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Promoting responsible travel
Promoting responsible travel
The Sustainable Travel Finland (STF) label, developed by Visit Finland, is an indication of sustainable operations at many different levels. The label is only awarded to travel companies and destinations that operate on an ecologically, socially, culturally and economically sustainable basis.
Original Sokos Hotel Alexandra has completed Visit Finland's full seven-step programme for sustainable development, which includes committing to sustainability, increasing expertise, drawing up a plan for sustainable development, developing communication about sustainability, receiving a certificate promoting sustainable travel, fulfilling the criteria set in the programme and ultimately, receiving the right to use the STF label.
Customers expect action and open communication
According to Hotel Manager Leena Lehosmaa, sustainability calls for continuous long-term development of operations, based on the latest knowledge.
"We've had the Green Key environmental label, awarded for ecological sustainability, since 2017. The Sustainable Travel Finland label helps us show Finnish and international customers that we comply with the principles of sustainable development in all other fields of sustainability as well."
Sustainability aspects are receiving greater emphasis in hotel operations as customers become more aware of the environmental impact and carbon footprint of travel.
"Our customers increasingly appreciate actions related to the circular economy, as well as the use of local products and services. We're also expected to actively communicate our concrete sustainability actions," says Leena Lehosmaa.
Big and small actions daily
As examples of environmental sustainability actions, the hotel manager mentions the hotel room furniture made by a local carpentry shop, the reupholstered sofa sets in the lobby, and energy-saving lighting and water-saving bathroom furnishing. Alexandra has also participated in a pilot programme to recycle work clothing, which aims to find operating models for the broader recycling of textiles across S Group.
Indeed, dozens of environmental actions, both big and small, are carried out in the hotel daily.
"To curb food waste, our restaurants make accurate predictions of demand and carefully plan the amount of food prepared. We have joined the ResQ Club service, which enables us to sell food and meals left over from breakfast and lunch at a reasonable price. In the spring, when we had to close our restaurants because of the coronavirus restrictions, we also turned to ResQ to offer foodstuff that we had in store and that would have gone bad during the restrictions."
Wellbeing for staff and partners
In addition to environmental measures, the criteria for the Sustainable Travel Finland label includes social and regional responsibility. In relation to this, Original Sokos Hotel Alexandra conducts a workplace wellbeing survey annually and offers comprehensive occupational healthcare, including various types of mental health service.
"We've launched cooperation with the Hope association, offering families with limited means the opportunity to spend the night and enjoy breakfast at our hotel. To promote regional wellbeing, we work in close collaboration with local producers and educational institutions. We offer young people opportunities for work practice and on-the-job training, and tell them about the principles of sustainable travel along the way. We've used the same approach in our cooperation with a local primary school," Leena explains.
Responsibility really is one of our most important priorities!