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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific