circular economy
circular economy

KIEM hbo: Circular Economy in Hospitality

Project leader
Lucia Tomassini
April 2020 - July 2021
Hospitality Management

The project “Circular Economy in Hospitality” draws on the idea that Circular Economy is a novel disruptive paradigm redefining sustainability in the hospitality industry. In doing so the project acknowledges the urgency to both explore the implications of the Circular Economy in the hospitality sector and provide hoteliers and restaurateurs with proper knowledge and know-how about the transition towards Circularity.

What is the motivation for the project?

Circular Economy Pilot Projects usually focus on bigger companies (e. g. Hotels) while small hospitality firms are interested too and need a specific guidance and support to develop further knowledge and understand what they can do. The project took place in Friesland, a paradigmatic Province of the Netherlands for its being deeply committed to the transition to Circular Economy and characterised by a vital hospitality sector made of small hospitality firms. Hence, in November 2019, a core group of Friesland hospitality entrepreneurs and the Professorship of Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism submitted a KIEM HBO Project Proposal 'Çircular Economy in Hospitality.’

What issues does the project address?

The project addresses the lack of knowledge and support to facilitate the transition of small hospitality firms towards CE. To achieve this, the project set up the following objectives:

  • Understanding that a learning environment made of a wide spectrum of hospitality facilities, experts, and stakeholders leads to a successfully open exchange of information on how to implement Circular Economy in hospitality.
  • Investigating and identifying 4 cutting-edge circularity issues connecting arelevant number of actors of the hospitality industry.
  • Understanding how to keep alive, proactive, and committed a learning community by looking at follow-up opportunities of other projects, pilot action plans, and funding.

Project team

  • HMS Research Group in Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism: Prof. Elena Cavagnaro, Dr. Lucia Tomassini.
  • Circulair Friesland: Mrs. Hanneke Schmeink
  • 4 Industry Partners:
    • (1) De Pleats Restaurant - Burgum
    • (2) Westcord Hotel - Ameland
    • (3) Watersport Camping - Heeg
    • (4) Notiz Hotel - Leeuwarden

Students of the Future Proof Hospitality Minor have been involved to find solutions on the identified themes. A student placement as Junior Project Assistant was offered.

Project approach

The Project Team worked together via online meetings and focus groups with experts. They identified their core themes of interest for the transition towards CE for the Frisian hospitality sector. Despite the COVID-19 outbreak and the challenges faced by the hospitality industry, the project was successful in establishing a vibrant and committed learning community interested in building more knowledge on Circular Economy while exploring possible future scenarios for the Hospitality Industry. All the project activities and meetings took place online via Microsoft Teams and ZOOM from April 2020 till July 2021.

What are the main (or preliminary) results?

The project “Circular Economy in Hospitality” has been successful and fruitful at several levels. It conveyed a variety of outcomes and outputs ranging from the number of entrepreneurs, stakeholders, and experts reached-out through the project; the forming of a learning community-self-appointed as “De Friese Doopers,” the knowledge built via 4 Focus Groups on the 4 key themes identified during the project, to the spin-off pilot projects and project proposals to follow up with such themes, and the students involved in the project.