The UK’s largest hospitality company Whitbread had pledged to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040 – the first UK hotel chain to publicly commit to doing so.
The Premier Inn owner, which also operates restaurant brands including Brewers Fayre and Beefeater, had previously committed to reaching Net Zero by 2050 for its own operations but now plans to accelerate the programme under its Force for Good sustainability programme.
Net zero is the term used to describe when the amount of greenhouse gas produced by a business is no more than the amount removed from the atmosphere.
In practice, Whitbread said this means a strategic plan to reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions to zero. It added a small remainder may need to be offset through nature – for example by planting trees or utilising technology such as carbon capture and storage – but this is not Whitbread’s prime intention.
The company added that it will also accelerate a number of enhancements including:
- Reducing gas use across the estate by investing in efficient gas appliances or electric equivalents
- A maintained commitment to 100% renewable energy in the UK and now in German operations as far as possible
- Reducing emissions from company car fleets and distribution vehicles by moving to more electric and alternative fuel vehicles
- Installation of solar panels to support the use of renewable energy across Whitbread’s estate
Alison Brittain, Whitbread CEO, said: “Driving sustainability is at the heart of Whitbread’s strategy. Guests who stay with us can rest easy knowing they’re choosing a business which takes care of its people, the communities we operate in, and the world around us as well as one that is constantly striving to become even more environmentally-focused.
“We’re delighted to announce our new net zero target, which improves on our previous commitment, by bringing forward the date to achieve net zero from 2050 to 2040. This builds on a long-line of environmental ‘firsts’ for Whitbread, such as our drive to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastics.”
She added: “We’re scrutinising all aspects of our operation from business fleet to boilers to achieve our goal and achieving a net zero position a decade earlier than originally planned is the right thing to do for our business, our guests and the environment.”