Interview to Massimo Mussapi appeared on SALA&CUCINA – May 2016
What does being “green” mean?
The green economy is an enormous business, and like any big business there are many lies around it. How much it costs to destroy a glass bottle of wine to produce another one identical?
You put it in a dumpster that at 5 a.m. someone would put outside in front of the building; other men would pick it up with a polluting garbage truck, to bring it to an industrial plant that destroys it and makes a new identical bottle; then another truck would bring it to a factory where they put new wine into it, maybe the same; and again, with another truck, back to supermarkets where final customers buy it and drive home with their polluting cars.
If you bottle the wine by yourself, all this does not happen. You keep the same dear bottle for years, zero km, let’s say just a few meters from home to the basement, available all year round, at half price.
Clearly, this is just an example, because very few people bottle wine (I do) but it is a good example of what being “green” really means: “no wasting”, “re-using”, maybe “fixing”, and therefore consuming less.
“Green” is not just a product or a material that does not pollute (directly, because often the production process they are involved in does pollute). “Green” is to produce less useless things that only create problems. “Green” is the beauty of things that have real substance, things that simplify life. “Green” is above all a way of thinking, is to think in an eco-nomic way.
What does this have to do with the hotel industry? Very much indeed.
Of course, the construction is better if it is made with materials, technologies, systems that save energy, which do not pollute. But what if the hospitality model is corrupted? A breakfast with a classy mise en place but with a 2 Euro budget per guest is not substantial, it is a pittance, a hypocrisy. A "design hotel" where the bathroom is not separated from the room because fashion trends demand, it is not substantial, not even "minimal", it is simply idiotic and embarrassing.
What about those hotels that invite you to “avoid using too many towels to help saving the planet”, making you feel guilty, and then they are energy wasters? A can of Coke sold at 5 Euro in a minibar that you have to reach crawling on the floor is not substantial, is a theft.
Sleeping in a pompous bed but on a mattress that costs, and is worth, half of a normal mattress for residential use, and which is put on a bed base that hosts billions of mites and makes impossible cleaning 2 square meters of floor, is not elegant, is cheap.
Today, people who travel want real solutions for their travelling needs: real comfort, real clean, a proper breakfast, true smiles.
"Green" is the new way of thinking of a large part of the world population that, since at least three generations is no longer starving, and since two generations possesses many things only to show prosperity.
For these people, luxury is no longer something that glitters: it is made of substantial things such as enjoying world beauties, the taste and culture of good food, the harmony of great architecture and of intelligent and simple objects. These people are, not by chance, also those who travel more.