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Cork’s Imperial Hotel Achieves Gold Label Sustainability Award

Cork’s most historic hotel, The Imperial, has achieved a significant sustainability accolade with Fifty Shades Greener, the leading environmental education provider in Ireland. 

The 206-year-old hotel, which is part of the Flynn Hotel Collection, has become the first and only hospitality venue in Cork to be awarded with a prestigious Gold Label.

Cork’s Grand Dame, as it’s fondly referred to, has invested close to €400,000 in a sustainability programme over the last four years, with ambitious future plans. Fifty Shades Greener commended The Imperial for reducing its total C02kg/person/day by 21% in 2022 in comparison to 2019, for expanding and improving their green procurement with 67% of their food sourced locally, and for reducing meat and waste on their menus. They also acknowledged that the Imperial has planted 200 trees year to date with Plant-It and Trees on the Land, and they are prioritising the incorporation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals into their daily operations.

A very happy Bastien Peyraud, General Manager at The Imperial, said, “we are shouting from the rooftops because we are so incredibly proud. Our Imperial family works smart every day to ensure we become the most sustainable hotel.  We are always looking for ways to reduce our footprint, care for and protect the environment, and give back to the communities we are part of. We are also engaging with the SEAI and hope to execute several larger projects over the next year. We are not only tasked with significantly reducing our carbon footprint, but we are also responsible for taking care of an historic building which has been a part of Cork City for over 200 years”

Having taken over as general manager at The Imperial in 2019, the Lyon native and his dedicated ‘Green Team’ have implemented significant sustainability measures and initiatives with the aim of making the hotel carbon neutral hotel by 2025.  They also regularly calculate their Green Key Performance Indicators allowing accurate reporting.

The following is a synopsis of their achievements in reducing energy, waste and water, using the Fifty Shades Greener Data Portal tool.

  1. ENERGY: On track to reduce energy consumption by 10% in 2022 over 2019.  Total CO2Kg will have reduced by 5%.  The hotel changed from gas to electricity and are now switching to a 100% renewable electricity provider, staff are educated regularly on reducing energy usage, they are encouraging the Taxsaver public transport scheme, and the hotel changed to energy efficient equipment including dishwasher, washing machines and dryers.  99%of lighting was also upgraded to LEDs
  2. WASTE: Landfill Waste Consumption has already reduced by 48% year to date in 2022 over 2019. The hotel expects to achieve an overall reduction of 50% by year end.  Total CO2Kg has reduced by 44% in 2022 over 2019, with a year-end reduction of 47% expected.  The hotel has eliminated unnecessary plastic packaging, they have removed single use plastics from all rooms and have moved to reusable plastics across the hotel
  3. WATER: Water Consumption has reduced by 27% in 2022 over 2019, and the Imperial expects to achieve an overall reduction in water consumption for the year 2022 over 2019 of 22%.  Total CO2Kg reduction of 18% expected.  The hotel is currently installing pressure compensating water systems and aerators into all areas, they are replacing glass bottled water in bedrooms with sustainable Tetra Pak water.  They also have Echo 3 water filtration systems for refilling bottles, cleaning products are all sourced from green providers, and they are investigating the opportunity to start rainwater harvesting, which could be used to supplement water into storage tanks for showers or used for cleaning.

Other key achievements include:

  • From The Imperial’s top 20 Food Suppliers 67% of food is locally sourced, 20% is regionally sourced, 13% is nationally sourced.
  • Sketch Birdcage Menus are inspired by The English Market with all locally sourced foods used and the hotel has increased the vegan and vegetarian options on their menus to reduce meat intake.  They also source as much from local farmers and producers who support sustainable agriculture.
  • Through Green Marketing, The Imperial has taken part in events like the Cork Long Table Dinner and they created a Sustainable Christmas Market with local artists and makers to help promote what products are available on our doorstep.
  • They are working with Plant-It Foods to serve meals using their vegan plant-based meats. A portion of each dish sold using Plant Its meat goes to tree planting initiatives in Ireland.  The hotel has planted 200 native Irish Trees in Gortnacrusha Biodiversity Farm in Ballinspittle, Co. Cork already this year.
  • The Imperial is committed to community action and charity work, raising €10,000 in 2021 for Cork Simon Community and Irish Guide Dogs for the blind.  This year’s charity partners are Cork Penny Dinners and Cork Rebel Wheelers.  Their menus include a donation with some dishes.
  • The Imperial has a wellbeing committee to support their social mission of promoting healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.  Initiatives include the Wellbeing Support Programme to help the team overcome life’s physical, mental, financial, and personal challenges, promotion of the Bike to Work Scheme, monthly challenges to stay fit together, and wellbeing events including a recent talk with lifestyle motivational guru Ray Goggin.
  • Training and development is at the core of the hotel’s ethos, including upskilling and environmental training for their team with Fifty Shades Greener.
  • The hotel’s is committed to gender equality and currently has a 52/48 mix of women to men in managerial roles, which they aim to grow to 50/50.  They work with LGBTI+ committee in Cork and champion workers rights.
  • The dedicated Imperial Green Team has introduced numerous sustainability initiatives over the past year including a #BecauseWeCareProgramme and a parklet outside the front door.

It’s a year of wins for The Imperial as they won ‘Best Cork Hotel’ at the CBA Cork Business of the Year Awards, and they were selected as Ireland’s best city hotel at the 32nd annual Hotel & Catering Review Awards in March.  The Hotel & Catering inspector, who was only made known to the team on check out, said she was extremely impressed by the kindness and genuine hospitality of the team, stating that the level of service was unique.   The hotel is also working towards a gold label from Green Hospitality.

Fifty Shades Green is focused on building a NetZero society and shines a light on businesses from all industry that have an active commitment to reducing their impact on the environment. 

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