The pressures of the past year may have shifted the business focus for many from sustainability to survival. Yet, a green post-pandemic recovery is critical for all businesses, and particularly for those in the hospitality and events industry as they reopen and navigate the path towards the next normal.
One business that has kept sustainability high on the agenda, and foreseen its value for recovery, is Wyboston Lakes Resort. The 380-acre leisure and business resort in Bedfordshire has long been a resort with a conscience. In fact, last year its collection of awards grew with the addition of three gold sustainability accolades from the Green Tourism Awards, Greengage and the International Association of Conference Centres.
These accolades show that the resort’s Green Team has been busy working towards ambitious sustainability goals including reducing its carbon footprint by 50% by 2025 and achieving new milestones, supported by strong company mantras, such as ‘more sustainable, no apology’ and ‘we do the right thing, even when no one’s looking’. The team also spent the last 12 months developing sustainable commitments in ways that will prove valuable in the recovery phase.
For example, by working with The Energy Check, the resort has implemented a series of energy-saving initiatives that have reduced energy consumption. Steps taken include establishing kVA usage to amend the site’s agreed supply capacity, and undertaking a number of energy efficiency improvement programmes, based on energy audits and feasibility studies. The resort is now using 100% renewable energy, which has helped to reduce its carbon footprint by over 60%. Projects are also under way to also remove all fossil fuel from the site.
Another energy-saving initiative has been the installation of MeasureMyEnergy technology, which measures and records electricity usage in real-time to provide clear visibility of any devices that are wasting energy. The system provides alerts to unusual energy usage to signal pending device failure for preventative maintenance. This will avoid downtime, increase the life of critical assets and improve the customer experience.
In addition, ten more Tesla supercharger points were installed for guests to encourage electric car usage. There is now a total of 26 charger points on the site.
Waste management is a huge part of Wyboston Lakes Resort’s sustainability policy and a partnership with waste management company Ellgia has helped to make the resort zero to landfill for the sixth consecutive year. New procedures have been introduced to cut back on both food and water waste, which also saves on costs.
Single-use plastics have been a big focus and, by taking part in the Meetings Industry Association’s #20percentless scheme, they were cut back by 42% by the end of 2020.
New technologies have been installed throughout the complex, too. Many provide a more hygienic and efficient experience for customers and staff but are also more sustainable. For instance, new self-check-in kiosks reduced check-in paperwork by 21,000-plus pieces of A4 paper a year. A new food and drink ordering app will save 130,000 pieces of paper annually. The bulky directory in hotel rooms has been removed, with all information now online. Improvements like these have been made across every aspect of the business.
Casting an eye to the future, clear sustainability objectives and carbon-neutral ambitions will help businesses like Wyboston Lakes Resort to thrive post-recovery and guide them in the years to come.
Wyboston Lakes Resort can be contacted on 0333 7007 666 or www.wybostonlakes.co.uk