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Australia’s green hotel of the year 2020

Looking for a sustainable hotel in Australia? Let the Finder Green Awards do the hard work for you.

Finder Green Hotel of the Year 2020 for Australia

Finder research shows that 47% of Australians are actively looking for "greener" products or services. But for industries like energy, insurance and banking, it's not always clear which companies are actually doing their bit.

This is also evident in our data, with over three quarters (76%) of Australian consumers saying it's hard to know which products or services are truly better for the environment.

The Finder Green Awards solves this problem and gives you the answers you need.

What are the Finder Green Awards?

We launched the Finder Green Awards in 2020 to recognise environmentally friendly companies in a range of the categories that we compare.

With limited and varied publicly available data in this space, we decided to make this a submission-based award program. We sent entry forms to more than 500 brands across 14 different award categories including banking, insurance and superannuation, inviting them to enter. We were delighted with the response, but it made it hard to pick finalists and winners in each category. To see the winners of the other Finder Green Awards, head to our Finder Green Awards hub page for a complete list.

Green Hotel of the Year award

We love a good travel deal here at Finder, but we're also well aware that tourism can have a big impact on the environment. Most hotels use a lot of energy and water and also create a lot of waste. None of this is good news for the planet. However, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, as there are also lots of hotels that are taking sustainability seriously and taking drastic action to reduce their impact on the environment.

What makes a hotel green?

As with many of the categories in the Finder Green Awards, it can be difficult to work out the most important factors to look at to assess how environmentally friendly a hotel is.

The main thing we looked at was the current environmental performance of the hotel. Broadly speaking, that means the amount of emissions generated by the hotel, the amount of energy it uses, the amount of water it uses and the amount of waste that it sends to landfill. To make things as fair as possible, we also looked at these measures on a per room basis, which meant that we could compare very large hotels to boutique eco-resorts.

These measures made up the majority of the scoring but there were also points on offer for other things such as environmental targets the hotel has in place or any external recognition the hotel might have received, such as ecotourism certifications or sustainability awards.

Green Hotel of the Year 2020: Methodology table

The table below shows a detailed breakdown of the scoring for the Green Hotel of the Year Award. To be eligible to enter, the hotel had to be operating in Australia and open to guests in the 12 months prior to 31 December 2019. If you're interested in finding out more about our methodology, you can view the Finder Green Awards 2020 methodology document.

General environmental criteriaSector-specific environmental criteria
Current environmental performance (37% of scoring)
  • Emissions intensity
  • Emissions intensity (including offsets)
  • Energy from renewable sources
  • Waste avoiding landfill

Environmental targets (6% of scoring)

  • Emissions target
  • Renewable energy target
  • Waste target
Environmental impacts per room (40% of scoring)
  • Emissions per room
  • Energy usage per room
  • Water usage per room

Accreditation and awards (7% of scoring)

  • External sustainability/ecotourism accreditations
  • Sustainability awards

Other sustainability initiatives (10% of scoring)

  • Sustainable purchasing program
  • Other sustainability initiatives

Green Hotel of the Year 2020 winner and finalists

In a very competitive category, Swell Lodge came out as the winner of the Green Hotel of the Year award for 2020, with Ibis Styles Hobart, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley and Pumpkin Island all getting honourable mentions as finalists.

Green Hotel of the Year winner: Swell Lodge

Swell Lodge Christmas Island from above

Swell Lodge, Christmas Island

Swell Lodge scored well in almost all of the categories we were looking at, but rose to the top thanks to a combination of low emissions, very high renewable energy usage and a low-waste approach to operating.

From its remote outpost on Christmas Island, Swell Lodge also showed off some innovative customer-facing sustainability initiatives such as water-free lavatories, crab-safe vehicles and free reusable water bottles for all visitors. Each chalet at the lodge is 100% solar-powered and has a solar hot water system. On top of this, the hotel offsets the small carbon footprint it does create through its "Greenfeet" carbon neutral program, which plants native trees in the area.

Green Hotel of the Year finalists

Ibis Styles Hobart

Ibis Styles Hobart

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Pumpkin Island, Great Barrier Reef

Pumpkin Island, Great Barrier Reef

There was a lot of competition in this category and there are a number of other hotels that deserve a mention for the work they are doing to reduce their environmental impact.

First up we have the Ibis Styles Hobart, which was Australia's first 5-Star Green Star certified hotel (an accreditation awarded by the well-respected Green Building Council of Australia). This accreditation is based on energy and water efficiency, so it wasn't surprising to see the hotel also scoring well in these categories.

Elsewhere, the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley impressed by recycling nearly 80% of all the waste it generates alongside impressive plans to build a significant solar farm nearby to power the whole hotel and conference centre.

The last finalist was Pumpkin Island, an eco-retreat located in the southern Great Barrier Reef. The resort is carbon neutral and also uses a high proportion of renewable energy thanks to solar panels and wind turbines present on the island.

The Finder Green Awards are part of our broader Finder Green project, which aims to shine a spotlight on our favourite sustainable, eco-friendly, ethical and cruelty-free products.

Want to read more articles about sustainable products and companies in Australia? Check out the Finder Green homepage.

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