February 15, 2022

Meet your Love Recycling Heroes: Christina Greveldinger

Christina Greveldinger, owner of Hotel de la Porte Dorée, located next to the Bois de Vincennes in Paris, is one of our 2021 Love Recycling Heroes, recognised for her impact and leadership in the world of sustainability.

As Christina’s business grew, the impetus for sustainability grew. In its early beginnings, Hotel de la Porte Dorée started out with small changes such as timers on the lights in common areas and installing water reducing filters. Now, the hotel’s sustainability initiatives have grown enormously – one of its 2022 aims is to reach a 100% no plastic goal - and permeate the entire business. Not only has Christina found that its environmental pledges allow the hotel to separate from its competitors, importantly, the hotel now connects with its guests on a whole different level.

In this interview, Christina explains why sustainability matters to her and how the hotel encourages its team and guests to adopt sustainable practices, and shares her future goals and challenges as a leader for sustainability.

Why does sustainability matter to you?

Christina: Owning Hotel de la Porte Dorée and seeing the impact we have on our environment has made sustainability a necessity for us to implement in our hotel. When we choose to participate actively in the preservation of our planet it is not only self-satisfactory, but it also gives my team and I a common goal that we can all work towards together. It brings a positive atmosphere to our business, to our image, and it drives the motivation of our employees to work for a company that cares. I am also a mother of three children and their future depends on the actions we each take today.

What encouraged you to adopt sustainability in the workplace?

Christina: When we purchased Hotel de la Porte Dorée 20 years ago it was definitely more of a financial motivation. We were a young couple starting our first business and we had little resources. We established habits with our team like using both sides of the paper we print on, using timers on the lights in the common areas, and installing water-reducing filters. As our business grew, we were able to invest more, and we started offering only organic products for breakfast and really informing ourselves on the origins of the products we were buying. Now that we have a larger team who all actively participate, I have more time for details, for sorting our recyclables and personally delivering them to different associations or schools that can reuse them. The satisfaction of finding a new use for something that would have just found itself in the recycling bin or garbage is pure pleasure and an easy motivator.

How do you try to encourage others to adopt sustainable practices?

Christina: Encouraging others to adopt more sustainable practices is essential. In our hotel we not only have our team, but we host over 80 people a day. The impact we can have is enormous but can also be challenging depending on the age of our guests or where our guests are visiting from. In each room we share the different ways our guests can help with little reminders in the rooms. During our guests’ stays we let them know we are there to answer questions if they are interested in our projects and, finally, we ask them a few questions about what they thought about our sustainable actions in our satisfaction forms. We feel that subtle reminders multiple times will be more efficient for those new to the ideas. 

Outside of our clientele we also propose presentations in hotel business schools to share the sustainable projects we have put in place in our hotel. In doing so we have access to the future leaders of our industry and in turn have possibly a better impact on the future. 

What sustainability goals do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

Christina: Our number one goal for 2022 is reducing the use of plastic in our hotel to reach the 100% no plastic goal. This might possibly be one of the hardest goals we have set for our hotel as it needs to happen on all levels. Internally we have already taken major steps, for example we produce our own Ozone Water that we use to replace our cleaning products, we have installed a filtered water fountain to replace plastic bottled water for our guests and we are currently preparing to change from plastic milk bottles to an old-fashioned ‘milkman’ system where we will be delivered our milk in glass consignment bottles. These steps only mark the start of a long journey. When undertaking such a big project the best way to move forward is to target the products that will have the largest impact if you replace them and work your way up from there.

What do you foresee as future challenges?

Christina: The foreseeable challenges for a business are most often the cost and budget of implementing new projects and ideas. To be a leader in sustainability often means that you do not have access to a large market, so the prices are often higher. One example I can share is when we first started purchasing organic and fair-trade products for our breakfast in early 2000, there were only a few distributers of organic products, and they were hard to find and expensive. Now we have many options and the prices have dropped drastically. Implementing a milkman system in our hotel, as it is uncommon, will cost us exactly twice the price of our current organic milk brand. This is where communication comes in as an important factor. Implementing these types of projects can cost more but you can balance the costs by using these innovative steps to separate yourselves from your competition and sell your product better.

What is your advice to others who want to commit to sustainability?

Christina: My advice is do it! We have not regretted our engagement once. Implementing an environmental pledge in our hotel has given our team a way to connect with our guests on a whole different level. It has given us a common goal where we are all equal in our learning and everyone can participate with new ideas and suggestions. 

Our award-winning Love Recycling program is continuing to offer insight and advice to organisations and facilities looking to meet their sustainability goals. Find out more about it here.

Love Recycling Heroes will be back later this year. Keep an eye on our social channels and the Love Recycling website to see when nominations open so you can celebrate the recycling champions in your organisation.

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