Updated: Aug 25
During the lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been bombarded with news about risk prevention, statistics, and economic losses, but also of positive news such as the animals taking up parks, squares, and streets. Humanity is becoming more aware of sustainability, the impact of the products being consumed as well as services that they consume.
When discussing about sustainability within the hotel sector, one of the main issues that are analyzed in the data collection phase is the hotel infrastructure, looking at it from an environmental perspective. We take into account the cost of supplies, information on recent changes or improvements, consumption of supplies, waste management, and natural resources, etc.
Subsequently, we look at the materials, both those for cleaning and the amenities found in the rooms and facilities available to customers and staff. Among the most criminalized is plastic, a product that many hoteliers have disposed of in their establishments, but have we taken into account the impact that those actions have had on the environment? If we have decided to give them a new use through upcycling, we will be doing it the right way.
With a view to positive social impact, we train our employees to make them better professionals and better people, to teach them how to achieve their goals, and to make them part of the company's collective goals.
Restaurants have also played an important role in adapting sustainability. Realfoodism has become fashionable - it was time to eat well! - and consequently, the acquisition of products used in the kitchens of restaurants and hotel buffets have become closer, thus achieving a more positive socio-economic local impact.
We look for comfort and durability in our employees' clothes, but what if we work with brands that go a step or two further? The Room Mate Group unveiled a year ago an initiative that was a further step in sustainability for the sector: with the help of the Ecoalf brand, employees of all Room Mate hotels would go on to wear 100% recycled uniforms, created exclusively for the chain.
Source: Room Mate Hotels
Fashion is one of the most damaging and polluting industries that exist. Textile brands cannot rely only on organic materials to develop their fabrics and garments: upcycling and recycling are necessary and being able to rescue waste is the next step - even if it was something that was done in the past, with the rapid consumption model in recent decades, we have lost the habit.
The textile industry plays a crucial role at an environmental level because it significantly affects the global consumption of water and the emissions of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere. Thus, the consciounsess is rising about the choices of ecological and recycled fabrics that can reduce environmental as well as social impacts. Every day interesting projects are born from innovative startups, to create new productions starting from waste materials.
I am particularly fond and dedicated to upcycling. When it comes to upcycling in fashion, it is a question of taking dead-stock garments or dismantling them to obtain fabrics to be used to make other garments. In terms of emissions, it is much more ecological than recycling, because in the latter the fabrics that make up the garments are reworked to obtain a new yarn. Both solutions look to more sustainable production processes, but upcycling is certainly the most environmentally friendly. Not only in the field of fashion of course!
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 developing actions in hotels that support specific objectives, such as the example given, we can have 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, fighting 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, it is emitted and 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 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, it has a positive impact and complements all the sustainability actions that hotels take.