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Environmental impact

We are committed to minimising our impact on the environment.

From everyday efficiencies to bold new innovations, we will always look for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle the resources we use and the waste we create. And we are working hard to reduce our energy use and carbon emissions across all our operations. This helps us to make sure we’re playing our part in taking care of the planet that we all depend on, as well as helping us to be more efficient.

Some of the ways we are reducing our environmental impact:

  • We have switched all our UK equity sites to 100% Renewable electricity supply.
  • We have over 120 Premier Inn sites with Solar Panels generating renewable electricity on site.
  • We are part of the Refill campaign which allows anyone to refill their water bottle for free in over 3000 of our sites.
  • We have installed a central energy and data analytics platform allowing us to identify opportunities for energy saving.
  • We invest in energy efficient equipment for our estate, including LED lights and heat recovery from bathrooms.
  • We have set a new Science Based Carbon Target to reduce our carbon emissions intensity by 50% by 2025. Read more about this below.
  • Our hotels are well insulated to ensure minimal wasted heat energy.
  • We have committed to replace plastic straws with a paper alternative in 2018.
  • We have committed to recycle the same volume of takeaway cups that our customers use every year – 500 million. Read more about our industry-leading cup recycling scheme here
  • 100% of our waste from Premier Inn, Restaurants and the Costa Roastery site is diverted from landfill*

*excludes landlord sites where we do not own the waste contract.

Did you know?

A running tap wastes over 6 litres per minute. If the entire adult population of England and Wales remembered to turn the tap off whilst brushing their teeth, we could save 180 mega litres a day - enough to supply nearly 500,000 homes.

Solar panels
Building Sustainably

We open a high volume of new hotels, restaurants and coffee shops every year, so we want to ensure they have a positive impact on the environment, economy, biodiversity and our quality of life.

We are committed to reducing our energy use and carbon emissions by ensuring high standards of energy efficiency in our new buildings. Everything we build is to a high sustainable standard and we continue to invest in refurbishing and retrofitting our estate with energy efficient equipment and building materials.  

We built the first BREEAM ‘Outstanding ‘hotel in the UK at our hub by premier Inn in St Martins Lane, central London.

  • We specify a minimum BREEAM rating of very good and above in all our new hotels.
  • All our new Hotels have 100% LED lighting and heat recovery from our bathrooms.Building management systems are installed in all our new hotels ensuring minimised power consumption.
  • 42 Hotels have combined heat and power (CHP) units installed.
  • We install Solar Panels on new sites where viable.
  • We have installed green, brown and blue roofs at some of our hotels through installation of plants, soil and water to support the local biodiversity by encouraging bees, birds and insects.

We understand the importance of Biodiversity and the local environment, so where there are sensitive biodiversity issues we make sure we address this. We do this by working with environmental groups to ensure a positive and meaningful impact, for example, we have installed Bat boxes at our Glastonbury Premier Inn and Swift nesting boxes at 16 sites.

Costa Roastery

On 13 March 2017, Costa opened its new state-of-the-art Roastery in Basildon. As well as quadrupling Costa’s roasting capacity and being one of the largest roasteries in Europe, it is also one of the world’s most sustainable. On-site renewable energy generation reduces the building’s carbon footprint, with the roof hosting a 249kW solar PV system, which provides power whilst the rainwater harvesting system generates hot water for the Roastery. We are proud that our Roastery is the first industrial process site to be built to BREEAM Outstanding.

Our Roastery was built with sustainability in mind:

  • Full energy Efficient LED lighting scheme
  • Electric car charging points
  • Zero waste to landfill
  • Onsite renewable energy
  • Rainwater harvesting
Driving Down Carbon Emissions

As part of our everyday efficiency strategy, we are committed to energy efficiency. We continue to invest in energy efficient equipment, buildings and operations to ensure we minimize our consumption.

Science Based Carbon Target

After meeting our 2020 carbon targets three years early, Whitbread have now committed to an industry leading sustainability commitment to cut our carbon emissions intensity by 50% by 2025 and as much as 88% by 2050. Our Science Based Target (SBT) is in line with the COP 21 Paris Climate Accord. 

These targets have been carefully developed with the Carbon Trust, to ensure they provide a stretching and relevant goal to guide our business moving forward. We are the largest hotel company in the world to set an SBT.  

We have already started making progress on our target; from August 2017 all electricity supplied to our UK owned estate has been from 100% renewable sources.  

Achieving our carbon target will drive a number of other enhancements including:

  • Moving towards zero gas use in all new-build Premier Inn hotels.
  • Moving towards green gas across Premier Inn hotels.
  • A maintained commitment to renewable energy in the UK and in international operations where possible.
  • Investing in efficient appliances to reduce gas consumption.
  • Reducing emissions from company car fleets and distribution vehicles by moving to more electric, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Continued investment in solar panels to support the use of renewable energy across our estate.

Carbon reduction and Energy Efficiency

As well using 100% renewable energy for our hotels, we now have solar panel installations on over 120 of our sites. And we continue to invest heavily in the efficiency of our estate, with a focus on improving our control of what we use and when. We now have over 120 building management systems that actively monitor and control consumption on each site, allowing us to avoid wasted energy and quickly pick up any excessive energy use.


Our Carbon Target will also drive us to continue our work on reducing the carbon impact beyond our buildings and look at how we can improve our deliveries through the supply chain and to our sites. By working closely with our distributor, we achieved a 17% reduction in carbon emissions per tonne delivered to Whitbread sites through improved vehicle efficiency. [i] 

As well as a continuing drive for efficiency, we are working to develop an industry leading low carbon supply chain:

  • Demonstrating zero emission capable trucks and refrigeration in urban environments.
  • Testing fully electric, range extended electric and liquid nitrogen cooled refrigeration vehicles.
  • Fleet trialing of latest biomethane fuelled trucks.

These industry leading trials are designed to encourage wider uptake of low carbon solutions in the national food delivery network, with the project outcomes to be shared amongst the logistics community.

[i] Measured in 2017 against a 2012 baseline.


We use water in all aspects of the day-to-day running of our hotels, restaurants and coffee shops. So, at Whitbread we are always looking at how we can safely reduce water consumption by changing how we think about it and how we use it.

Find and fix leaks

We monitor our water consumption through a combination of automatic and manual meter readings to proactively locate and fix leaks across the estate. 

Greywater Systems

We install Greywater systems in our new build Premier Inn hotels where viable. The system captures shower and bathwater that is then recycled to flush toilets, saving an estimated 30 litres of water per room per day. 

Efficient water assets

We install low flow taps, low flush toilets and low flow shower heads as standard in all our new hotel rooms and new build sites are fitted with Eco Dish washers, which use a small amount of water, which is continually recycled, saving an estimated 150,000 litres a year. (That’s as much nearly 2,000 baths full!) 


Whitbread were the first major hospitality firm to obtain a self-supply license since the opening of water retail competition in April 2017. Via a managing agent we provide our own retail services including billing, customer service and account management, improving efficiency and driving down costs. This enables us to build on the efficiency works already undertaken, whilst driving cost and consumption control in the next phase of our water management strategy. 

Monitoring and Measuring

We believe that accurate monitoring and measuring is vital, so within Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants we monitor actual half hourly energy usage of sites 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

We’ve found it very helpful to give our teams insight into their energy performance. This is why, right across our hotel and restaurant estate, each site receives its own energy performance score (normalised for weather and trade) to help them best manage and control the energy they use. Using advanced regression modelling techniques we measure and target electricity consumption to reduce by 1% against the previous year. In 17/18 we achieved a 2% LFL reduction against this target saving 7 million kWh equating to 2.5 million kg CO2e.

We also carefully monitor and measure the performance of energy saving projects we implement to ensure they meet the predicted reductions.

We use the Building Users Survey (BUS) and Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) in selected hotels to find out what our guests and visitors think of our new build hotels and restaurants, and share the findings with team members so that we can act quickly to address issues, which improve the guest experience and optimise the buildings energy performance.

In our Costa stores, we use AMR meters to have clear visibility of what energy we are using, to allow us to identify potential areas of waste as well as ensuring accurate billing. We have fitted individual circuit sub metering to a cross-section of our stores, which allows us to see how much power each piece of equipment affects energy usage throughout the day.

In our Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, we measure against electricity consumption and the target is to reduce our energy use by 1% against the previous year, which could save over 3 million kWh in electricity and tonnes of carbon.

In Premier Inn, Restaurants and Costa, the measure is to send 0% waste to landfill by 2017 across our UK equity estate. Premier Inn, Restaurants, our Roastery and the Costa Express head office at Loudwater have already achieved this target and our UK Costa equity stores are well on their way. This has resulted in over 26,000 tonnes of waste being diverted from landfill in 2017/18.

Waste and Circular Economy

We know the importance of reducing our waste. And we know that we can minimize our impact on the environment by reducing the amount of waste we generate in the first place and ensuring we then recycle any waste we generate.

Diversion from land fill, recycling and reduction of plastics are at the center of our strategy to minimize our use of resources. Reducing the use of single use plastics and packaging are two key areas of focus for Whitbread. One way we have started to tackle this is through our commitment to replace plastic straws across our brands in 2018.

As the nation’s favourite coffee shop, we’re determined to take a lead in reducing that number and we have made a bold pledge. We have committed to recycle the same volume of takeaway cups our customers use – an incredible half a billion takeaway cups a year by 2020 – by subsidising the cost of collecting and recycling them. To find out more please click here.

Water Refill Scheme

People can now refill their water bottles for free in over 2000 of our Whitbread sites. We hope this will reduce waste going into landfill and encourage people to re-use their water bottles.  

Bio Bean

Costa is partnered with Bio-Bean, a clean technology company that recycles waste coffee grounds into biofuels. This partnership enables thousands of tonnes of waste coffee grounds to be diverted to bio-bean facilities from over 800 of our stores nationwide. 

Premier Inn and restaurants

Within Premier Inn and restaurants, we recycle used cooking oil, waste electrical items, glass, paper, cardboard, cans, tetra packs and even 100% of our beds, pillows and duvets in our attempt to ensure nothing goes to waste. Food waste segregated from our restaurants is diverted from landfill and sent for either anaerobic digestion or composting. 

Managing what we produce and what we use that becomes waste is important to our customers, our teams and the environment, and we are committed to minimising waste and recycling wherever possible. What’s more, there is a commercial benefit as it means we can also reduce operational costs from annual rises in landfill tax and transportation.