Hotels in France embrace the virtues of going green

Wood-burning stoves, in-room recycling, fine cuisine featuring local produce: from bed-and-breakfasts to five-star palaces, France's hotel industry is opening its eyes to the lucrative advantages of going green.

"Our business involves a lot of water, electricity and rubbish, so our goal is to limit our impact on the environment and considerably reduce our carbon emissions," said Bernard Granier, director general of Concorde Hotels, which runs the opulent Le Crillon in Paris and the Hotel Martinez in Cannes.

The chic Fouquet's Barriere, adjoining the eponymous bistro on the Champs-Elysees, wants to cut its CO2 output by 20 percent by 2020 - and in the same spirit, it offers guests the use of a hybrid car or an electric scooter.

At the stately Bristol, next door to the Elysee Palace, leftovers from its three-star restaurants and kitchens are put through an industrial-sized processor that extracts water used to clean the floors.

Outside the French capital, more modest establishments are going beyond the usual norm of installing energy-efficient lightbulbs or asking guests to refrain from using too many bath towels.

The Temmos group of five three- and four-star hotels in the French Alps is striving to have all its properties bedecked with European Eco-label and international Green Globe certification.

For the WWF-World Wide Fund for Nature, every green initiative is "a good thing, so long as it is coherent and not just commercial," said Mohend Mahouche, a tourism specialist for the environmental group.

"Carbon ratings are good as tools for evaluation, but what you have to look at is the way in which they are used," added Julia Haake, director for partnership with business at the WWF>

"For instance, do they take into account how far the guests have travelled - especially if 90 percent of them are foreigners coming from far away?"

Olivier Petit of the global consulting firm Deloitte said sustainable development has become "an element of positive discrimination" - something of an optional extra that makes a business look better.

"In five years, that will no longer be the case," he said. "On the contrary, to not adhere (to sustainable developemnt) will be a negative factor."

Having recognised how going green can be good for business, the Gites de France network of bed-and-breadfasts has doubled to around 100 its number of certified "eco-gites" with such features as solar heating.

More than 200 more are in the pipelin, Gites de France says.

"The hotel industry has seen a real acceleration in this area over the past three years," said Philippe Francois, chairman of Francois Tourisme, a consultancy that specialises in sustainable development for hotels and tourism.

But much remains to be done, as many hoteliers think that big investments are needed in order to come across as virtuous vis-a-vis the environment - no small consideration in hard economic times.

"In fact, 80 percent of what needs to be done costs nothing, because they involve changes in conduct and attitudes which alone can be profitible in financial, environmental, social and image terms," Francois said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Executive - Meetings & Events (MICE) - £40,000 OTE

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achieving...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Account Executive - Hotel Reservation Software - £40,000 OTE

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: A rapidly growing Hotel ...

    Recruitment Genius: Tyre Technician / Mechanic

    £15000 - £16800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Tyre Technician / Mechanic is...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Receptionist / Warranty Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion the Largest Independent Motor...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game