Regardless of the industry, sustainability is no longer a factor that can be overlooked by executives when it comes to making long-term decisions for the health of the business. Sustainable business practices are an imperative choice when it comes to slowing the pace of climate change, and a factor increasingly considered by consumers when deciding where to spend their money. However, they are also good for the business itself.
An environmentally conscious business considers more than its profits – it considers its impact on society and the environment. Today, the sustainability of the earth is inextricably linked to the sustainability of businesses, and those that contribute to the health of the structure within which they operate help to build an environment in which they can truly thrive. A sustainable business profits by being socially responsible and protecting our use of the planet’s resources.
Sustainability has become well known for being an essential aspect of an industry’s success in the 21st century, and hospitality is no exception. The hospitality industry consumes large amounts of energy and resources, which can be detrimental to both the environment and the business itself. According to Barry Lall, founder and president of hotel management company Pinnacle Hotels USA, industry leaders need to recognize this and take action to not only secure their businesses for the future, but also the future of the planet.
Starting his career in hospitality over three decades ago, Bharat Lall built his business from the ground up after working for many years as a family doctor. His first property was a 12-bedroom RV on the California coast, and over the years he has gained experience in many types of hotel management. Today, Pinnacle Hotels USA oversees nine properties that house nearly 1,800 rooms and seven restaurants between them.
Lall says that while it may seem daunting, with the right strategy, leaders can easily implement sustainable business strategies in their organizations. These changes have the potential to both improve efficiency and appeal to the growing number of consumers seeking environmentally and socially responsible products and services. Although a growing number of companies in the hospitality sector are adapting sustainable business models, the growth has not been as strong as in other sectors such as retail. For this reason, an enduring image can help hospitality businesses stand out.
Today’s travellers, restaurant patrons, hotel patrons and shoppers care about how the businesses they support approach sustainability. A survey by integrated communications company Markstein found that 70% of respondents wanted to know what the brands they support are doing to address social and environmental issues.
Younger generations of Millennials and Gen Z play a big role in this, with nearly 75% of respondents to a Nielson study saying they are willing to take action to support businesses that don’t harm people. the environment, deplete natural resources, or adversely affect the lives of people or wildlife. However, the study also found that 51% of baby boomers were also willing to spend more on sustainable products and services. Dr. Lall says these statistics alone should be a strong motivation for hospitality industry leaders to start implementing sustainability into their business operations.
What sustainability looks like in hospitality
Every industry faces different challenges when it comes to embracing sustainability. According to Lall, strong leadership is key to implementing sustainability in a hospitality organization. Here are some of the areas where hospitality organizations can focus their efforts.
Evaluate energy consumption
An important aspect of sustainability is energy consumption, and hospitality leaders need to thoroughly assess how their business uses energy. Whether you manage a single hotel or are like Barry Lall and have a management company with a number of hotels in its portfolio in addition to a head office, a complete understanding of how your business uses the energy can lead to thoughtful green solutions.
Seek to identify the areas of the hotel that consume the most energy. As sustainable products and services have evolved over the years, there are a number of ways to reduce energy consumption without negatively affecting the customer experience. Some simple examples to start with include turning off lights and air conditioning in rooms that aren’t being used and changing washing machine settings. Tastefully educating guests about the use of towels and electricity can do double duty to reduce your carbon footprint and show you’re serious about your stance on sustainability.
You can also take bigger steps to improve the efficiency of your energy use, such as switching to energy-efficient LED lights or installing solar panels. While it may seem like a big investment, adopting renewable energy sources can both boost your brand image as a sustainable hospitality business and ultimately reduce operational costs.
There are many examples of the cost effectiveness of solar power, one being the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Danbury, Connecticut. The hotel has installed 400 solar panels on the roofs of two of its five buildings, generating enough energy to receive 18% of its annual energy from the sun. Just a year later, she was saving about $1,500 a month on her energy bill and earning $16,000 a year in renewable energy credits.
The hospitality industry requires a higher level of health than many other industries, but as a result it can be a big waste generator. As harmful microplastics continue to threaten our ecosystems and even ourselves when we unknowingly ingest them, it is important for leaders to think creatively and find solutions to single-use items and other forms of litter in the environment. hospitality industry, says Lall.
Providing guests and team members with recycling bins can be an easy way to reduce waste in a hotel, and educating staff on how to do it correctly will only have an added impact. Each area has different recycling policies and regulations, so make sure that if you’re running multiple locations, you’re following the protocol correctly in all of them. Installing water-efficient products such as water-efficient filters and low-flow showerheads can also make a difference in reducing waste.
Additionally, one area that the hospitality industry in particular can look at when it comes to waste is food waste. Sourcing food locally or even growing it locally are stellar options for doing this, reducing the amount of spoiled food and also ensuring fresher, higher quality produce for customers. However, simpler options include adopting food donation policies that notify customers that unused food will be donated to the local food kitchen. A growing number of cities are also developing composting programs, so check to see if your location has the opportunity to start taking advantage of them.
Create a sustainability committee
For leaders looking for first steps, Lall recommends forming a sustainability committee. If your company is larger, it might be a group of executives, but even in a single hotel, selecting a team of volunteers responsible for environmentally responsible initiatives can create accountability and build a culture of sustainability in the workplace. Employee education and awareness of sustainable practices through training programs can also make all the difference in a brand’s sustainability and perception.
Leaders need to impress upon their team members the importance of sustainability not only for the health of the planet, but also for the longevity and health of the business itself. Today, a company that does not implement sustainability initiatives into its business model is an outdated company, and finding the balance between providing excellent service and building an enduring brand is imperative for the future of the industry. hotel as a whole.