Bob W reveals the ‘naked numbers’ of its carbon footprint

Bob W is spearheading a ‘Show Us Your Numbers’ campaign calling for the hospitality industry to strip off and reveal the ‘naked numbers’ behind its carbon footprint…

Co-founder and CEO of Bob W Niko Karstikko

Bob W is taking the unusual and bold approach of sharing its Green House Gas (GHG) emissions per guest night, setting a precedent among its competitors for honesty and responsibility in environmental reporting. As part of its campaign, the aparthotel brand is now calling upon the rest of the industry to do the same.

Bob W reveals in its newly released sustainability report that it currently emits on average 29 kg (CO2-eq/guest night)1 of carbon emissions per guest night, outperforming the standard hotel’s 40 kg (CO2-eq/guest night)2. Bob’s latest figure is lower than the 41 kg that the company reported the previous year, when it was inflated by a substantial expansion that saw the company’s apartment count grow eight fold in a single year.

wooden desk and kitchen area next to bed with grean fabric headboard and wooden floors in bob W Oosterpark

Image credit: Bob W

“A lot of hospitality providers rely on vague reports and sustainability certificates but we believe it is time for a more meaningful approach,” said Niko Karstikko, Co-founder and CEO of Bob W. “There is an urgent need for us all to come together, innovate and share best practice so that we can all operate in a way that is kinder to the planet. Transparency and facts are a key part of that”.

By laying bare its numbers, Bob W hopes to encourage collaboration and share best practice within the industry to collectively improve the environmental impact of hospitality. While companies are often cautious when revealing their numbers, transparency and clear reporting is crucial if operators are to learn how to reduce emissions and travellers are to make informed choices.

hotel lobby with olive green walls, statement pink chair and a round pendant light in Bob W Helsinki

Image credit: Bob W

Bob W is a climate-neutral company meaning that it offsets emissions with South Pole action projects, a foundation that works to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but it knows that this isn’t enough.

For years, the company has been working on reducing its emissions further and now reaches solid sustainability scores for its properties in Europe. This includes the highest LEED score for design in Europe for the Bob W Koti Katajanokka in Helsinki and a BREEAM (the widely recognised sustainability measurement) excellent rating of 72.4 per cent for its property in London’s Tower Hill.

“We know we’re not the greenest accommodation provider but we are determined to be the most honest, and we’re working really hard to help our guests make informed decisions,” continued Karstikko. “That’s why, when they book, guests can see the emissions associated with each night of their stay. For example, one night in an ‘Epic Studio’ in Tartu, Estonia, equates to 28.7kg CO2, all totally offset by us”.

kitchen area next to round table and chair and wardrobe in apartment style hotel room in Bob W

Image credit: Bob W

However, partnering with commercial property owners whose environmental goals align and investing in buildings with a significantly reduced footprint, is just the beginning. Bob W is going even further.

Responsible partners who share the same sustainability ethos are favoured to supply Bob W’s apartments. Where possible coffee is provided by local roasters; furniture is designed in partnership with local creatives or sourced from second hand suppliers; eco-friendly toiletries are provided; and guests are encouraged to manage resources in a way that lessens the impact of their stay. Local communities are also supported by Bob W as the company’s ‘local marketplace’ recommends cafes and gyms within 500 meters from each apartment.

“This is not a stunt,” concluded Karstikko. “This is a race we all have to win, and we are totally open to hearing what other providers think the industry’s standardised sustainability metric should be. In fact, that would be the perfect start”.

Bob W is advocating for a radically honest approach to the way that the industry reports its numbers and is promoting a ‘per guest night’ calculation. This simple metric, similar to nutrition scores on food products, is less open to manipulation and is easy for consumers to understand. The per guest night calculation has already been incorporated into Bob W’s website to enable guests to make a more sustainable choice.

Main image credit: Bob W