Whitbread signs up to Race to Zero

Premier Inn owner Whitbreadhas today announced it has signed up to Race to Zero with ambitious new green targets, as part of its industry-leading Force for Good sustainability programme, a move welcomed by Andrew Griffith, UK Net Zero Business COP Champion.

The UK’s biggest hospitality company is joining the largest ever global alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest, backed with science-based targets.

The move enhances Whitbread’s carbon credentials and reinforces its position as sector leaders for sustainability, having already had carbon reduction targets in place and a robust plan to deliver against them.

Whitbread, which is the UK’s biggest hospitality company, earlier this year pledged to reach net zero scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2040 – the first UK hotel chain to publicly commit to doing so.

As part of its commitment to Race to Zero Whitbread is aligning its targets to the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global to 1.5°C, in order to help effectively combat climate change.

It is also setting targets to reduce scope 3 emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, rising up to 57 per cent by 2040.

For Whitbread, Scope 3 emissions come largely from its value chain with purchased goods and services making up the majority, including anything from the sources of electricity its suppliers use to the way they heat their buildings.

The new scope 3 commitment will see Whitbread working in close partnership with hundreds of suppliers from global organisations to sole traders, communicating, educating and collaborating with them to help achieve its goal.

Alison Brittain CEO (pictured) said, “The world’s eyes are on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and we couldn’t be more delighted to announce our support for the UN’s Race to Zero campaign ahead of the historic occasion.

'Driving sustainability has been at the heart of Whitbread’s strategy for many years now and guests who stay with us can rest easy knowing they’re choosing a business which takes care of its people, the communities we operate in, and the world around us as well as one that is constantly striving to become even more environmentally-focused.

'Businesses need to play a role in protecting the planet and we are particularly pleased that our commitment to Race to Zero aligns our targets with the most ambitious under the Paris Agreement”.

Andrew Griffith, UK Net Zero Business COP Champion, said, “The hospitality sector has a vital role to play in finding meaningful ways to take positive environmental action, so it is fantastic to see Whitbread setting clear targets for reducing their carbon emissions.

'With the UN COP26 summit in Glasgow just days away, I hope this type of commitment is a sign of things to come and encourages other flagship businesses to show the same level of ambition.”

Whitbread’s commitment to Race to Zero builds on a long-line of environmental ‘firsts’ for the company, such as its drive to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastics.

The move also follows major inroads in Whitbread’s efforts to cut carbon including by switching 100,000 light bulbs to energy efficient models, a maintained commitment to purchase 100% renewable energy in the UK and now in German operations, the installation of energy-efficient appliances and smart heating controls in its Premier Inn hotels and the installation of solar panels.

Whitbread also recently struck a deal with energy giant EQUANS, to deliver the UK hospitality sector’s biggest roll-out of high-powered electric charging points.

Earlier this year Whitbread issued £550m of green bonds. Funding raised through the bonds will be used to help deliver initiatives and infrastructure that will support Whitbread’s ‘Force For Good’ sustainability strategy.

Whitbread’s Force For Good sustainability strategy lays down the company’s commitment to operating in a way that respects people and the planet, making a meaningful contribution to communities in which it serves and creating employment opportunities with no barriers to entry.

Premier Inn hotels in Glasgow are for the most part fully booked for the duration of COP, hosting visitors to the historic conference.