RIU Hotels, as a company, works hard to minimize the impact that its activity has on the environment. To achieve this objective, various projects have been launched: from efficiency and savings measures in hotels to standardization in measurement systems and comparable data to ensure reliable results.
We understand environmental management as another of our responsibilities and an essential driver of the battle against climate change and its consequences. That is why we have incorporated it into the entire decision-making process, along with financial profitability, customer satisfaction, people management and social investment.
Our “transversal strategy” is a collection of actions that we coordinate as a constant circle in our management system:
- In our procurement contracting
- In the construction or renovation of buildings
- Energy efficiency
- Water cycle
- Waste management
- Pollution reduction
- Valuation and use of sustainable resources
- Reduction in the consumption of raw materials
- Sustainability certification
Water use and recycling
RIU has taken sustainable measures to ensure the responsible use and management of water, minimising waste and maximising reuse through the use of water saving and recycling systems in hotels.
Water use indicators. Total cubic meters
Water use and management measures
- Double flush push buttons on toilets.
- Mixing-valve taps in showers that improve temperature regulation.
- Efficient showers and toilets with flow reducers and timers.
- Replacement of bathtubs with showers in hotels.
- Use of typical local plants except for areas next to the pool.
- Drip and sprinkler irrigation, with pressure limiters.
- Moisture detectors.
- Irrigation when there is less sun to avoid evaporation.
- Progressive implementation of a double circuit to reuse soapy water in toilets and for irrigation.
The company minimises the amount of waste generated by its activity and manages waste responsibly, separating it so that it can be recycled and treated.
Waste management measures
- Purchase of large format products to reduce packaging waste.
- Preference for packaging made from recycled or biodegradable materials
- Hotels have facilities for the separation of waste.
- There is a special protocol for the disposal of hazardous waste.
- Chemicals, paints, solvents, light bulbs, cells and batteries have specific protocols.
- The disposal of chemicals and toxic waste is managed responsibly, separating it so it can be recycled and treated by authorised agents.
- There are waste bins in the hotel public areas to dispose of paper, glass, plastic and organic waste.
In 2020, the RIU strategy to reduce the use of plastics was affected by the health and safety measures required to deal with COVID-19, which made it necessary to keep using some items we planned to eliminate and even to start using new plastic materials. However, work has continued with the same degree of effort in all the areas where it has been possible.
How long does it take for plastics to decompose?
RIU uses efficient equipment to reduce the use of both electricity and fuel, consuming energy rationally, making better use of natural resources and helping reduce pollution.
Energy saving measures
- LED and low energy lighting in hotels and RIU corporate offices.
- Replacement of electrical appliances with high-efficiency appliances or ‘A’ class energy certification.
- Implementation, whenever possible, of geothermal air conditioning systems to improve energy efficiency by 400%.
- Replacement of diesel boilers with natural gas boilers that generate cleaner energy.
- Automatic disconnection devices for air conditioning in rooms when guests open doors or windows, avoiding unnecessary energy use and losses.
- Use of solar lighting in garden areas.
- Timers programmed in parallel with sunlight hours.
- Use of solar thermal energy for hot water systems.
In 2020, total energy consumption was affected by the total closure of hotels during the first few months of the pandemic and low occupancy in subsequent months.
Reduction in CO2 emissions
The use of coal, oil and, to a lesser extent, natural gas, generates carbon dioxide emissions, one of the main causes of the greenhouse effect. The objective of RIU Hotels is to continue reducing pollution and CO2 emissions generated by its activity.
Measures to reduce emissions
- Use of less polluting systems, especially with regard to air conditioning, the top contributor to our carbon footprint.
- Replacement of diesel boilers and appliances with appliances that use natural gas.
- Use of less polluting and more efficient machinery and appliances.
- We are committed to recycling solid waste, thus avoiding the manufacture of new materials and an increase in greenhouse gases.
- Identify the devices responsible for the highest emissions and improve their efficiency.
ACOUSTIC AND LIGHT POLLUTION
Noise is a form of pollution we also aim to avoid. An environment free of undesirable noise and vibrations guarantees greater comfort and satisfaction for our customers. To this end, we have taken the following measures:
- Substitution of noisy machinery for more modern, more efficient and quieter alternatives.
- Choose locations for this type of equipment far away from customer areas to avoid inconvenience.
- Insulate the noise source inside special containers with ventilation, designed to prevent the greater part of the noise they create from reaching the outside.
- Use of noise-absorbing coatings on the walls of industrial buildings that house noise-generating facilities.
- Construction of a soundproof space in the building for maintenance workers during their working hours equipped with personal protective equipment such as helmets and hearing protection.
- Use of absorbent barriers outside industrial buildings to limit noise transmission ranges.
- Use of vibration-reduction techniques as the most appropriate insulation measures in each case: placing the equipment on a shock-absorbing support, use of the cement foundations in special containers, etc.
- Define a maintenance programme to reduce noise emissions and compare the noise level at any given time with the noise level under optimal conditions to ensure that the difference between the two does not exceed 2dB (A).
Environmentally friendly lighting
At RIU we are very much aware of the harmful effects of light pollution on the ecosystem, especially in protected natural environments of extraordinary beauty, such as those around our hotels. To achieve a balance between lighting, respect for the environment and energy saving, we try to minimise the impact of light pollution in our buildings. To achieve this we take into account various measures:
- We correctly install the basic light fixtures to direct the light downwards rather than upwards.
- We limit the use of the power required to light up different areas by using the appropriate efficient light bulbs.
- We reduce the amount of time that lights are left on by limiting them to only what is necessary.
- The terraces or balconies of the rooms in our hotels do not have any exterior lighting.
We protect turtle nesting sites in Cape Verde
On the islands of Sal and Boa Vista, our hotels keep their façade lights turned off during the nesting season for the caretta caretta turtle. On the beaches where our hotels are located we have turtle nurseries monitored by local environmental associations that monitor the beach and raise awareness among customers to ensure they are more careful when they pass by. They also carry out periodic controls on the nesting beaches to ensure compliance with all measures.
The RIU Hotels Procurement Department is highly aware of the impact of its decisions on the environment and the local community, and is increasingly rigorous in ensuring that its suppliers meet certain environmental and social sustainability criteria. We prioritise companies that provide sustainable products and meet the 12 commitments demanded by the company.
Measures for sustainable purchases
- Coffee and teas with a Rainforest Alliance certificate
- Replacement of normal straws for compostable straws
- Priority acquisition of local products
- Biodegradable cleaning products and detergents
- Purchase of seasonal fruit and fish
- Promotion of hydroponic crops in destinations with adverse conditions
- Reduction in consumption of endangered marine species
- Cellulose sourced from sustainable forests
- Recycled cardboard packaging instead of plastic
- Oeko-Tex and Made in green certified textiles
- Optimisation of goods transportation to reduce CO2 emissions
- Elimination of chemicals considered harmful to human health and the environment
- Cloth or compostable laundry bags
- Compostable glasses and containers for take-away services
- Eggs from cage-free hens*
- MSC certified fish
- FSC certified toilet paper and tubes
- AENOR certified milk (animal welfare) *
*Within the framework of our Animal Welfare Policy, we are committed to ensuring that 100% of the eggs consumed in all our hotels and all our products are Cage-Free (CFE) by 2025. We will not accept combined systems. This transition will be gradual and we will work closely with expert organizations in the field, as well with local suppliers and producers to achieve it. We will publicly report our progress towards full compliance with this commitment on our website or other means annually.