Our pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions ten years early

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Whitbread is making a pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. We’re the first UK hotel chain to publicly commit to such an ambitious target, but as the UK’s largest hospitality company, we’re proud to lead the charge.

We’re confident in accelerating this journey as part of our Force for Good sustainability programme and to help our guests rest easy knowing they’re choosing an environmentally-responsible business. Net zero is the term used to describe when the amount of greenhouse gas produced by a company is no more than the amount removed from the atmosphere, making a business ‘carbon neutral’.

In practice, this means we’ll be putting a strategic plan in place to reduce our scope 1 and 2 emissions* to zero. A small remainder may need to be offset through nature - for example by planting trees or utilising technology such as carbon capture and storage – but that’s not our main intention.

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Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
“We are leading the world through bold commitments to end our contribution to climate change and I’m delighted to see Whitbread showing their support for those ambitions by pledging to accelerate their own plans to go green.

“All businesses have a responsibility to drive forward environmental commitments and only by working hand-in-hand with industry can we make sure we continue building back greener towards a cleaner future.” No other UK hotel chain has publicly committed to net zero, and while it’s no easy task, we’re up to the challenge. To meet our ambitious new target and further solidify us as a leading sustainable hotel business, we plan to accelerate several environmental elements, including:


  • Reducing gas use across our estate by investing in more efficient gas appliances or electric equivalents
  • Maintaining our commitment to 100% renewable energy in the UK, as well as in our German operations as much as possible
  • Reducing emissions from our company car fleets and distribution vehicles by moving to more electric and eco-friendly vehicles
  • Installing solar panels to support the use of renewable energy across Whitbread’s estate

Alison Brittain CEO said: 
Driving sustainability is at the heart of Whitbread’s strategy.  Guests who stay with us can rest easy knowing they’re choosing a business which takes care of its people, the communities we operate in, and the world around us as well as one that is constantly striving to become even more environmentally-focused.

We’re scrutinising all aspects of our operation from business fleet to boilers to achieve our goal and achieving a net zero position a decade earlier than originally planned is the right thing to do for our business, our guests and the environment”.

This pledge is only the latest in a long line of efforts to cut our carbon by improving our ways of working. Some ways we’ve gone about making Whitbread even more sustainable is by switching 100,000 light bulbs to energy efficient models, installing energy efficient appliances and smart heating controls to minimise energy use across our Premier Inn hotels, and installing solar panels on 20% of our UK hotels.

We’ve also recently struck a deal with energy giant ENGIE, to deliver the hospitality sector’s biggest roll-out of high-powered electric charging points, committing to 600 over the next three years. Our Force For Good sustainability programme is at the heart of everything we do, and we’re committed to operating in a way that not only respects people and the planet, but also makes a meaningful contribution to communities and creates employment opportunities with no barriers to entry.

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*This covers emissions from energy use within buildings owned and/or operated by Whitbread under all Premier Inn hotels and restaurants both in the UK and in Germany as well as company cars and Whitbread’s UK-owned logistics fleet.