Sustainable management plan
Brief SMP for external stakeholders:
This plan covers the Guldsmeden Hotels in Copenhagen.
Guldsmeden Hotels has worked instinctively with sustainability since its beginning in 1999. We strive for a delightful guest experience with minimal environmental impact while also sharing our knowledge of sustainable practices in the hospitality industry.
So – what do we actually do? Why? And when did we start doing it?
The sustainability DNA of Guldsmeden Hotels stems from the heartfelt wishes of our owners, Sandra and Marc Weinert. Their desire was to change the perception of the hospitality industry, aiming for an experience that is both eco-conscious and luxurious.
In the first decade, our external communications didn't emphasize our commitment to environmental responsibility. Now, with a modern perspective, it's strange to think about. We didn't view it as a marketable feature; it was simply part of our identity.
This changed in 2009 when Copenhagen hosted the COP15 climate conference. Suddenly, the global narrative was all about embracing eco-conscious practices, striving for carbon neutrality, and adopting organic and sustainable approaches. Recognizing our significant lead over competitors – with nearly 100% organic food and beverage offerings, green energy utilization, climate-friendly recycled stationery, biodegradable cleaning products, sustainable bathroom amenities, and more – we understood the importance of sharing our story.
At that point, we recognized that despite our efforts, there were likely many areas where we could improve. This prompted our decision to pursue the most stringent and comprehensive certification available, ultimately leading to our Green Globe certification.
It took us nearly 9 months to obtain our initial Green Globe certification. Throughout this process, we gained valuable insights and actively began sharing our sustainability initiatives with both our guests and the wider community. Since achieving our first Green Globe certification, we have also earned the Golden Ø, a dining label for restaurants serving over 90% organic food and beverages, as well as the Green Key certification, which recognizes eco-conscious hotels.
In Denmark, we proudly hold the Golden Ø-label, signifying that 99% of our food and drink offerings are organic. We prioritize sustainability, opting for non-organic only when it aligns with sustainability goals, such as with farmed fish, known for its environmental impact.
To reduce our carbon footprint, we've streamlined our supply chain, working primarily with a major supplier, Aarstiderne. This move not only minimizes deliveries but also decreases CO2 emissions.
Aarstiderne's commitment to a no-fly policy for their food ensures that we serve only locally sourced items, free from air transportation.
While we offer a diverse menu featuring meat options, many dishes can be prepared with vegetarian or vegan alternatives. Additionally, we implement a circular approach, repurposing elements from our breakfast buffet into our à la carte menus, virtually eliminating food waste.
For hotels outside Denmark, where a state-regulated organic restaurant certification may not be available, our purchasing policy emphasizes prioritizing sustainability. This entails making choices aligned with the best options available in their specific geographic location.
We meticulously track and document our food waste, gaining insights into its sources, whether it's from kitchen production trimmings or leftovers from our guests' plates.
We conduct food waste measurements twice daily: post-breakfast buffet and at day's end, encompassing both conferences and à la carte services. We're working towards introducing separate measures for conferences to enhance our understanding further and reduce waste. Any minimal waste we produce is collected by DAKA Refood and transformed into biofuel.
Orbital Systems showers is a completely revolutionary shower system that can recycle water due to NASA technology, originally developed for the Mars mission.
The water-saving system operates by initially drawing a small amount of water (2.7 liters) into a closed loop at the start of each bath. This water is then heated to 38 degrees Celsius (although you have the flexibility to adjust the temperature to your preference). Afterward, it's directed through the shower head and down a grate. Here, it undergoes analysis for any potential contaminants, gets thoroughly cleaned, and is then cycled back through the system. If any portion of the water shows signs of contamination from substances like shampoo or conditioner, that specific portion is removed and replaced with an equal amount of clean water. This innovative system results in impressive water savings, reducing consumption by 60-90% depending on the length of your bath.
We initially introduced these showers in eight newly furnished rooms at Axel, and their success led us to the decision to incorporate them into all future rooms. Today, all 214 rooms at Bryggen Guldsmeden proudly feature Orbital showers.
In terms of drinking water, Denmark, along with the other countries where we operate, is blessed with some of the purest and highest quality groundwater globally. To encourage our guests to choose tap water over bottled options, we have provided empty bottles made entirely from recycled and recyclable plastic in each room. These can be filled with tap water before you head out to explore the city.
In roles like housekeeping in a hotel, it's common to follow set routines, performing the same tasks in each room for efficiency and time-saving. However, when we factor in sustainability, it calls for a shift in approach.
For instance, we've all likely experienced having our towels replaced in a hotel despite leaving them for reuse. This can be frustrating for guests. To address this, we begin by entering each room with fresh eyes, assessing what needs attention and what doesn't. For instance, when it comes to the garbage bin, which is lined with a green, biodegradable, and compostable bag, we evaluate its contents to decide whether to replace the whole bag or simply remove the items.
The items from the bin are then considered: pens and pencils can be used in the reception or back office, magazines and books are placed in common areas for other guests to enjoy, and plastic bags from shopping are neatly organized for guests who might need them. All waste is sorted meticulously into categories like glass, cardboard, plastic, metal, paper, batteries, and more. This reflects the thoughtfulness our team brings to their daily work.
Moreover, all cleaning products are biodegradable and certified, making them safer for our team to use compared to conventional options and less harmful to the environment.
Our comfy bed linen and towels are the result of a collaboration between Guldsmeden, Beierholm Textiles, and Elis – and are all GOTS-certified, fairtrade and made of organic cotton. Bed linen is mixed with recycled polyester for durability.
DIF Get2Sport is an initiative aimed at supporting sports associations in socially vulnerable areas. Its goal is to alleviate practical and social challenges faced by volunteers in these areas, allowing them to focus on training and club operations for children and youth. The initiative seeks to create a thriving sports community and provide opportunities for all children, regardless of their background, to engage in organized sports.
Guldsmeden Hotels proudly supports DIF Get2Sport, making a positive impact on the lives of children and youth in socially vulnerable areas. Our contributions cover fees, equipment, competitions, and social events. We're especially committed to increasing girls' participation. These efforts foster unity, joy, and skill development. Our support comes from various sources within our organization. We're grateful for the opportunity to make a difference and look forward to our continued partnership. Together, we're shaping a brighter future for these young athletes.
You can read more about the project ”Idræt for alle børn” here
We have always prided ourselves on the comfort and quality of our beds and linen. More recently, we have taken the extra step of including animal welfare and climate concerns into the equation. The production of down is very unregulated and chemically heavy. Therefore, we have partnered with ProLana, a German company that makes mattresses, pillows, and duvets of natural, fairtrade, certified, non-toxic materials such as natural latex, rubberized coconut, wool from camels, yak and sheep, silk, and cotton.
Marc Weinert is in charge of all new properties/rebuildings and interior / furnishings – and he works very differently from how things are usually done in our industry. He starts off by going into the new building and assessing what can be reused or recycled. He is very creative and can often see solutions that the rest of us didn´t spot – and it can be anything from decor moldings on ugly doors and a layer of paint instead of new doors to tables that get new legs or even cracked paintings, which with a new frame suddenly turn out to be worth looking at;).
We choose to decorate outside of trends, as we do not want to replace usable furniture but use the furniture until it´s worn out – and if you are trendy, you are also suddenly untrendy and have to redesign. Therefore, natural materials are also prioritized as they age with grace and can bear a little wear and tear. Furniture is designed by and produced for us with FSC-certified wood and other natural, sustainable materials. We supplement with recycled pieces; for example, we use vintage Chesterfield sofas and genuine old rugs.
Certifications & memberships
Our very first certification was Green Globe, which we achieved in 2010/11. Green Globe is a 360-degree certification, that helped us ensure that we didn´t miss any aspect of sustainability in the choices that we make, and in the way that we operate on a daily basis.
Green Globe has been instrumental for us in order to achieve our very high degree of sustainability, by their strict “policing” of us through bi-annual audits. However, in 2019 we decided that we needed a partner who challenged us more and helped us evolve – so we told Green Globe that we would be looking for another certification.
It turned out that Green Globe itself was in the process of changing management and work methods, and they very much wanted to keep us on board (at no cost) as sparring partners in that endeavor. At this time of writing, we are in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, and there has been no development in the communication between us and Green Globe.
So as the situation stands right now, we are officially still members of Green Globe – if and when that changes, you will of course be updated. But regardless, Green Globe will always be a part of our sustainability journey and story.
The Golden Ø (The Organic Cuisine Label)
Closely following our first Green Globe certification, we were in 2011 encouraged to apply for the newly established “økologiske spisemærke”, an organic label for restaurants, administered by the Danish Ministry of Food & Agriculture. The label comes in the sizes:
- Bronze for 30-60% organic
- Silver for 60-90% organic
- Gold for 90-100% organic
We were already at that time close to 100% organic, so we of course went for the gold label, which we still have at all hotels in Denmark. We are audited by the health authorities 4 times per year, and usually have an organic percentage between 98-100%.
Green Key is a very large international sustainability certification for hotels, that we joined in 2017. Green Key originated in Denmark, and their management is still centrally located here – so although their sustainability criteria are somewhat lower than our operational standards, they are still very knowledgeable, very dedicated and always available to give advice and guidance.
Guldsmeden has been a member of GoGreen Denmark since its beginning in 2010. It is a community for sustainable businesses in Denmark, aimed at making it easier for the consumer to make a sustainable choice. GoGreen Denmark encompass all types of sustainable products, shops and services and have an app that can be downloaded as a guide.
Organic Denmark, as the association is called in English, is a non-profit organization that works towards growing the organic market share by bringing national and international decision makers together with producers of Danish organic products.
Goals and actions 2023 and beyond
CO2 accounting for 2022 as a starting point for CO2 reduction
Before the beginning of 2023, we will have made a CO2 account for all our hotels in Copenhagen. The CO2 account must be used as a tool that enables us to measure the CO2 emissions at the various hotels, as well as give us a baseline from which we can work.
- CO2 accounts for all hotels in Copenhagen in 2023
- CO2 accounts for all hotels in 2024
- Expand our choice of CO2 factors in Scope 3 in 2025
- Determine a fixed amount of reduction in CO2 consumption for each year
- Investigate where the various CO2 emissions come from
- Investigate how we can improve our consumption of waste, water and electricity
We will improve our environmental efforts with the help of certification requirements, as it helps us discover new problems and find new solutions to improve our climate footprint. Certifications must also be used to inform our guests about our environmental measures.
- Green Globe certification and re-certification in CPH before 2023.
- Green Globe certification at all hotels in 2023
- Green Key certification at all hotels in 2024
- Acquire and maintain the Gold Ø-label at all hotels with own-run restaurants in DK
- Research other certifications
- Maintain existing certifications
- B Corp certification in all hotels by 2024
Involvement of guests, employees and suppliers
In order to achieve our objectives, it is important that we cooperate with others. We will continuously strive to improve at involving our guests, employees and business partners in our environmental work, so that we can move towards a more environmentally friendly future.
- Offer guests the option of opting out of room-cleaning as well as information on co2 emissions for cleaning.
- Hold competitions with which hotel guests have least CO2 consumption in 2023
- Offer information to guests about environmentally friendly transport options
- Give guests the opportunity to comment on our efforts and how we can improve.
- Establishment of environmental councils at all hotels with employees in different departments
- Give our employees the opportunity to come up with proposals for climate measures
- Set up the right framework for housekeeping and kitchen assistants to be able to act environmentally rather than expecting an effort
Suppliers & business partnerships
- Be in regular contact with all our main suppliers and inform them of our requirements.
- Set requirements for delivery with opt-out if these requirements cannot be met.
Kirsten Skovgaard Aggersborg
Sustainability & Communication Manager