ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOLIDARITY POLICY OF L'AUBERGE L'AUTRE JARDIN
L’Auberge l'Autre Jardin is a social economy venture. It is in fact the very first social economy hotel in the traditional hotel trade. What makes us a social economy venture? We are owned by Carrefour Tiers-Monde, an organization for international solidarity that vies to raise awareness to issues in developing countries. L’Auberge l'Autre Jardin is one of the means of financial support for this organization and the furthering of its actions.
Since Carrefour Tiers-Monde is the owner with very special values, we have decided to apply the same values in our daily management routine, while also raising awareness of our customers on sustainable and responsible tourism. This resulted in the introduction of a mission, a vision, a contribution and a management philosophy at the end of 2001. Then, in 2007, we have developed our environmental and solidarity policy.
Our efforts since 2001
Our actions in matters of environmental, fair trade and buy local policies have led us to concrete efforts and results in various contexts.
Here are some examples:
- In 2002 and 2003, we have eliminated the sugar packets, the small cups of milk and the individually packaged jams. Of course, we use fair trade products as much as possible, like coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate and cacao.
- In 2003, we have stopped buying bread at the industrial bakery Multi-Marques and opted instead for small businesses in Québec, including at least one home made. We now serve fresh bread, croissants and muffins. We also buy homemade jam directly from the neighborhood cannery.
- In 2004, Styrofoam cups for the die-hard fans of “take out” have been replaced by waxed cardboard cups.
- In 2005, we replaced Kellogg’s cereals by ecopacks, when available, of the Nature's Path brand, and we only but natural peanut butter.
- In 2006, we opted for the purchase of coffee bean bags in 5-pound formats instead of small packets of 10 cups, allowing us to offer freshly grounded coffee as well as decreasing the amount of packaging.
- Since our grand opening, each room contains a recycling bin. We have added two big containers and three smaller ones to ease the work of the cleaning personnel. We recycle glass, plastics and paper.
- In 2004, we have eliminated 80 % of soap bars and 100 % of individual shampoo bottles to pour passer liquid soap and shampoo in larger containers.
- Since 2005, we use only hygienic paper and facial tissues from the environmentally friendly product line by Cascades.
- Since 2006 we use two ecologically certified products for room maintenance.
- We raise the awareness of our customer base to the environment thanks to the information we leave in the room, concerning how we wash our towels and the soap we use. Furthermore, the employee handbook includes a text on towels and energy consumption.
- In 2008, the notepads and pens at our clients’ disposal are made from recycled fibers.
- In 2008, all the rooms on the street side have additional thermos for better soundproofing and isolation. When the front windows were renovated, the larger front ones were strangely less thick than the back windows.
- In 2009, all our bath, hand and face towels have been replaced by certified fair trade and ecological cotton towels.
General reuse and waste reduction
- We have asked some of our suppliers (jam, bread, fresh fruit salad) if they wished to reuse their glass and/or plastic containers.
- As for us, we reuse the cardboard boxes of our suppliers for our own archives and print as much as possible our internal documents in double-sided mode.
- Since January 2007, we have tried to hold our board meetings with a video projector to reduce our paper consumption.
- Changes to our reservation software in December 2007 have resulted in a better management of accommodation space but also in less paper waste since we have no need for handwritten planning.
- Since 2010, we participate to composting of food waste, a project pilots from the city of Québec, to reduce the quantity of waste eliminated in the incinerator of the city. With a healthy environmental management, we stimulate the social responsibility of our employees and our customers.
- We have lowered the water level in all our toilet tanks and favored the use of containers instead of letting the water run when washing the bathrooms of our facilities. This new strategy had an impact on the water bill which, in 2005, amounted to $50 -- compared to $1,300 in 2004. We also rationalized our water use. During the high season (summer), our consumption decreased from 54 m3 (2004) to 12 m3 per day (in 2005). Since 2006, however, that gain is not understood in the same way since the City of Québec no longer bills according to quotas but rather according to consumption levels.
- With the raised awareness of our personnel, we have managed to reduce our electricity bill from 2004 to 2005, which earned us this small kudos from the agency for energy efficiency: “L’Auberge l’Autre Jardin, a hotel of 27 rooms located in Québec, has reduced its energy costs by $2,000, or 6%, between 2004 and 2005, despite an increase in its activities and the cost of energy! Main measure: avoid energy waste. Main cost: the minutes to handle that problem.”
- Additionally, since 2005, we have changed our standard light bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs (hallway ceilings, suite bathrooms) and lowered the strength of the half-mirror light bulbs of the hallway daisy lamps (from 60 to 25 w).
- At the end of 2007, we changed our heating/air conditioning system, switching for a product with better performance records, especially since it has no contact with the outside of the building like the old one). This product may not have Energy Star certification, but on the U.S. ENERGYGUIDE, it has a good rating (for the heating version, on an efficiency scale of 7.1 to 10.2, ours has a rating of 10.0; for the air conditioning version, on an efficiency scale of 10.9 to 21.10, our system has a rating of 20.00).
The various actions undertaken have allowed us to earn certifications. On the one hand, we have received three keys for the Green Key certification from the HAC (Hotel Association of Canada), since 2007. This program is a graduated rating system designed for recognizing hotels, motels and resorts committed to improve their fiscal and environmental performance. We also are certified Réservert since 2008. Réservert is the Sustainable development recognition program for the Quebec hotel trade initiated by l’Association des hôteliers du Québec (the Hotel Association of Quebec). The participating hotels contribute to an upgradable process towards a balance in environmental, social and economic issues.
We are thus constantly pushing self-progress through new solutions according to our means.