Relais & Châteaux Releases First Sustainability Report
"In Search of Hospitality in Harmony With The Natural World" With An Action Plan for 2030
Relais & Châteaux announces an ambitious sustainability action plan and publishes its first-ever sustainability report examining the global association's environmental, social and societal impact and setting 15 objectives for 2025 and 2030. Sustainability Report: In Search of Hospitality in Harmony with the Natural World (baseline year 2021) seeks to measure, share and accelerate the association's progress and highlight the positive contribution the group's independent chefs, hoteliers and restaurateurs can have on the environment, diversity and local communities and economies.
As a global association of independent hotels and restaurants Relais & Châteaux has a long-standing commitment to sustainability. As early as 2014, the not-for-profit association announced its Vision with 20 commitments ‘for a better world' at UNESCO to ‘preserve the diversity of cuisines and hospitality, to share our passion for all that is good and beautiful and to work together to create a more humane world.' Since 2015, it has been tracking the progress of its members in terms of responsible purchasing, conscious sourcing, biodiversity conservation, social policies, community empowerment, and cultural heritage preservation through its internal platform called Moving Forward. In addition, the association, which has had a partnership with Ethic Ocean since 2009, regularly unites its members around actions in favor of the environment (for example, World Oceans Day and Food for Change since 2016).
Aware of the social and environmental impact of the hospitality sector, confronted first-hand by the consequences of climate change and eager to act collectively in order to unite its members to build a better world through cuisine and hospitality, Relais & Châteaux is taking a major step forward with a three-pronged approach:
- The adoption of a sustainability action plan, based on three key pillars and 15 ambitious objectives for 2025 and 2030.
The implementation of a comprehensive and international reporting system based on 60 indicators, with its own methodology and intended to be renewed each year.
And finally, the publication of its first sustainability report.
Two consulting firms, Solinnen and Alice Audouin Consulting, have supported the association in the development of its sustainability approach.
Three major pillars
Environmental Conservation is a fundamental pillar of the association's action plan, focusing on climate change, water use, biodiversity and plastic pollution.
Another priority is Sustainable Cuisine, which takes into account the life cycle of dishes, prioritizing local suppliers and supply chains as well as the preservation of culinary heritage.
Finally, in terms of Social & Societal Empowerment, the association underlines the importance of gender parity, diversity and the working conditions of employees, as well as "geotourism" and local activism. Relais & Châteaux members are linked to their surroundings, geographically, culturally and economically.
The association has defined 15 key objectives for 2025 and 2030 based on its three pillars. Some members are leading the way by having already achieved these objectives. The association is convinced that these properties will be quickly joined by others, since excellence and quality are already an integral part of their high standards.
On climate: The association intends to ingrain decarbonation in its culture, 50% of its members will have measured their carbon footprint by 2025, compared to 12% in the baseline year of 2021. Several members are already pioneers in terms of carbon neutrality (even taking into account guest travel): Awasi Patagonia (Chile), Awasi Atacama (Chile), Awasi Iguazú, (Argentina), EOLO-Patagonia's Spirit (Argentina) and Nayara Springs (Costa Rica).
On cuisine: The culture of local and organic produce is already at the heart of restaurants' practices, with 30% of them already offering vegetables that are-in conjunction-organic, local and seasonal. The association intends to increase this to 50% by 2025. A pioneering member, the Dal Pescatore Santini restaurant in Italy, runs its own farm using regenerative farming methods.
On gender parity: In the top 10 salaries of employees that work at Relais & Châteaux properties, 42% are women. While this result is already very encouraging, the association is aiming for true parity, with 50% by 2030.
60 indicators measured manually
The first sustainability report: ‘In Search of Hospitality in Harmony with the Natural World' provides a comprehensive snapshot of members' sustainability practices and covers a wide range of issues: management of natural resources, environmental conservation, gastronomic culture and social responsibility.
It transparently shares the results of an extensive reporting process following a questionnaire completed by 283 properties (about 50% of the members) based on more than 60 indicators for the baseline year 2021. It also measures its members contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a significant impact on six of these.
This reporting process will be renewed each year, making it possible to measure and report on progress year-on-year. This will maintain and build momentum towards the defined objectives and help to support a greater number of members to face the existential challenges of the 21st century.
Lars Seifert, Chief Communications & Sustainability Officer of Relais & Châteaux, said: "While Relais & Châteaux is an association of independent operators, it's by leveraging their entrepreneurial creativity and flexibility that we will speed our progress towards the ambitious goals we have set. Together we can show that hospitality, travel, exploration and enjoyment of the world's varied cultures can be a force for good."
A major achievement of the Philippe Gombert and Olivier Roellinger term in office
This action plan is the fruit of the ambitious and visionary action of Philippe Gombert (Château de la Treyne), President of Relais & Châteaux, and Olivier Roellinger (Les Maisons de Bricourt), Vice President, who initiated and implemented this approach. Philippe Gombert declares: "But as proud as we are of our achievements to date, we remain humble and alert. We are at a critical point for the health of the earth and its inhabitants. No one can be complacent about their contribution to protect, preserve and restore our planet." For his part, Olivier Roellinger states, "We're ambitious, and we want to disrupt the hospitality sector. Our objectives are a clear recipe for success to meet humanity's most existential threat: climate change. We are the only hospitality association doing this at this level."
As part of the renewal of the association's board, their successors, Laurent Gardinier (Domaine Les Crayères, Taillevent) and Mauro Colagreco (Mirazur), who took up their mandates on January 1, 2023, intend to carry on, embody and extend this dynamic.
To download a full copy of the report, click to.relais.com/SustainabilityReport2022.