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What’s behind Guldsmeden Hotels’ industry leading sustainability stance?

Nestled in the heart of Berlin is Lulu Guldsmeden, a charming hotel that blends a warm atmosphere with spacious, eye-catching rooms and a focus on sustainability.
What’s behind Guldsmeden Hotels’ industry leading sustainability stance?

A recent trip to Berlin saw us enjoy a few nights at the hotel.

Located in Potsdamer, the hotel is a short walk from a train station and food options and with bikes available in reception, you are connected to nearly any (uber-cool) street in Berlin.

The rooms are unique, featuring sleek contemporary design that fuses Nordic influence and Balinese spirit.

Our ‘Loft for 3’ room would be the perfect small family room with a fun loft bed for kids make the most of high ceilings.

But what really caught our attention was a chat with the hotels general manager, Nick Zilinski who told us the property was the first in Germany to be certified with a Gold Status organic food label among other sustainability awards.

So we thought we needed to learn a little more about the brand!

The first Hotel Guldsmeden was opened in 1999 in Guldsmedgade, Denmark – hence the group name.

The word “Guldsmeden” has two meanings in Danish: – goldsmith and dragonfly – the latter of which has become the icon of choice for the Guldsmeden brand.
Today the Guldsmeden brand includes ten hotels in Copenhagen, Berlin, Oslo, Reykjavik as well as on the Côte d’Azur and Bali.

Sustainability plays a major role at Guldsmeden Hotels, all hotels have been ‘Green Globe’ certified, and although it’s always been important to the brand, it wasn’t always highlighted.

“Guldsmeden has been driven by a passion for sustainability since the beginning, due to the founders and owners, Sandra and Marc, for whom sustainable values are important,” Hotel LuLu Guldsmeden general manager Nick Zilinski said.

“But sustainability was not really part of our external communication for the first 10 years, which is strange to think about now – but sustainability was not considered a selling point back then, we simply did it because it made sense to us.

“That changed in 2009, when Copenhagen [hosted the] COP15 climate conference – suddenly everybody was going green, being CO2-neutral, organic, bio, you-name-it.

“We realized that we would have to tell our story as well, seeing as we were already far ahead of our competitors, with close to 100 per cent organic F&B, green energy, climate-friendly recycled stationary, bio-degradable cleaning products, sustainable bathroom amenities and much more.

“At the same time, we realized that as much as we were doing, we could probably do even better in many areas that we simply hadn´t thought of as yet, so we decided to get certified by the strictest, most encompassing certification that we could find – and that´s how we became Green Globe certified.”

It took nine months to gain the Green Globe certification. A time that Zilinski says helped the brand learn a lot about sustainability.

“We take great pride here at Guldsmeden in our passion for sustainability, because it is what drives us to not be afraid to learn new things and evolve our efforts continuously,” he continued.

Running a sustainable operation means that you´re never ‘done’, there will always be new possibilities, technologies and knowledge that you can implement to become more green, and we embrace that.

Guldsmeden key sustainability measures:

Food Sourcing

  • Denmark uses the Golden Ø-label for 90-100 per cent organic food, with an average of 98 per cent.

  • Non-organic options are chosen when sustainability is at risk e.g. unsustainable farmed fish.

  • Reduced suppliers to one major supplier to lower CO2 emissions by minimizing deliveries.

  • The menu includes meat but offers vegetarian or vegan versions of many items.

  • Breakfast buffet elements are reused in a la carte menus, reducing food waste to nearly zero.

  • For hotels outside Denmark, purchasing policies focus on maximum sustainability.

Food Waste

  • Food waste is measured and documented twice daily after breakfast and at the end of the day.

  • Plans to implement separate measurements for conferences to further reduce waste.

  • Minimal food waste is collected by DAKA Refood and converted into bio-fuel.

Water

  • Orbital Systems showers use NASA technology to recycle water, saving 60-90 per cent of water consumption.

  • Tested in 8 rooms at Axel and fully installed in 214 rooms at Bryggen Guldsmeden.

Housekeeping

  • Sustainability-focused routines replace standard housekeeping procedures.

  • Housekeepers assess each room individually to determine specific cleaning needs.

  • Green biodegradable bags are used for waste, and reusable items are repurposed.

  • All cleaning agents are biodegradable and certified.

Textiles

  • Bed linen and towels are GOTS-certified, fairtrade, and made of organic cotton, mixed with recycled polyester for durability.

By ZACH HAVARD

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