Industry Update
Opinion Article30 March 2021

EHL Sustainability Week 2021: A Virtual And Inclusive Event

By Natacha Reymond, Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL)

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This March, EHL organized its third Sustainability Week as part of the movement for positive change within Swiss universities.

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EHL once again included its three campuses - Lausanne, Passugg and Singapore - in different events held mostly online due to the current COVID-19 measures. Having online events meant more inclusivity as anyone was able to participate from anywhere in the world, no matter their professional and personal background.

A cross-functional project team of volunteer staff and students collaborated to ensure the unity and good communication of the week's events. They were supported by the students' Sustainability Committee (previously known as the SSR Committee) which promoted and broadcasted the events of the week so that they could not be missed by anyone.

We welcomed over 40 speakers and 600 attendees from various backgrounds and expertise, and the events themselves varied also by their focus topics:

  • Ted Teng, former CEO of Leading Hotels of the World, spoke about the hotel industry and whether or not it would ever embrace sustainability.
  • The Women in Leadership initiative organized the Elevate panel to celebrate the International Day for Women's Rights. Alumnae were invited to join to share their experiences in the professional world as women and give advice for fellow women to kick-off their careers.
  • Singapore and Passugg both organized their own events: a panel on diversity and inclusion, a clothes-swapping event and a presentation on the Swiss sustainable hospitality label, Ibex Fairstay.
  • EHL Alumni and EHL Alliance organized panels, bringing additional knowledge about sustainability from our alumni and partners from various industries.
  • Six committees participated in creating insightful events. SIHMUN, KIC, Football and Sustainability Committees organized panel discussions and presentations on topics such as the SDGs, Sustainable Fashion and Football4Climate, and EHL Arts together with EHL Photo joined with a special series about DIYs on their social media.
  • The Student Council was back with a podcast on Instagram, this time giving a voice to students involved in sustainability.
  • A special panel with students and faculty shone a spotlight on the EHL curriculum and how sustainability can be better integrated within the different courses and subjects taught.

EHL had the pleasure to welcome Chef Tosca, (ex Alumna and plant-based chef) for a cook-along session with Chef Gobet, our Ambassador for Excellence. Together with 80 participants on Instagram, we cooked chickpea pasta with a supergreen sauce, and savored it with a glass of organic pinot gris from Domaine La Colombe. You can replay the video, and cook-along with both chefs, on ehl.lausanne Instagram, which has already gathered over 5,000 views!

Food-wise, we also held the very first vegetarian concept in Lausanne and a first inter-campus Meatless Wednesday, which gathered great feedback from the chefs who enjoyed using their creativity to develop different menus and the community who enjoyed tasting the protein alternatives! The F&B outlets in Lausanne gave the opportunity to donate to 1Franc for the Climate, an initiative to support local producers and compensate for the impact of your meal by planting trees, especially if it's fish or meat! A total of 830 CHF were collected, meaning that a little over 10% of the F&B customers participated in the initiative. Each franc is matched by EHL, making it a total 1660 CHF to be donated to the association!

The Alaya Challenge encouraged everyone to make day-to-day decisions in line with sustainable living by offering prizes for those who got the most points throughout the month of March. Challenges include eating vegetarian for a week, bringing a reusable water bottle and upcycling old clothing, to name but a few.

One of the challenges was suggested by Passugg to collect plastic lids to donate to an association for the blind, and 29.5 kg of lids were collected! So far, 120 users have completed at least one challenge and/or participated in a Sustainability Week event, and 50 people have used this opportunity to create an account! The race is still on, winners will be announced at the beginning of April.

EHL's Sustainability Team produced a series of four videos to showcase their work and give the spotlight to the partners they are working with: Alaya, Beelong, Climeworks & SouthPole. You'll get a better understanding of the team's daily activities!

You can replay most of the events here or on Instagram, and do not hesitate to get involved for future events!

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Natacha Reymond

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    Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne
    Communications Department
    Phone: +41 21 785 1354
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