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919 kg of CO2 saved: bike to work at the Hotel Eden Roc

31 members of staff at the Hotel Eden Roc have demonstrated just how far two wheels can take you – by forming 8 teams and taking part in the Swiss “bike to work” campaign for 2022. This successful nationwide initiative, which promotes cycling to work among businesses and employees, has seen a steady year-on-year growth in participants since launching in 2013. Around 2,800 companies took part in May and June this year, with around 80,000 commuters hopping on their bikes to pedal to work.

The organisation behind the initiative is ‘Pro Velo Schweiz’, a national association that advocates for the interests of cyclists in Switzerland. Among its goals are the promotion and establishment of the bicycle as an environmentally friendly, fuel-saving and healthy means of private transport: an alternative to the private car. The campaign takes place annually in the months of May and June, when participants record their data in an app with the aim of cycling as many journeys to work as possible and saving CO2. As an additional incentive, participants are allocated into teams that compete both within each organisation and against other companies throughout Switzerland. In doing so, they enter the running to win numerous prizes.

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“The prospect of a new bike was a major reason for taking part!” jokes Cyrill Oehrli, Outdoor Butler at the 5-star hotel in Ascona. “But for me, the environmental aspect is what’s most important. A small change for each of us had a huge joint impact: between us, the teams at the Hotel Eden Roc covered 6,383 kilometres by bike on our commutes to work, corresponding to 83 per cent of all working days. As a result, we saved 919 kilogrammes of CO2 – almost a tonne! It’s an incredible figure that motivates all of us to keep going.” The figures for Switzerland as a whole are similarly remarkable: 3,195 tonnes of CO2 were saved through participation in the 2022 initiative alone, thanks to the associated reduction in private car journeys.

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For Maddalena Mora, the hotel’s florist and artist, it is the opportunity to slow down and mentally recharge that makes the bike so attractive as a daily mode of transport. “My commute is 18 kilometres each way,” she says. “That’s a not-insignificant distance and, of course, it can sometimes be tiring. But it’s a great way to clear my head. We’re lucky to live and work in one of the most beautiful destinations in Switzerland, and I like to take the time to appreciate what’s around me. For me, that’s an important aspect of sustainable mobility.”

For housekeeping team member Yvonne Lobo, it is the fitness factor that is most appealing. “Although I have a car, I prefer to travel by bike – including on my way to and from work,” she explains. “It keeps me on the move – quite literally. I can feel myself getting fitter without doing ‘exercise’ per se – it happens almost without me noticing it.”

Human Resources Manager Johannes Schneider also appreciates the team-building benefits. “Seeing our staff come together to address the issue of the environment and encourage each other is quite inspiring,” he remarks. “Team spirit is a big part of it; working together for a good cause.”

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Julia Felder, who works in the spa, has made it her mission to get her colleagues excited about sustainable mobility. “The challenge is to motivate them even on rainy days – that’s when many of us switch back to the car. The solution is as simple as it is obvious: a good rain jacket. When it comes down to it, I want to do my bit to protect the environment every day, not only when the sun’s shining.”

The contribution of these staff members is indeed important – and is just one of the many efforts of the Tschuggen Collection, including the Hotel Eden Roc, to make its hotel operations as sustainable as possible. The entire hotel group has been climate-neutral since 2019, and as of 2022, all four hotels are Green Globe-certified. Individual staff members are proud to embrace and uphold this commitment to the environment in their daily work. While the “bike to work” challenge may be over, all at the Hotel Eden Roc agree that they’ll continue to do their bit by taking the bike.

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