Not every company has what’s dubbed a Corporate Director of Sustainability & Impact.
But that’s exactly what Corinne Hanson is over at SH Hotels, the hospitality company behind a range of trendy properties at the cutting edge of environmentalism. That includes the 1 Hotel portfolio, which boasts eye-popping locations everywhere from South Beach to West Hollywood. It’s a massive operation that makes up a range of bars and eateries all deeply committed to sustainability. That includes the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, which boasts both Harriett’s Rooftop, an Instagram-worthy spot slinging top-tier cocktails, as well as The Osprey, its delectable farm-to-table restaurant.
Chilled spoke with Hanson about how she got her start in the field, its importance, and reveals easy steps the brand has taken to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
How did you get into the field?
I got into the realm of environmentalism in a funny way. I studied human rights law and I went into politics. I’m very lucky that I found my way to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In this country, some of the communities most deeply affected by the environment are people of color, so I understood that intersection early in my career. Lately I’ve been advising mostly fortune 500 countries, trying to create systems that support sustainability.
What sets SH Hotels, specifically a location like the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge and the general 1 Hotel portfolio, apart when it comes to environmentalism?
One thing that is unique about us is our approach to materials. Our approach to plastics and waste. It’s always been a brand focus to remove plastic from the guest rooms. That includes the shampoo, toothpaste, and soap. The hospitality industry at large has been plagued by plastics for a long time. 1 Hotels is focused on how you do that, with a luxury perspective.
The 1 Hotel’s Guide to Sustainability Behind the Bar
- COMMUNICATING: Our cocktail program and number of zero waste cocktails including a clarified Milk Punch, which is shelf stable. On the menu we’ll also say something is ‘zero waste cocktail.’ We’re always trying to learn and do better, and for us it’s all about communicating strongly. We don’t want to make people feel like they’re in class, but it’s important to find those touchpoints.
- BATCHING: “We batch some cocktails, so you can cool them ahead of time and use less water, less ice, less energy,” says Hanson. “One of the biggest waste items in cocktails is ice. You’re churning through water. if you batch cocktails ahead of time, you can stick them in a cooler and not only let the flavors come together, but you’re also eliminating that water consumption.”
- REUSING: “We also have a coffee-based cocktail where we use the spent coffee grounds produced in neighbors or in the restaurant which happens to make a fantastic syrup,” Hanson explains. “So, you’re double-using it and giving it a second life. In addition, many of our syrups are produced from rinds or herbs that would get thrown out.”
- REFILLING: The 1 Hotel partnered with PATH water on a reusable bottle. “What makes this partnership extremely special is that this is a commitment by both organizations to join forces,” says Gulshan Kumar, the Vice President of Sales at PATH. “We’re fostering a more sustainable future by creating a custom 1 Hotel x PATH bottle that their members can drink, refill and take away with them on their travels as a special memory that also helps save the planet.
- PARTNERING: It’s a key aspect according to Hanson. “We work with a number of local partners. We always try to source locally and sustainably whenever possible. One of my personal favorites is our partnership with the Billion Oyster Project. A long time ago everyone ate Oysters, they were even oyster milkshakes. But as the rivers around New York became a shipping channel, they were dredged, and they became uninhabitable. So we take our spent oyster shells and we use them to seed oyster beds. Oysters naturally clean the water. We also work with Brooklyn Grange to do some of our sourcing.” In addition, she also works with the Foodprint Group, which bills itself as a ‘company that helps clients reduce waste and move valuable resources into the circular economy through our proven Zero Waste Program and online tools.’ Says Hanson: They help us track all our waste on site and help us find alternatives.”