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Webinar Summary

Key learnings from experts on how to integrate sustainability into a Covid-19 dominated everyday life

by Charlotte Opatz

The Covid-19 crisis has hit the hospitality industry and many other sectors hard, but we argued that sustainability and hygiene do not have to be opposites. You can read our 11 tips on environmentally friendly hygiene measures here, in our previous blog article. In the past week, we have sifted, collected and prepared a lot of profound knowledge for you. As a further support we have assembled an unbeatable team of experts and together we organised a free webinar on the topic "Sustainability and Covid-19 in the hospitality industry". In this article we want to give you an insight into the key learnings of our great speakers. 

Drum roll and curtains up for the inspiring thoughts of Dr. Frauke Fischer of the Agentur Auf!, Dr. Bijan Khazai of Hotel Resilient, Emanuel Moosbrugger of Biohotel Schwanen, Stephanie Seidel of Duni GmbH and Alexandra and Charlotte of TUTAKA

Key learnings from Dr. Frauke Fischer: What the crisis has to do with sustainability
 

  • The destruction of rainforests has a direct impact on the development of pandemics. The destruction of ecosystems and biodiversity promotes the spread of zoonoses (diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans). Experts believe that the current corona pandemic is only the tip of the iceberg. That is why holistic, sustainable action makes a concrete contribution to the reduction of such diseases and other disruptive events.
  • Nature conservation is human protection - and systemically relevant! If we destroy ecosystem services (services of natural ecosystems on which we humans are dependent), the balanced system of nature will get into an imbalance that will affect us much harder than many people want to admit.
  • We are all connected to nature - often in ways we are not aware of. And yet our travels, our food and drinking water supplies, housing and much more are directly connected to the work of nature. Conscious and informed consumption, transport and political decisions can have a direct influence on the protection of biodiversity. In doing so, we not only make our lives better, but also the lives of future generations. 

Key learnings from Dr. Bijan Khazai: Time to talk about resilience
 

  • Resilience plays a crucial role in guiding the hospitality industry through the complex and ever-changing Covid-19 pandemic and the deep cuts that the crisis has brought. 
  • Two trends are considered in resilience research. On the one hand, the resilience of systems to deep-seated disruptive events (e.g. natural disasters) is being explored. On the other hand, resilience refers to the ability to process such drastic and disruptive changes to the current system and emerge from a crisis stronger. 
  • The Corona crisis gives the hospitality industry the opportunity to find a new (sustainable) balance and to score with innovations. 
  • Hotel Resilient's free and openly accessible project, "Covid-Ready", creates an interface to support hotels in the Covid-19 pandemic and accompany them beyond the crisis. Covid-Ready includes software extensions, e-learning units and certifications. Hotel Resilient is supported by the renowned Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). 

Key learnings from Emanuel Moosbrugger: Innovation instead of reaction

  • There needs to be a new hosting culture. We do not serve our guests, but meet them at eye level. We have a clear value that we give our guests: organic, regional and "reduce to the max". From nothing too much, but the best of everything. We do not bend and know exactly what we need. This kind of hospitality should be common: a positive image change. 
  • #EmanuelsWay as a tutorial for an innovative approach to hosting. We need exchange, networking and cooperation. This is what #EmanuelsWay is meant to initiate - how do we deal with challenges? What solutions do we find? What suggestions and inspirations can we provide? All of these questions that can be better answered together than alone. 
  • The New Normal: The creation of Alma. Covid-19, shutdown, silence - what now? Thinking, rethinking and starting over. Processes and structures had to change, not only in the Biohotel Schwanen. How can a "new" service look like under the current conditions? We spun ideas, played them through and rejected them again. The result is a new overall concept, based on current hygiene guidelines, but one that is there to last. The ALMA is an innovative part of this concept. At 1.20 metres in length, the serving tray is a new way of serving. As a presentation tool, the ALMA creates a relaxed atmosphere for the guest, ensures the prescribed safety distance and brings "food sharing" back to the table. A modern table culture is made possible, which encourages eating, looking, tasting and active exchange.

Key learnings from Stephanie Seidel: A checklist for environmentally friendly packaging

  • Avoid conventional, petroleum-based plastic. 
  • Pay attention to the recyclability or compostability of your packaging. 
  • Find out about the CO2 footprint of your packaging.
  • Pay attention to transparency of the provider.
  • Check your provider for existing certificates.
  • Find out whether the company is promoting environmentally friendly products.  
  • Find out to what extent the provider assumes social responsibility.

Key learnings from Charlotte Opatz: Hygiene and sustainability do not have to be opposites

It is rather the contrary: Covid-19 has turned everything upside down - a good time to break with old habits and initiate change:

  • The problem. Hygiene products that do their job and protect against possible pathogens - but have no added value for the environment, guests and employees.

There are solutions that combine everything - sustainability, health and safety standards. Especially in times of Corona, sustainability goals should not be taken off the agenda: Employees and guests want to be part of a responsible company - and after Corona all the more so. 

  • The solution. That's not a difficult question - sustainable products that create added value for employees and guests and minimise our environmental footprint. Where to find them? On our TUTAKA marketplace, of course. From protective masks made of organic cotton, modular face shields, sustainable cleaning concepts and app-based solutions, we have everything in place. 

Key learnings from Alexandra Herget: Storytelling in Times of Corona - 6 tips from TUTAKA 

  • Courage instead of anger. Instead of anger towards given circumstances, it is necessary to proceed with courageous and smart solutions. Example: Corona-related data collection in the catering industry can be seen as an opportunity to collect valuable customer data for marketing purposes. DSGVO compliant, of course! 
  • Reveal instead of conceal. Who cleans for your guests? Who is behind the hygiene concept and ensures a flawless implementation? In many hotels and catering establishments, but also in offices and event locations, they are the soul of the establishment and yet invisible. Time to drop the curtain, introduce the housekeeping and cleaning staff, tell their stories, post first-hand tips and give the abstract hygiene concept a face. 
  • Green Washing instead of Cleanwashing! What should definitely be avoided is the communication of measures that do not take place 100%. We call this "Cleanwashing", the little sister of the Greenwashing we already know (Note: written together!). Where we would be back at the heart of the house: The housekeeping and cleaning team. So, rather Green Washing than Cleanwashing!
  • Creativity instead of clichés. What we already know from the really good storytelling of sustainability measures also applies to the communication of hygiene concepts. We are not satisfied with clichés, but remain creative and authentic. What are we talking about? Mother Earth symbolism, trees, hippies and a true green-leaf logo massacre. Clichés simplify messages, but they also shorten them and lose sight of the added value of sustainability. Creative communication should take place on several levels. Action plans, reports and checklists run in the background, added value and "the good feeling" in the foreground. A real refreshment was receiving the newsletter from HYATT's CEO Mark Hoplamazian with the subtitle: Beyond Cleanliness: Reimagined Hotel Experiences. Less Contact, more Care. The Luxury of Space. Curated with Care. 
  • Us instead of me! It's all so much anyway - DSGVO, shortage of skilled workers, VAT reduction and increase, the digital registration form. Therefore: cooperation instead of working alone. A wonderful example from the Covid era is the "No Show Soup" soup. True to the motto "If the guest doesn't come to the soup, the soup comes to the guest! This is what the Regionalwert partner farms and the pub "Zur Erholung" thought right at the beginning of the crisis and created the No Show Soup. With every purchase, cancellations and missing orders with the farmers are compensated. 
  • Last but not least - also TUTAKA's guiding principle: Eco not ego. With sustainability the most beautiful stories can be written. Developing sustainable (hygiene) concepts and using really good products is eco-storymaking. And then sustainable storytelling is only a stone's throw away!

In this spirit, another heartfelt THANK YOU to our contributors and colleagues in front of and behind the camera. We are happy to initiate new impulses and ideas to support in these difficult times!

 

Summary:

  • The destruction of our environment has a direct impact on the development of pandemics. 
  • Resilience plays a crucial role in leading the hospitality industry through the Covid-19 pandemic and emerging stronger from the crisis. 
  • We need a new hosting culture, characterised by cooperation and meeting at eye level. 
  • Environmentally friendly packaging is more than just plastic-free. 
  • Hygiene and sustainability go together. Employees and guests want to be part of a responsible company. 
  • Green washing instead of clean washing! Storytelling in times of Covid-19 puts housekeeping in the foreground.

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What Covid-19 has to do with sustainability (© Photo by Dr. Frauke Fischer)

Time to talk about resilience (© Photo by Dr. Bijan Khazai on LinkedIn)

Innovation instead of reaction (© Photo by Emanuel Moosbrugger on LinkedIn)

Checklist for environmentally friendly packaging (© Photo by Stephanie Seidel on LinkedIn)

Hygiene and sustainability do not need to be opposites (© Photo by Charlotte Opatz on LinkedIn)

Hygiene und Nachhaltigkeit müssen keine Gegensätze sein (© Photo by Charlotte Opatz auf LinkedIn)

Storytelling in times of corona (© Photo by Alexandra Herget on LinkedIn)