Claus Nielsen, CEO at Frederiksdal Hotel

Going green can be good for business

In an effort to become one of Denmark’s most environmentally-sustainable hotels, Frederiksdal is converting its daily operations to green energy. Their ambition is to become a climate-positive hotel by 2030

Lined by tall beech trees, the Frederiksdal Hotel sits in the scenic area between Bagsværd Lake and Furesøen. Over the past years, the hotel has changed its operational processes and has successfully reduced everything from CO2 emissions and water consumption to food waste. According to the Frederiksdal’s director, Claus Nielsen: “Our principle is that we must take care of our surrounding environment. That is why we have examined every little detail to find out what the greatest culprits of environmental degradation are and where we can really take hold and positively change our climate footprint.” As part of the hotel chain, Sinatur the Frederiksdal Hotel has mapped out a 10- year plan to become a climate-positive hotel. As Nielsen points out, this “… doesn’t happen overnight. A lot of steps have to be taken along the way.” The hotel must not simply refrain from over-exploiting natural resources, but must also positively contribute to balancing the global climate.

Wrestling with suppliers

Today, Frederiksdal Hotel purchases goods almost exclusively from Danish farmers. Guests benefit from fresh, local produce while the hotel reduces CO2 transport emissions. In Nielsen’s words, “We order goods responsibly – reducing transportation by ordering at the right times. When we started, we had to wrestle with many of our suppliers. They had to get used to the fact that they only had to drive out here once a week instead of two to three times.

Frederiksdal Hotel wants to be among the most sustainable hotels

Today, you can see the common gain from thinking about transport more responsibly. We do not order fewer goods, we just order more at the same time.” As a further initiative, Frederiksdal Hotel only buys renewable energy and is working to reduce its consumption by streamlining operations. With respect to those parts of the hotel that cannot be optimized, they will self-produce. In the long term, the hotel staff aims to reduce more than they consume to become CO2 positive by 2030.

Nothing goes to waste

Of course, you cannot consume without producing waste. Knowing this, Nielsen and his team are ensuring the least possible amount of excess and are working to reuse the waste that does arise. This can be anything from food waste to packaging. This practice is often referred to as a “circular economy,” and, for many companies, it is the key to both a healthier business and a greener conscience. Nielsen’s rationale is that “All the products we buy must be able to enter into a biological or technical cycle. We sort all of the waste so that it can either be repurposed or used for the production of new products. A good example is our collaboration with the small startup company, Kaffe Bueno, which extracts oil from coffee beans and uses it for cosmetic products. Their leftovers are turned into the flour that we use to bake.

Frederiksdal Hotel is situated in the scenic landscape around Mølleåen.

We are distinguished through our achieveFUTURE KGS. LYNGBY 17 ments and collaborators, and we can also feel that more companies are making our suppliers their suppliers. So you can easily create the economy by being sustainable.” Today, Frederiksdal Hotel reuses 69 per cent of its waste. Next, they have their sights set on limiting water consumption by investing in new solutions, such as using rainwater to flush toilets.

A culture of sustainability

In an effort to change their organizational culture, the Sinatur has selected “climate ambassadors” throughout its 6 hotels to ensure that the green mission is communicated to all employees. After all, if the employees do not buy into the mission, there is a danger that it will only be adopted by the management – and then cast aside in the midst of daily operations. As Nielsen observes: “It is important that employees also feel that something is happening. In a long-term strategy, there must be milestones so that everyone feels they are part of a development and a positive transition. The employees also have direct contact with our guests, so, in the end, they are very important in our journey.

We do not have a green agenda solely for commercial gain. We can say with a hand on our hearts that we want to make a positive difference
Claus Nielsen

” The company recognizes that guests must also be aware of their role in moving commas on a large climate balance sheet. Because when you cycle through hundreds of guests on a daily basis, a gram, kilowatt, or kroner means a great deal for each individual. Nielsen is careful to point out: “We do not have a green agenda solely for commercial gain. We can say with a hand on our hearts that we want to make a positive difference because we are passionate about it. Hopefully, our efforts can inspire others in the industry to start their own green transition.”

There are always opportunities to grow

In 2013, the Sinatur was the first to achieve “Det Økologiske Spisemærke” (the organic dining award). Ever since, it has been dedicated to achieving a responsible climate agenda. While they have come a long way, the director does not expect them to sit on their laurels in 2030. Nielsen explained: “We’re always working and trying to get out of the classic hotel boxes. We will certainly be evaluating our community ambitions several times over the next 10 years, because there will be even better and more effective solutions than we have today. Where we are working to be more CO2-positive and water-neutral, we will never be completely finished because we can continually optimize. There is a long way to go and we are working with all suppliers and engineers to do things better and smarter.”