With its three distinctive towers, the five-star hotel The Dolder Grand Zurich looks glorious in its elevated setting above the city and offers space to breathe just a little bit away from the center. Surrounded by treasured trees and expansive parkland, forests and a golf course, the curvaceous hotel is grand in scale.
Also grand in scale are the hotel’s ambitions to be a leader in sustainable tourism and well-being. The commitment to get this right is tangible and it is the mission of everyone working here to play their part and to do so with enthusiasm. The upbeat and optimistic approach seems far-removed from others in the hotel sector whose messaging can sometimes come across as preachy. This can often lead to cynicism about greenwashing and a reluctance among both guests and hotel staff to get involved. Being responsible around sustainability should not be about guilt; instead, it should answer the question: “what can I do to make things better?”
That is why it is so exciting to experience at first-hand what can happen when sustainability filters through every aspect of a hotel’s operation as it does at the Dolder Grand. Who would have thought that in 2020 some 285KG of discarded soap could be recycled and given to those in need? It is also a comfort to know that what little food waste there is goes for processing as biogas and that a geothermal system has already reduced energy consumption by 50%. The balance of the hotel’s energy needs comes from Swiss hydroelectric which is one of the greenest ways to provide clean power. In addition, solar panels to heat the swimming pools play their part in reducing the hotel’s CO2 emissions.
I like the fact that The Dolder Grand sees sustainability as a long-term process and one where action now can start to make the difference. It is not about being on trend but rather involves a real effort to take practical and durable steps to run this grand hotel on a sustainable basis. Doing so demonstrates an understanding that changes made at a local level can have a global impact. Of course, this takes effort but the whole team has the motivation to keep the momentum going.
The luxury hotel has already qualified at the highest level of Swiss Tourism’s “Swissstainable” program and is also EarthCheck Silver Certified for sustainable travel and tourism. Furthermore, The Dolder Grand supports the myclimate “Cause We Care” initiative and doubles any voluntary contribution made by guests with the money split between international and local climate initiatives. One of these provides help in Madagascar to produce and distribute efficient and greener ways of cooking to cut down on smoke generated by traditional methods.
Bringing about such change at a hotel of this scale requires careful planning and management of complex supply chains. Dolder Grand actively supports local suppliers to cut down on journey times and also works in partnership with them to reduce plastic, cardboard and paper usage. As an example of this, the Spa partners with leading skin brand Dr. Burgener whose products are presented simply without excessive packaging; the Spa has also phased out bottled water.
There are further plans in place to reduce water consumption and heating costs as these are major sources of greenhouse gasses. This is all part of a group effort by all staff to look at every aspect of how things are done and to forge a way that is more sustainable for the planet. It is also so positive for morale to have such a shared objective backed up by environmental champions. This leads to an atmosphere where each member of staff no matter what their job is feels that their individual contribution is important. That sense of a group endeavor contributes to everyone’s well-being and is indicative of a hotel that looks beyond its own buildings and surroundings and out to the wider world.
Founded in 2014, re-launched in 2019 – by Nel-Olivia Waga. It is an international luxury lifestyle blog, that features stories under the aspect of a conscious mindset. It collaborates with leading brands and specialists who share the idea of generating a positive impact in the world. Based in Zurich and London, it covers local hotspots and global trends around sustainability, innovation, well-being, health, beauty, travel, time, art, business and charity.
Nel-Olivia Waga is the Founder & Publisher of HER/etiquette. She is a Marketing Specialist, an Author and Entrepreneur, most passionate about well-being, travel and art. Her work can regularly be seen in her column on FORBES. Her consulting studio HER CIRCLE, creates and co-ordinates holistic marketing projects for doctors and health clinics, banks, luxury brands and hotels around the world – based on strategies with passion, purpose and sustainable impact.
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