“It all started from disposable bath slippers. We used to get through about 200 pairs a day, which really anguished me. As a result, I started to look for ways to make our operations more environmentally sustainable,” says Hotel St. George’s Head of Wellbeing Linda Ekholm.
Ekholm found the Compensate Foundation by chance online and immediately got excited. The nonprofit enables individuals and companies to compensate their carbon emissions in full. As the operations of the foundation are closely monitored and entirely transparent, Compensate felt like an ideal partner.
Carbon Capture Through Forest Protection
Compensate invests in projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere. Chosen by climate experts, these focus on reforestation and forest protection, but the foundation also supports new carbon capture innovations.
Compensate’s Founder and Chair of the Board Antero Vartia says he started the foundation to get as many people as possible to take part in combating climate change.
“We all need to take responsibility. If we litter the park and the park gets full of rubbish, it’s not enough to just stop littering. Besides minimising our carbon dioxide emissions, we must create more carbon sinks to tidy up the mess we’ve made.” Vartia says. Instead of carbon neutrality, we must aim for carbon negativity.
The estimated carbon footprint of St. George Care is based on the use of electricity, water and heating. “At Care we overcompensate for our carbon footprint by paying Compensate for our estimated emissions multiplied many times over. Compensate forwards our payments in full to their carbon removal projects. This way we ensure that every visit to St. George Care is carbon negative, every day of the week,” Linda Ekholm explains.
So far the foundation has already protected more than three million square metres of rainforest, and its operations are expanding faster than ever.
Sustainable Choices at the Hotel
Vartia sees increasing climate awareness as a key part of Compensate’s work. He wants to prompt people to act as well as to demand action to combat climate change faster and more efficiently.
“A multitude of individual epiphanies put together will create huge political pressure,” he claims.
Linda Ekholm has already witnessed the rise in climate awareness at St. George Care and elsewhere in the hotel. Sustainable choices, like the new washable bath slippers at St. George Care, have been extremely well received by guests.
“The washable slippers may not be as pretty, but they make their wearer feel much better,” Ekholm says.
Sustainability is part of holistic well-being, which is central to everything at Hotel St. George. Instead of plastic bottles, St. George Care provides its guests fresh tap water in a glass. All waste at the hotel is sorted meticulously, bath and skincare products come in refillable packages, and restaurants focus on ecological, locally produced food.
“We want to help our guests live in a way that supports their mental balance. Enhanced mental wellbeing often results in a better sleep, too,” Ekholm concludes.
Three reasons to compensate carbon emissions:
If you spill a glass of milk, you need to either clean it up or pay for a cleaner. We must take responsibility for the mess we've made.
We gain time. Carbon capture isn’t an alternative to reducing emissions, and we’re still reducing emissions too slowly.
Compensating our emissions increases climate awareness and speeds up important political decisions.