TRAVEL

Interview with Nina Carlslund

General Manager of Scandic Aarhus City

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Nina Carlslund has been the General Manager of Scandic Aarhus City since its opening in 2012. With 228 rooms, nine conference rooms, two restaurants and 50 permanent employees, Scandic Aarhus City has been built from the ground up with sustainability and social responsibility at its core. Nina also serves as the Sustainability Coordinator for Scandic Hotel's Sustainability Group, which implements and communicates both environmental and CSR initiatives across the hotels.

 

 

What are the main challenges for hotels when it comes to striking a balance between profitability and sustainability?

 

The main challenges are surprisingly not in operations but more in marketing and sales and in the meeting with our customers. We are still waiting for the change in demand, and we wish that there could be a ranking of environmentally friendly hotels, making sustainability more visible and thereby increasing demand. To change habits is hard, so we would like to be part of the solution to make the sustainable choice of accommodation easier.

 

Can you please tell us a little more about the green credentials of the Scandic Aarhus City?

 

Scandic Aarhus City is an eco-labelled hotel. The Nordic Swan Ecolabel is a voluntary eco-labelling scheme that evaluates a product's impact on the environment throughout the whole life cycle. The label guarantees, among other things, that climate requirements are taken into account and that CO2 emissions (and other harmful gasses) are limited - where it is most relevant. Unlike other eco-labels, the Swan label concerns the entire hotel service, including sorting of waste, chemical discharge and energy consumption.

 

Sunshine turns on the TV: On the roof of the hotel, we have installed 240 solar cell panels that supply 85-90 percent of the energy consumed by the hotel rooms each year. The remaining energy requirement is generated by water and wind energy from Norway. In addition, we have reduced our power consumption significantly by installing energy saving lighting and removing 220 minibars from the hotel rooms. Thanks to some of these solutions, Scandic Aarhus City has reduced its CO2 emission to only 2 kilos per guest stay over. Hotels without an eco-label generally emit over four times as much CO2 – 8.4 kilos.

 

Our own bees on the roof: Next to the solar cell panels on the roof, we keep our four beehives. Together, the 280,000 bees provide nectar for 200 kilos of honey, which is made by our head chef. The honey can be enjoyed as part of the morning buffet and by our Scandic Friends.

These are just a few of the many green initiatives here at Scandic Aarhus City. If you wish to know more about our sustainability work, please ask at reception. Our sustainability ambassador will give you a guided tour around the hotel.

 

Inclusion and diversity: Today, Scandic employs people from no less than 120 countries. At this hotel, our 100 employees are of 23 different nationalities. All employees are treated with consideration and respect, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. Scandic regards diversity as a unique competitive advantage for its brand.

 

Accessibility is an integrated part of our business. We have a checklist with 139 different action points to be considered in our everyday operation so that every guest, including our guests with disabilities, experience the same level of comfort.

 

In 2015, Scandic also signed the UN Global Compact’s ten principles for sustainability. Scandic is therefore required to make continual progress in several areas and our sustainability efforts are supported by and evaluated against a number of long-term goals in four areas.

 

What role do the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) play in Scandic's approach to sustainability?

 

Scandic has an established Code of Conduct that applies to all employees.

 

The code is based on UN Global Compact principles that address anti-corruption, work environment, the environment and human rights. Scandic is a signatory of Agenda 2030 and the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. While Scandic works towards most of the goals, the company has a specific focus on the following four:

 

Goal 5: We analyse and take action to achieve gender balance in recruiting through internal programs as well as internal and external recruiting.

 

Goal 8: We offer equal conditions and follow up in our work environment. Scandic has a Global Compact for suppliers. We offer work experience programs for people outside the labour market.

 

Goal 10: Scandic offers equal conditions regardless of gender, disability, ethnic background, etc. through value and leadership development. We also offer work experience for people outside the labour market and have a focus on Fairtrade products.

 

Goal 12: Third-party environmental certifications of all hotels and Individual products. This means less use of energy, water and chemicals, and less waste. We have environmental requirements for all suppliers.

 

You also double up as Sustainability Coordinator for Scandic Hotels. Which main trends do you observe regarding the hospitality industry and sustainability right now, and how is Scandic keeping abreast of the trends and needs of the sector?

 

Key trends in sustainability affecting the hospitality industry in the Nordics today:

 

  • Increasing expectations on business to integrate sustainability, with a view to 2030

  • Concern over climate and plastics are driving a shift to circularity and more sustainable consumption

  • More and more actors see the shared value case for diversity and inclusion

  • A holistic view of health and wellness is driving a shift from fitness to happiness, and integrates environmental and health concerns in dietary choices

  • Sustainability is increasingly important as a business driver, and key for employer branding

 

We try to keep ahead by moving from philanthropy to engaging with issues closer to home and by driving a shift towards more sustainable consumption, e.g. banning plastic straws etc. Furthermore, integration becomes or already is key to recruitment and employer branding. We also try to keep a holistic focus on well-being by moving the focus from gyms to a curated sleep experience, as sleep is increasingly recognised as an important factor for well-being.

 

 

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