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The Concept of Environmental Sustainability in the Hotel Industry Case Study


Introduction

Among the most recent trends that have taken root in the hotel industry is the sustaining of the environment under which an institution operates. This strategy is not only good for environmental enthusiasts, but also for improving the margins of profitability for the institution. It can be achieved for instance through different ways such as a reduction in the amounts of water and electricity that is consumed.

This strategy could also be applied in marketing whereby the branding of an institution is based on their commitment to promote sustainability in their environment of operation. It has been established by the association that is in charge of the travel industry that as many as forty-three million individuals in America are sparingly ecological tourists.

These people are known to pay 8.5% more, when they visit tourism facilities that take part in environmental sustainability in the cause of their service. There is also proof that close to eighty-seven percent of those who travel would give preference to those facilities that are keen on environmental sustainability (Hill & Gale, 2009).

There exists other more important concern to give reason for an institution to take part in these environmentally sustainable operations. In the past twenty years, the consequences of environmentally unsustainable activities such as the depletion of the ozone layer, the occurrence of acid rain and the effects of the green house gases have caught up with mankind.

This has resulted to an increase in awareness of such effects and the importance of slowing them down, and ensuring that the activities that lead to such occurrences are greatly reduced or eliminated (Hill & Gale, 2009).

The hospitality industry, as a result of the nature of services it provides, is a major consumer of large amounts of electricity and products that are majorly disposables. This means that the impact of such a facility or facilities on the environment are of a greater magnitude than your typical building at home.

It does not mean that the industry is one of the worst polluters, nor is it to say that it consumes vast amounts of energy that is not renewable as compared to others. The impact of the industry to the resources of the globe is significant (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2010).

This paper is going to look at the hotel industry in the world today and its reception of this concept of environmental sustainability. Among the renowned facilities that have implemented systems on sustainable management of the environment include, Ramada, Intercontinental, Marriot and the Hilton to mention but a few. However, there is a variation in the intensity of their systems which implies different levels of commitment.

Even though there are many benefits to this form of management, the most notable one is improved relations between the institutions and the community around, and a better public image and an improvement in a facility’s repute that comes with such activities.

These benefits are for the good of the company, and in many cases outweigh the number of resources that are required to put them in place. All these attempts at achieving sustainability in the environment are individual, and there is a very little oversight as concerns this, from the insiders or from external agencies.

It is neither easy to completely verify any of these declarations, nor to find out whether they are true Regulation of such an industry is not as easy as it appears because there are other issues that are not clear, for instance activities on the environment seen as being within or outside the tourism industry (Pforr and Hosie, 2009). His paper will consider only the global outlook to be able to gain an overview of the global industry about environmental conservation better.

In a survey that was conducted, at a global conference on the industry, in the French capital of Paris in the year two thousand and eleven, there was a four percent increase in the number of companies who had a policy on the sustainability of the environment around them during of undertaking their projects. The figure was sixty-two percent, up from fifty-eight percent the previous year. There have been some policy measures by these companies.

They included calculations that were done on line that is on a computer network, of the carbon emissions by these companies, the provision of facilities that would enable meetings to occur in the virtual mode, for example teleconference technology. This can be an important step in reducing emissions as a result of increased travel. As encouraging as this was, there was one disadvantage: very few businesses used the on line booking tool to implement their environmental sustainability policies.

Those that used it were just about thirty-five percent. What appeared to be a very good practice towards the achievement of environmental sustainability in the hospitality institutions proved that the many managers, at least those who attended the conference, had to account for the policy decisions taken on sustainable development in their facilities (Iwamoto, 2011).

So there is this question that many people ask on what has inspired the industry into embracing the sustainability of the environment in their operations? Other than the benefits mentioned above to the hospitality institutions, it appears that this is slowly becoming part of policy in the industry. The proof from the way the leadership in these institutions are being asked to give feed backs on the level of achievements on initiatives to develop environmentally sustainable operations in their institutions.

Examples of some of the sustainability initiatives that top executives are being told to submit reports on programs that are meant for recycling items, for example water and using heating systems that are considered as good environmental sustainability measures. Some of these reports require management to show not only what has been implemented, but also illustrate how the measure is a gain towards achieving sustainability in the hotel industry (Iwamoto, 2011).

There are other reasons why this trend of sustainable operations in the hotel industry is becoming rampant. Let consider that of being given an award. A number of bodies are giving awards to those in the hospitality industry that have incorporated sustainable environmental practices in the way they conduct their business.

Among these bodies, there are the civil society organizations of trade. Governments also participate in the giving of these awards. Many of these awards were begun in the year nineteen ninety on wards (Gossling, 2009). Apparently, it is organizations which have been pressurizing the industry players to environmentally adopt sustainable operations that are also offering these awards.

In America, there have also been initiatives on the environment by a number of groups, for instance an initiative by international hotels, which was officially commissioned by the prince who was from Wales, was started in the year nineteen ninety-three. In this case, there were a total of eleven chains of hotels that were involved. These institutions took part in the making of instructions of how environmental sustainable projects can be carried out in their facilities.

There has been a feeling in the industry that this trend might as well begin in the year nineteen twenty. In another example of players’ efforts in the industry themselves, in the year nineteen ninety-four there was another such event which was given the name the green globe which was for the purposes of making awareness of the environment in the industry (Courtland, 2011).

Another important factor for industry players that can be said to be behind the quest to environmentally attain sustainable operations are the concept of eco-labeling. These labels are only used in those facilities that have been vetted by some associations, and belong to the respective associations. In the continent of Europe, this started in the year nineteen eighty-five, where by a blue flag in a hotel was an indicator that it was a member of a particular association.

These associations’ aims include the promotion of activities within the industry that are environmentally friendly which include EcoMeet and there is another known as Green Seal. The associations also embark on educative programmes for people who use such facilities to extend the knowledge on environmental sustainability around the world (Gossling, 2009).

Due to the competitive nature of the business, rival facilities that are out to get a larger share of the market are getting certifications from a number of institutions that offer them. These certifications are from reputable certification bodies such as the international standards organization. This trend was pioneered in the industrial field but right now has been introduced for the hospitality industry.

Customer can thus be ensured that a particular facility has got certain certification on the environment. An example is the certification known as “Fourteen-thousand certification “by the international standards organization. The certifications offer a bench mark in the practice of environmental sustainability in the hospitality industry. Many of them are global in nature. The other example of some global certification is one known as Ecotel.

These were however applies solely to the players in the hospitality industry only, for example for resorts, inns and hotels. It aims to explain the idea of being environmentally responsible in the industry. Lastly on certifications it is worth mentioning the other certification that is also known as Ecohotel. It has got a number of pillars on which it is anchored.

They are namely, the commitment to care for the environment, the management of solid waste in the facility, efficient use of energy by the industry players, the conservation of water and finally educating the people employed in the hospitality industry facility (Courtland, 2011).

The institutions of hospitality also face another pressure from some other quarters as pertains to the implementation of sustainable environmental activities in their facilities. It is that of being mentioned in some publications that are usually authorities in the field of environmental sustainability, in the wrong light.

This can be in polling surveys which could mention an institution in the hospitality industry as being the worst for environmentally sustainable activities. Such a publication would not be good for the business of hospitality institutions.

The reverse of this could also happen where by a hotel or an Inn or any other player in the industry being mentioned as being the best in a particular industry. Some of the bodies that carry out such publications include magazines that are opinion leaders in the industry, International bodies that deal with environmental issues such as United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) even the body that is known worldwide for representing tourism activities (Courtland, 2011).

In the quest of the players in the hospitality industry to achieve sustainability in their operations, it is important that the environmental sustainability is made part of the plans for the businesses.

This is because there are some indicators that major industry players are now only beginning to look at a number of challenges that are of an environmental or social nature. There is a need for projects that had been started on environmental sustainability to be evaluated for being in line with the structure of the organization that acts as the project’s support base.

Environmental sustainability has to be viewed as an aspect of the hospitality business that is more serious in nature as compared to what many people consider it to be (Sharpley, 2009). It has got strategic importance to all areas of the business, from the marketing department to the people who are involved in sales, and even to those who serve the food.

The use of data from all these departments could be essential in the carrying out of all these evaluations. It is of great essence to recruit people on this aspect in these facilities, who can then coach the others on how to achieve this goal. A number of businesses in the hospitality industry have begun doing exactly this which offers a bright prospect for sustainability in such institutions.

In this way, they can be able to do an evaluation of achievements in the and short comings and even chart the way forward. This is important in tackling challenges of the future in this industry, which include ensuring that the management activities in the green grocery supply chain that are environmentally friendly, and some of the new product offerings in the facility (Courtland, 2011).

The topic that is being discussed in this paper about the environmental sustainability of tourism facility is very important to all the industry players and the economies of countries globally. The reason is that this industry is growing at a fast rate, and considering some of the activities involved.

It is important that sustainability is embraced if at all the industry is to remain in the coming years (Veal, 2010). This is not the only reason why this is important; it is among the main reasons even though. If we are to consider that it has several other beneficial aspects to businesses that embrace it. For instance, a number of sustainable environmental practices result in an improvement in profitability of a facility as had been mentioned at the beginning.

A lot can be achieved by embracing the aspect of environmental sustainability. In the way that waste is managed in a facility, for example through recycling, some of the huge bills in water and power can be slashed considerably by environmentally using sustainable methods such as solar heating.

As a result of the reduction in waste generated, it will be noted that there will be an improvement in the relationship that exists between the facility, and the community that lives around it. Finally, it is of great importance if we are to mention the main reason for practicing sustainability in the hospitality industry.

The reason is that most of the attractions that make visitors tour these places are in danger as a result of the activities around hospitality facilities. In most cases, it is the host communities who bear the greatest loss when this happens.

For example, in a place like the Mediterranean, it has been found that the amount of water consumed by the hotel guests is close to six times what the local communities use. The other issue is that of land taken away for the development of these facilities. This is usually for the purposes of building. There is also the clearing of valuable forests to provide valuable timber used in making timber for these facilities.

Some of the uses of this timber which are not environmentally sustainable, for example for the purposes of firewood contribute to the occurrence of environmental disasters such as floods and even mudslides. Finally, some of the waste that is caused by the dumping from hospitality facilities into tourist attractions such as rivers requires huge amounts of resources to manage (Veal, 2010).

This topic is of massive significance to the tourism and hospitality industry. The reason being it helps in the promotion of competition moreover improving the social economic aspects of the hospitality facility areas of operations. This achievement accrues from the incorporation of environmental sustainability their operations.

In this way, synergy is achieved by the tourism and hospitality industry. This synergy comes as increased investments in the area. The investment is usually in the hospitality and tourism industry which helps in its growth (Castellani & Sala, 2009).

Those countries that have been able to achieve considerable developments in the field of tourism have proved that in order for tourism to thrive the quality of a number of resources has to be good. Among these resources there is the natural one not to mention the cultural and economic resources too.

It is the natural resource whose quality can be maintained only by the application of a sustainable environment in the facility’s activity. It is also important to mention that the industry does not generate all its needs from within. This depends on other sectors, for example agriculture which is hugely dependent on the sustainable practices that are carried out in the environment. Since agriculture is strongly linked to the environment.

The other benefit is the preservation of some of the attractions that make people come from far and wide in order to utilize the tourist facilities as a result of a sustainable tourism approach. For example, sustainability could make a tourist attraction such as a water fall continue existing, and thus still be a tourist attraction to a particular area for many years to come (Lebel, Lorek and Daniel, 2010).

This knowledge of sustainability is important to the tourism managers of the future, so that they can begin fresh sustainability activities or carry on with the ones that they have been left with.

Conclusion

It is important for tourism players to realize the importance of sustainability in the tourism and hospitality industry. This will enable its inclusion in every aspect of this industry which is of great importance to most countries. The start in the implementation of such projects in a hospitality facility marks the beginning of gains in many fronts for the institution and the industry.

References

Castellani, V., & Sala, S. (2009). Sustainable tourism as a factor of local development. Milan: Tangram Ediz. Scientifiche.

Courtland, M. (2011). Hotel sustainability: Moving into a new phase. Environmental Leader. Web. Retrieved from: https://www.environmentalleader.com/

Gossling, S. (2009). Sustainable tourism futures: Perspectives on systems, restructuring and innovations. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Hill, J. & Gale, T. (2009). Ecotourism and environmental sustainability: Principles and practice. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Iwamoto, K. (2011). Being green is In but also a matter of policy. Green hotels global. Web. Retrieved from: https://greenhotelsglobal.wordpress.com/

Lebel, L., Lorek, S. & Daniel, R. (2010). Sustainable production consumption systems: knowledge, engagement and practice. New York: Springer.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2010). OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2010. New York: OECD Publishing.

Pforr, C. & Hosie,P. (2009). Crisis management in the tourism industry: beating the odds? Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Sharpley, R. (2009). Tourism development and the environment: beyond sustainability? London: Earthscan.

Veal, J. (2010). Leisure, sport and tourism, politics, policy and planning. Oxfordshire: CABI.

This Case Study on The Concept of Environmental Sustainability in the Hotel Industry was written and submitted by user Ezra Burch to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Ezra Burch studied at Southern Methodist University, USA, with average GPA 3.28 out of 4.0.

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Burch, E. (2019, August 20). The Concept of Environmental Sustainability in the Hotel Industry [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/environmental-sustainability/

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Burch, Ezra. "The Concept of Environmental Sustainability in the Hotel Industry." IvyPanda, 20 Aug. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/environmental-sustainability/.

1. Ezra Burch. "The Concept of Environmental Sustainability in the Hotel Industry." IvyPanda (blog), August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/environmental-sustainability/.


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Burch, Ezra. "The Concept of Environmental Sustainability in the Hotel Industry." IvyPanda (blog), August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/environmental-sustainability/.

References

Burch, Ezra. 2019. "The Concept of Environmental Sustainability in the Hotel Industry." IvyPanda (blog), August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/environmental-sustainability/.

References

Burch, E. (2019) 'The Concept of Environmental Sustainability in the Hotel Industry'. IvyPanda, 20 August.

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