Sustainability

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Schloss Elmau

Creating a Sustainable Future

Schloss Elmau is located in a nature reserve and protecting the untouched nature in our sanctuary and building a partnership with nature is one of our top priorities. We strive to embrace an ethos that is mindful of the healthy survival of our planet. 

In order to be able to consider sustainability in its entirety, the triple bottom line approach was developed as early as 1994. This approach describes that a sustainable balance between the three factors ecology, economy and social needs to be achieved in order to implement sustainability in the long term. Our approach is based on this methodology and is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Our vision: Schloss Elmau aims to be recognized as the pioneering 5-star superior hotel which not only provides state of the art service, but also works in harmony with nature and community. 

Join us on our journey:

 

Animation Nachhaltigkeit Schloss Elmau

Our team is contributing to almost all 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations
with the aim of promoting sustainable development across borders.

 

OUR ACTIONS

Plastic Elimination

We are in the process of eliminating (single-used) plastic from our operations. In our guest rooms, all hygiene amenities have been replaced with plastic-free, non-toxic, fair and organic products. Our skincare line, consisting of shampoo/conditioner and shower gel/body lotion, is 100 % organic, vegan, free of synthetic ingredients, not tested on animals, and additionally made in Germany. They are available to you in high quality porcelain pump dispensers. Our edible treats are freshly filled in-house into beautiful cardboard boxes and the in-room tea selection from Ronnefeldt is as of January 2023 no longer packaged in plastic. Instead, all packaging, from tea bags to foil, is made from biodegradable raw materials such as: Cassava, sugar cane, corn, paper & unbleached cotton. For on-the-go, we offer glass bottles or in-house sports drinking bottles made of biodegradable polymer. Behind the scenes, we are also replacing some of the disposable products in the kitchen, such as vacuum bags, with a biodegradable alternative.

Clean Energy

We use and generate green energy produced using wood chips, organic waste, water, wind or the sun. Since 2007, we have generated 80% the heating for our entire hotel complex using wood chips made from local wood waste. In the near future, we will have commissioned a second, state-of-the-art combined heat and power plant (CHP) that will enable us to get to 100%. As a backup in the event of a failure of both CHPs plants and to cover any peak loads, we operate a combined heat and power plant with district gas that simultaneously generates electrical energy. Since May 2022, we have met 100 % of our power requirements with state-certified green electricity from EON and our own hydro-power plant on the premises, whose efficiency we are currently seeking to enhance by upgrading it to a more modern version. We are also planning to install solar panels on some of our roofs. To minimize electricity consumption, LED lighting is predominantly used throughout the hotel, and adjusted according to the time of day. A modern energy management system reduces peak loads. As a result, Schloss Elmau is fully powered by green energy, decreasing the demand for fossil fuels in the German market.

E-Mobility

Fewer emissions, more responsibility: We take action within our own big fleet. Electric vehicles make up 80% of our hotel’s own fleet. The remaining 20 % (traditional combustion engines) will be eliminated soon. In addition, we offer to our guests and employees charging options at roughly 60 newly installed power stations. To give our guests an opportunity to experience e-mobility and explore the beauty of the Bavarian Alps, we offer complimentary test drives in cars from our electric vehicle fleet.

Waste/Recycling

We utilize our existing waste through recycling and reuse. We recycle 100 % of our paper and glass waste. Our organic waste is fed into a regional biogas plant, which generates sustainable electricity, and the remainder is a wonderful soil- and groundwater-friendly fertilizer for our local farmers. We make enormous efforts to seek suitable solutions for plastic recycling. We are reducing our plastic waste significantly with the measures described in the section "Plastic elimination", which we are constantly expanding.

Partnerships and Sourcing

Because partnerships are key to achieving climate, we place great emphasis on sustainability and the suppliers we choose to work with in our procurement. For example, we partner with the VAUDE brand for some of our staff uniforms and equipment; the brand is a strong advocate of circularity and a circular economy. For our bathroom amenities, we work with the award-winning URB'N NATURE label and their "Zero Waste" product line. We also source some of our food from organic farms and from sustainable producers in our region. We are always keen to source our food as regionally as possible, to support small farms and to offer our guests top quality.

Nature Sanctuary

We protect the nature that protects us. Schloss Elmau is located in the middle of a landscape conservation area where rare wild flowers carpet unique hummock meadows formed 60 million years ago. These pastures are not fertilized and are either mown only once a year, or grazed by goats and sheep with the support of the EU environmental protection program.
For every tree we cut down in our forests, we plant at least one new one. Furthermore, during the winter months – instead of road salt, we spread natural granules that harm neither plants nor animals. Protecting the pristine nature and the climate is just as important to us as the well-being of our guests and employees. This mindset enables us to operate Schloss Elmau sustainably, and to finance investments in measures to achieve climate neutrality. Furthermore, members of our team gather once a year, after the snow has melted, to clean the surrounding area from waste discarded into nature.

Social Engagement

People. Team. Community. These three words are fundamental to life at Schloss Elmau.
At Schloss Elmau, we encourage our employees to volunteer for several associations that are important to the community. For example, some of us volunteer as local firefighters in Krün, or on the mountain rescue team in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Employees are permitted to leave their workplace immediately if there is an emergency alert.
Moreover, we pay our employees a salary far above the average in the hospitality industry, with no gender pay differences, and offer all employees a yearly budget for career development. For our apprentices we have established the “Elmau Academy,” where our young professionals not only receive traditional vocational training, but are also exposed to relevant theoretical and practical knowledge through visits to related industries and lectures by industry professionals. Beyond this, we cooperate closely with the IU and IST universities to ensure excellence in their professional development.
A new residential complex for our staff is under construction in Mittenwald that will offer our employees housing at rents significantly below market prices.

Clean Water

We take comprehensive measures to actively protect the natural environment that surrounds us. Our own mountain spring supplies guests and the entire team and operation of Schloss Elmau with fresh, mineral-rich water from the immediate surroundings. We use only biodegradable and non-toxic cleaning agents. A large proportion of these are vegan and certified by various processes, such as Cradle-to-Cradle, EU Ecolabel, NordicSwan, etc. Also, the packaging for many of them consists of PCR (Post Consumer Recycled) materials, meaning that the packaging was produced from disposed plastic waste, thus cutting down on CO2 emissions and the production of new plastic.

Temperature & Ventilation

We regulate temperature in a climate-friendly manner using state-of-the-art technology. The temperature in our guest rooms and public spaces is controlled inductively and silently using state-of-the-art technology, without climate-damaging air conditioners or fan coil systems. Our ventilation system uses a cross-ventilation method and high-end, built-in filters to supply our common areas with fresh air. To protect the environment, we use the exhaust air for heat recovery. As already mentioned in the section on "Clean Energy," we use wood chips to generate heat.

 

Health & Wellbeing

Our spa offers traditional massages and cosmetic treatments, but also a more specific offer for the body and mind. Besides Yoga, Pilates & Qi Gong we offer TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) treatments, lymphatic drainage massage, personal training, and nutritional consultations. Our cosmetic team works with high-quality products from local and international companies. Our facial care range includes the South Tyrolean company Team Dr.Joseph, our signature dermatology line, which we produce in collaboration with the German company KOKO, and the Swiss luxury brand NIANCE. For body care, we use the products of Alpienne, a smaller company from the neighboring Tyrol region. In decorative cosmetics, we carry undGretel, a German company that offers animal-free organic cosmetics. All our products are personally tested by us for their ingredients, and we attach great importance to sustainable packaging as well as their transport. Of course, our products are all free of animal testing and contain no parabens, silicones, or hormones.