As director of one of the most sustainable hotels in the Netherlands and winner of the Sustainability Award Nijmegen Green Capital 2018, Marije van der Valk is committed to corporate social responsibility like no other.
According to her, sustainability is a must-do and partly explains why Van der Valk has existed for more than 150 years. She explains her vision in a column. Based on a small piece of history about the sustainable vision of her family, she tells why corporate social responsibility matters to her:
European Green Capital
This year Nijmegen may call itself ‘ European Green Capital’ , or ‘sustainable capital of Europe’. The city has earned this title by investing for years in greening and sustainability with the help of residents, government and industry. A great achievement!
My great-grandfather, Martinus van der Valk, is the founder of our chain. He built a hotel for each of his 11 children and laid the foundation for the current group, which now consists of more than 100 branches. Martinus did not think of himself but of his descendants, for whom he created a guaranteed place on the labor market. Since then, sustainability has been very important to our family because we are a generation-transcending enterprise: the family builds hotels and restaurants with the thought in mind that many generations of Valken will still use the site and operation after us.
The ultimate in sustainability
For me, this way of thinking and entrepreneurship is the height of sustainability, it’s just me “with a spoon”. Thijs and I built our hotel in Lent in 2016 according to the standards of the BREEAM Excellent certificate , an assessment method to determine the sustainability performance of buildings. In combination with the Green Globe certification, we are at the moment the most sustainable hotel in the Netherlands and we are very proud of that.
I am often asked about concrete examples of sustainable building and entrepreneurship. The best example remains, as far as I am concerned, ‘Bemmels Blauw’. All 280,000 bricks used for our hotel building are made in Bemmel, so locally manufactured. But the raw material of these stones also has a special origin, because the clay used for it comes from the Nevengeul and was excavated during the ‘Ruimte voor de Waal’ project.
Our hotel is literally made of local raw materials! We feel completely at home in this sustainable capital of Europe. On to more sustainable projects. Do you also participate?
This photo and article originally appeared in RegioinBedrijf.nl