Being environmentally responsible is entrenched in the CLHG ethos. We continuously analyse, manage and monitor environmental impact across our brands. At every opportunity, we encourage our stakeholders to join us on our sustainability journey.
Despite the many challenges that CLHG faced over the last 18 months, reducing the group’s negative impact on the environment remains a key focus. The solar installations at 25 of our hotels throughout the group reduced our dependency on the national energy grid. We provide guests with magnesiumenriched filtered water from hydration stations in all CLHG hotels to reduce the volume of bottled water used and the resulting single-use plastic waste. Our single-use-plastic-free range of bathroom amenities is popular with guests.
We are particularly pleased with the Green Star rating achieved by the new Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City. This is in recognition of its efficient water and electrical designs; energy efficient lights and appliances; intelligent lighting management systems; and building monitoring systems. It includes an automated mechanism for monitoring water consumption data and detecting leaks. The hotel also has a state-of-theart on-premises laundry that takes care of all of the hotel’s linen and terry products using energy, water and laundry efficient chemicals and equipment.
The group did not conduct a formal carbon footprint measurement this year. However, we are confident that with significant reductions in absolute electricity and water use, less waste generated and sent to landfills and less business travel, our total carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) would have shown a favourable decline year on year.
SPECIFIC SUSTAINABILITY FOCUS AREAS
Our hotels and supporting infrastructure use electricity primarily generated by the national energy providers in the countries we operate in. As power outages are relatively common across Africa, all our hotels have backup diesel generators installed.
The bulk of the group’s energy consumption results from water heating, air conditioning, lighting, and laundry operations. As these functions generate 80% to 90% of our carbon footprint, mitigating their effects remains key. Our total energy consumption for the period was 17.7 million kWh (2020: 23.7 million kWh).
Sustainable energy management programmes at each hotel focus on operational and technical efﬁciencies. Our absolute energy consumption across all our hotels decreased by 25% (2020: 17%). As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the varying levels of lockdown, hotels were only reopened when demand for accommodation increased to adequate levels. However, even when closed for guests or operating at far lower occupancies, hotels consume electricity as part of their minimum baseload. This adversely affects the energy consumption per occupied room, which increased by 38%.
Electricity consumption (per occupied room and available room) and the resultant per room costs were:
|kWh per occupied room||Cost per occupied room (R)||kWh per available room||Cost per available room (R)|
Once again, the group turned off non-essential lights during Earth Hour on Saturday, 27 March 2021, saving 293 kWh or 15% of the energy usually consumed during this time on a regular Saturday evening.
The installation of solar power generation at 25 hotels was completed in 2019.
Our solar installations have produced 1.8 million kWh during the financial year. This helped us reduce the total amount of energy purchased from national energy providers by 8.2%, when compared with the same period last year. We also generated 389 463 kWh excess solar energy that could in future be sold into national grids.
Reducing water consumption remains a joint effort between employees and guests. We encourage guests to help reduce water consumption without minimising the guest experience. Our newer and refurbished hotels reduced the number of rooms with baths to approximately 60% of the total complement. We also installed low-flow showerheads and taps and are evaluating other ways to reduce overall water consumption.
CLHG relies on municipal supplies for water, although some of our South African hotels use borehole water for property maintenance. We are very mindful of the severe water shortages currently being experienced in the Nelson Mandela Bay region. We drilled a borehole and are currently investigating options to supplement the municipal feed with filtered and treated water into some of our beachfront hotels.
The total water consumption for the period was 312 112 kℓ (2020: 436 013 kℓ), a 123 901 kℓ, 28% decrease year on year.
As with electricity consumption, water consumption was significantly reduced by the Covid-19 lockdowns and hotel closures.
|kℓ per occupied room||Cost per occupied room (R)||kℓ per available room||Cost per available room (R)|
We are also responsible for managing water quality at our properties, achieved by using biodegradable chemicals and products, installing grease traps, and implementing saltwater chlorinators for swimming pools.
Waste and recycling
The volume of solid waste generated by our hotels is low compared with fullservice hotels. Nevertheless, we recycle paper, glass, plastics, aluminium and steel cans where possible. Due to the challenges brought on by the pandemic, the percentage of group waste recycled declined, but we continue exploring cost-effective solutions to further reduce our waste-to-landfill.
Water filling stations for guests
CLHG guests have the option to replace single-use plastic bottled water with magnesium-enriched, filtered water from dispensers conveniently located in the hotel. The water filling stations reduce the carbon footprint of the supply chain by reducing the volumes of bottled water trucked to the hotels. As at 30 June 2021, 43 of the group’s 56 hotels in South Africa offer hydration stations.
We encourage guests to either use their own reusable bottles or cups or to purchase reusable glass or aluminium water bottles from reception. Reusable glass water bottles or jugs are provided for delegates using CLHG conference and meeting rooms and boardrooms.
Plastic free, eco-friendly amenities
CLHG, together with our South African supplier, The Bespoke Amenities Company (TBAC), remains committed to the new range of bathroom amenities that reduce the amount of single-use plastic used in our hotel rooms. These are available across all our hotel brands. We were the first South African hotel group and among the first in the world to implement such an innovation.
Our environmentally friendly amenities include ‘Zero’ shampoo bars and shower caps made from corn starch. Each of the new amenities is packaged in Forest Stewardship Council certified recyclable cardboard packaging.
Following these changes, we estimate that we substantially reduced the volume of single-use plastics going to landfills:
|Items||Waste-to-landfill reduced by|
|Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles||688 201 units|
|Flow wraps||1 364 954 units|
|Plastic tubes||67 829 units|
|Boxed accessories (non-FSC board)||53 142 units|
|TOTAL||2 141 434 units|
The public is increasingly concerned about the industrial model of producing food from animals, which may deliver cheaper food products in a manner that is cruel and harms environmental and public health. Consumers increasingly demand food that is safe, healthy and grown sustainably.
In January 2020, the group publicly committed to only serving 100% cage-free eggs throughout its operations by 2025. CLHG partnered with Humane Society International-Africa (HSI-Africa) on its journey towards offering eggs and egg products sourced in this way. City Lodge currently serves approximately 1.4 million eggs annually.
We acknowledge public concern and the wishes of our guests and are determined to ensure that our product supply chain is ethical and transparent.
The group complies with the following South African legislation relevant to environmental sustainability:
- Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act, 45 of 1965
- Environment Conservation Act, 73 of 1989
- National Environmental Management Act, 107 of 1998
- National Water Act, 36 of 1998
- Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993
- Water Services Act, 108 of 1997.
No environmental accidents occurred during the year, nor were any environmental-related fines imposed on the group.
OUR GOALS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD
In the year ahead, we aim to further reduce energy consumption where possible, on a per-room-sold basis. We are committed to finding more ways to reduce overall consumption in our hotels during periods of low occupancy, especially until the Covid-19 pandemic subsides.
We are continuing our efforts to reduce per-room-sold water consumption and are finding additional sources of water for hotels in water-scarce regions. Solutions may include greywater reuse and water conservation in general.