The People of IBB – Anuschka von der Heyden

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At IBB Hotel Collection we are very committed to protecting our planet. Although we already make active contributions to climate protection, we want to do even more – this includes taking responsibility for the impacts of our business activities.

Anuschka von der Heyden, Head of Sustainability at Von der Heyden Group gave us an insight of her role and the company’s commitments, and how she aims to make a positive impact on the world in general.

Anuschka started her role as Head of Sustainability in July 2022, and she has not looked back. Having always taken corporate social responsibility seriously, 2023 is the most ambitious year to date for the company, with the main aim of accomplishing a series of sustainability goals across the group’s hotels.

Our world is at risk, and every action has consequences. The world is our treasure, and we are committed to continuously improve and set a good example to our peers, colleagues, and guests. The IBB Hotel Collection aims to contribute to sustainability efforts through measurable actions and has set up an internal structure to make this happen.

Anuschka explains her day-to-day job and said that there is so much to do. It is imperative for every individual and business to take responsibility for and minimise their impact on the environment, she continued.

The reason I chose this role is because I feel like I can make some real-world and most of all, positive impact.

 Her interest in sustainability

 Anuschka studied Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins in London and after that, started a career in advertising, where she worked as a creative for 5 years. She came up with campaigns for a number of very well-known brands and after her wonderful advertising career, she decided to change path and found herself increasingly interested in sustainability and how, in light of all the green-washing happening in every industry, companies need to start taking serious responsibility for their carbon footprint as well as their social impact.

In fact, in her spare time, she likes to dedicate time to developing herself as an artist and this Summer she is planning to start working on a collection of paintings around the topic of sustainability and the impact humans are having on our ocean ecosystems.

She also enjoys being in nature and has previously worked in wildlife conservation.

Creating magnificent things

 Anuschka spoke about the fact that she loves working at IBB Hotel Collection because the company is still growing, and this gives her the opportunity to create something beautiful from the start.

This is what excites me the most. I have a lot of autonomy and I love the freedom that this role gives me.

Being a family business, she also mentioned some of the company values – including humanity and the value of the individual in everything that is done by the company. Anuschka also said how she tries to keep embodying these core values and ensures that they are retained as the company grows.

Anuschka sees the hotel group move increasingly into the luxury segment, which aligns with the business values of providing high-quality and bespoke services. It also aligns with where she sees sustainable travel and tourism heading.

I do think that the days of low-cost, mass and most of all, unsustainable tourism, are counted!

What are the challenges?

Asked about her biggest challenges in her role and how she deals with them, she mentioned her biggest challenge – the ESG data collection. She said that there is already a system in place that calculates the company’s carbon footprint based on energy consumption, however data collection, for example on waste is not as straightforward. Currently there are no meters available to measure waste and therefore the process is done manually.

Because this is also the first time that there is a person dedicated entirely on sustainability within the group, she said that it has been challenging to educate and involve the whole team in the process – a challenge for Anuschka, which has been the most rewarding so far.

She also mentioned how the pandemic has led to a lot of talent leave the hospitality industry, looking for new careers and jobs in other industries due the volatility that the hospitality industry experienced during the pandemic. This has led to a shortage of talented individuals in the market. In fact, Samuel Santos, Director of IBB Hotel and Cugó Gran Collection and Tiana Vella, Director of Human Resources also touched upon these points and said that the industry is suffering because of this.

Apart from that, Anuschka continued that the hospitality industry has experienced a quick recovery post-pandemic and it is nice to see how excited people are to get out and explore again.

Asked about the biggest challenges facing female leaders today, Anuschka said that in a world where most leaders are still men; and it can be quite daunting for women to take the step and find their place in the ‘boys-cub’; being brave, making your voice heard and never letting anyone silence you is key.

She also mentioned how life is usually not easy for female leaders – “we are expected to function at 100% in a lot of aspects in our lives, juggling our lives whilst having a successful career, a family and making time for ourselves – which often seems impossible.”

She emphasised that it is important that organisations provide the necessary support to women (and also men) in all positions to be able to create a good work-life balance, something which IBB Hotel Collection already does.

We look forward to keeping advancing as we expand and develop and encourage everyone to make the small changes necessary to help protect our planet. We are truly passionate in what we do and can’t wait to keep showcasing and highlighting what is done within our teams. We hope that you will continue to follow us on this journey. Stay tuned!