider the cost of supplies, recent changes or improvements, consumption of supplies, waste management, and natural resources, among other factors.
Next, we examine the materials used, from cleaning supplies to the amenities provided in the rooms and facilities available to customers and staff. Plastic, one of the most criticized materials, has been phased out by many hoteliers. But have we fully considered the environmental impact of these actions? If we repurpose these materials through upcycling, we're taking a step in the right direction.
In terms of positive social impact, we strive to train our employees to not only become better professionals but also better individuals. We aim to teach them how to achieve their goals and align them with the collective goals of the company.
Restaurants within the hospitality sector have also played a significant role in embracing sustainability. The trend of 'realfoodism' - a return to wholesome, quality food - has led to a shift towards locally sourced products. This not only promotes healthier eating but also has a more positive socio-economic impact on local communities.
When it comes to our employees' uniforms, we prioritize comfort and durability. But what if we could do more? The Room Mate Group, in collaboration with the Ecoalf brand, took a step further in sustainability by providing their employees with 100% recycled uniforms, created exclusively for the chain.
Source: Room Mate Hotels
The fashion industry is one of the most damaging and polluting sectors. Therefore, textile brands must go beyond using organic materials and embrace upcycling and recycling. The textile industry significantly affects global water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, choosing ecological and recycled fabrics can reduce both environmental and social impacts.
Upcycling, a practice I am particularly passionate about, involves repurposing dead-stock garments or dismantling them to obtain fabrics for other garments. This process is more eco-friendly than recycling, which involves reworking fabrics to obtain new yarn.
Upcycling is seeing a waste, a refusal, as an opportunity to create something new and beautiful. For example, use nylon to repair or mend the elbow or collar of your jacket or. Or replace pieces of one jacket by transferring them to another. There are an infinite number of "cut and sew" solutions to have more original and vintage clothes.
By implementing actions in hotels that support specific objectives, such as the example given, we can have a greater positive impact.
At the socioeconomic level, employees tend to feel more included, responsible consumption is promoted, something that employees can adopt in their private lives. At the same time, partnering with a sustainable fashion brand will have a positive impact on the local economy, as these brands are normally socially committed to those closest to them.
At a cultural level, the message that sustainability is essential is transmitted to the different stakeholders that are part of the business: clients, employees, suppliers, etc. All the relationships catch the message that the business shares.
Regarding the environment, by using sustainable materials we respect the natural environment that surrounds us, but by recycling and upcycling, we can convert waste into usable material. Using the current advances that exist in the fashion industry, we will be able to achieve a more positive impact on the hospitality sector.
For these reasons, ethical fashion, or the use of sustainable or recycled materials, has a positive impact and complements all the sustainability actions that hotels take.