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Building the Commitment of Hotels To Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability

The Portuguese Hospitality Association (AHP) (the country’s largest hotel body) with support from Turismo de Portugal. Hotel refurbishment and equipment replacement programmes in Portugal generate many thousands of materials every year that are of good quality but no longer needed and become waste. Meanwhile, across the country there are charitable and other institutions that could benefit from such items. The HOSPES programme is AHP’s Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability programme. Its purpose is to encourage its hotel members to implement socially responsible and environmentally sustainable practices as well as to reduce waste and promote the circular economy. During the economic crisis in late 2012, AHP set up a project to match used hotel mattresses in good condition and available for donation, with social action projects that needed them. Donations were soon expanded to include furniture, kitchen and electrical equipment and linen, and the programme has grown annually, for example: Goods donated in emergency situations include those left homeless by fires in Portugal in 2017, and in 2019 to Dombe Hospital in Mozambique following Cyclone Idai Network-wide collection of used oils, electrical equipment, end-of-life textiles and paper waste for recycling. AHP is paid for these items, which generates revenue to fund social action projects in Portugal and overseas Other sustainability activities, such as inclusive employment and a corporate vol unteering programme have been developed. AHP members participating in the HOSPES programmes are awarded “We Share” Social Responsibility and “We Care” Environmental Sustainability ‘stamps’ to recognise their activities under these strands of the scheme. Regarding the results of the programme, since it started the network has grown from the first 10 participating hotels who joined in 2013 to 130 in 2020 and by 2020, AHP had facilitated donations by hotels of 228,885 used goods to around 100 social welfare institutions. The programme has so far saved over 669 million litres of water and eliminated over 57 tons of waste in relation to donated/reused textile goods. In just one month during the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels donated more than 100,000 linen, bedding items and toiletry items to the Field Hospital at the Universi ty Stadium in Lisbon and other support centres working with vulnerable members of the community. Also 46 hotels received ‘We care’ and ‘We share’ stamps when they were first created in 2015. This has grown every year, with a total of 154 being awarded in 2019.