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Our first sustainability day

Hamburg, 9 January 2023

The year 2023 started with an exciting event at the Hotel Hafen Hamburg: our first Sustainability Day.
With rousing workshops from our partners and a plenary session beforehand, in which our plans, successes and challenges were presented transparently, we were able to give all participants something to take away with them on how each individual can make the world a little bit better.

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After months of preparation, we were finally able to realise our first Sustainability Day on 9 January.
In five sessions, we welcomed almost 300 employees of our two hotels as well as 70 customers and partners in the evening.
Starting with a plenary session in the ballroom of our sister hotel Empire Riverside Hotel, where hotel director Enrico Ungermann and two members of the internal sustainability project team reported on our path to a more sustainable company, the participants were then able to take part in the workshops that our partners had selected in advance.
We have summarised below which workshops were offered, what we have to report about our path to sustainability and which challenges we have already had to face.

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Working group: Sustainability

At the beginning of 2022, we established a project group to address the issue of sustainability at the Empire Riverside Hotel and Hotel Hafen Hamburg, develop a project plan and work together to make our businesses more sustainable.
Consisting of the technical, kitchen, purchasing, human resources, sales, reservations, marketing and management departments, we have thus created a team made up of all the departments concerned to consider all the pillars of sustainability and to be able to advise and act with the relevant expertise.

In our first sustainability blog, we have written a little more about our project plan, our first successes and ideas. Get an overview of the start of our project team "Sustainability for our hotels" here.

Brainstorming - what does sustainability actually mean to us?

In developing our project plan, we were guided by the "Green Key" sustainability label for hotels, and in a long, detailed period of brainstorming, we identified the themes we wanted to work on and address at the outset. Each of these main topics consists of hundreds of sub-topics, of which only a small part is shown in the mind map.

Click here for the translation of the presentation below.

Our successes so far

  • Paper savings compared to 2018: 6t/year due to digitisation of many processes (digital registration form | digital signage)
  • Sunday and public holiday surcharges
  • Company pension scheme with ERGO without the need for a personal contribution
  • Switch to environmentally friendly printing (paper | inks | delivery)
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Water - Electricity - Waste

Through numerous measures that we have implemented since 2019, a large amount of electricity, water and waste has already been saved.

These measures included:

- Installation of water-saving showers and taps.
- Urinals without any water at all
- Kitchen appliances with reduced water consumption
- Supplier agreement on packaging take-back
- Reusable instead of disposable -> reduction of portioned products
- Energy efficient lighting (75%)
- Motion detectors in back office and public areas
- Automatically controlled cooker bonnets

*We compare 2022 with 2019 because we can only draw a financial year with reliable data in the comparison from the period before the pandemic and lockdown.

Beige flag pattern on a dark blue background.

GreenSign - Certification process sustainability seal

After our brainstorming in the sustainability team, we decided to make ourselves measurable through a sustainability seal.

Not everything can be realised

Some of the projects we had on our project plan had to be discarded after we had checked them.
In our presentation, we talked transparently about the fact that, as much as we would like to, not everything is possible.

For example, the introduction of a sustainable conference package - here the demand on the part of the customers is missing, which is why other packages would continue to be booked preferentially, as many still do not see the higher price as justified.
In addition, it is hardly possible in the hotel industry to introduce a clear regulation for family-friendly working hours. Due to the constant operation of a hotel, shift work cannot be avoided. Of course, we try to find a suitable solution for each department - a generalisation is simply not possible.
Another challenge was the formulation of measurable sustainability goals. Since we are still at the very beginning, it is difficult for us to already determine whether it would be more worthwhile to save on gas or on electricity. Or in other areas? And what percentage is appropriate and feasible? We will ask ourselves all these questions within the next 12 months and aim to be able to present smart goals at the next Sustainability Day.

Where are we going?

We may not have been able to define measurable goals yet, but definitely a lot of goals in mind.

Our Workshops

Thank you to our partners for your active participation in our Sustainability Day. Thanks to you, our participants were able to gain a wonderfully varied insight into the three pillars of sustainability.

Our Day of Sustainability in pictures

Photographer Saskia Giebel captured our Sustainability Day in photographs.

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