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Long-established processes need a rethink

The Hotel Schweizerhof Lenzerheide provides a good example of how little ideas can also yield big results. Guests are surprised to find that this traditional Graubünden hotel has reduced the amount of cutlery it uses – and they are amazed by the energy that it saves by taking this step. In summer 2022, the Schweizerhof made a deliberate decision to reduce its table settings from seven to three items of cutlery. This cutback shows that sustainable thinking in the restaurant industry goes way beyond the food that guests eat. Hotel Director Claudia Züllig-Landolt confirms this: "We don't even have so much as a single butter knife any more, and we save energy because we need to do less washing up. That also saves detergent and, most important of all, staff resources – because we don't have so much cutlery to polish." Guests, too, are enthusiastic about this move. "You have to take guests along on the journey so they come to understand the fundamental concept behind the change." She appears to have 

«You have to take guests along on the journey so they come to understand the fundamental concept behind the changes.»

Claudia Züllig-Landolt, Hotel Schweizerhof Lenzerheide

Facing up to the energy crisis

The potential energy crisis in winter 2022/2023 is confronting the Swiss hotel sector with some major challenges. Accommodation providers that opt for renewable energy sources could be at an advantage here: they include the CERVO Mountain Resort in Zermatt. Back in the 2019/20 season, oil – a fossil fuel – was still used to provide 100% of the heating at the CERVO. But now, 99% of its energy demand is generated by a heat pump and a system for recovering heat from wastewater. Since the changeover, this has made it possible to save 53.1 metric tons of CO2 each year. And from 1 January 2023 onwards, the hotel will be using 100% hydropower from Zermatt instead of a conventional power mix.

Partnerships to promote shared efforts

Alpine Circle is a Swiss enterprise that is committed to combating waste in Switzerland's mountains. It organises Action Days when waste is collected from natural environments, partially in collaboration with destinations: its partnership with the Arosa Tourist Office is one example. The waste is collected in bags and is then disposed of by the destinations. The Responsible Hotels of Switzerland maintain a partnership with Alpine Circle aimed at combating pollution in the Alps. 

Talking of bags…

Another idea is practicable for all member establishments of the Responsible Hotels of Switzerland. Guests can use the new recycling bags to participate actively in separating waste: they sort the waste themselves in their rooms, eliminating the need to dispose of it in the conventional way. This makes guests visually aware of the issue of waste separation, and sorting out the waste becomes much easier for the staff. Hikers can also take the bag along with them as they walk – a simple solution to prevent the pollution of our natural environment.