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“This article concentrates on the management of existing hospitality operations in a manner

which is sensitive to the principles of sound environmental management, rather than on issues
concerned with the building of new hotels and restaurants”. Kirk, D. (1995) Environmental
management in hotels, International journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol.7
No.6 (PP.3-8)

David Kirk’s article was written at 1995 and till now we are searching the correct measures of
sustainable development regarding the hotel and tourism business. Environmental issue is the
most prioritized issue than any time nowadays. Businesses are more concern about keeping itself
“Green”. Thus hospitality businesses are innovating various method to achieve sustainable
development. David Kirk commented about the hospitality management system regarding
sustainable development and the effect of operational measures taken to achieve sustainable
development of the 1995 period. By contrasting with his article we can figure out what are the
changes in the hospitality industry regarding sustainable development at present.

1.What is Sustainable development?

Sustainable development deals with the ability of achieving continuous economic prosperity
while protecting the natural resources of the planet and providing a high quality of life for its
people and future generations. A process will be considered sustainable when it can be carried
out in a repetitive basis without creating negative environmental effects and not imposing high

According to the Brundtland report 1987 “development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable
Development recognizes the interdependence of environmental, social and economic systems
and promotes equality and justice through people empowerment and a sense of global
citizenship. Whilst we cannot be sure what the future may bring, a preferable future is a more
sustainable one”. (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, p. 8; UN,
1992,p. 43)

Sustainable development also explained by a concept of Triple bottom line which was introduced
by John Elkington. (Cannibals with forks: Economic prosperity, Social equity and
Environmental protection)

“In its broadest sense, the triple bottom line captures the spectrum of values that organizations
must embrace -economic, environmental and social. In practical terms, triple bottom line
accounting means expanding the traditional company reporting framework to take into account
not just financial outcomes but also environmental and social performance – economic
prosperity, social equity and environmental protection”.

In recent years, an understanding of the concept of sustainability has been established that
consists of three dimensions: the protection of the natural environment, the maintenance of
economic vitality, and observance of specific social considerations. It must not be overseen that
the concept of sustainable development is directly connected to the desire to meet the essential
needs of the world’s poor. It is explicitly and unmistakably stated that not only inter-generational
but also intra-generational justice is part of the concept of sustainable development (Busch,
2001; Vornholz, 1998).

1.1Why sustainable development is important for Hospitality industry?

According to The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) research, travel &tourism (T&T)
generates economic activity worldwide representing over ten per cent of total global GDP(in
2002) With 4.5 per cent growth forecast per annum for the next ten years, Travel & Tourism is
not only one of the world’s largest, but one of the fastest growing industries. Together with the
airline industry the hospitality sector is a major component of Travel & Tourism and one could
consider it its standard bearer as hotels are more visible than Tour Operators or other T&T
related companies. There are hotels virtually in every destination, in developed as well as in
under-developed areas.

Together with communication access and other vital needs, hotels have taken part in the
infrastructural development of any region. It also plays important role over economic
development of the people. International Hotels & Restaurants Association (IH&RA) estimates
that the hotel and restaurant industry represents 300 000 hotels and 8 million restaurants, 60
million jobs and a global revenue of more than 950 billion USD annually (2005).

The hospitality industry is a major consumer of resources and products. Consumption includes
land, furnishings and fixtures, cleaning supplies, food, and construction materials (wood, paint,
carpet), and equipment (furnaces, air conditioners, computers, elevators). Then there is the daily
consumption of power and water. With this massive ongoing use of products and resources there
is a need for environmental action to preserve the environment and conserve resources for future
generations. (Kit Cassingham , Chief Sustainability Officer Sage Blossom Consulting)

The above stated data demonstrates the impact of hospitality industry may have over the
development of global economy, the social responsibility it has to maintain, and the important
role it plays regarding the global environment.

2.0Green Hospitality

Since the day of 1987 when the concept of sustainability first mentioned by the UN sponsored
Brundtland Commission, the movement of “our common future” has expanded through the
globe. Both the corporations and consumers are focusing towards the harmonious existence with
their surroundings and reduction of environmental effluence. Hospitality industry has started
adopting environmental management more lately probably for dual factors. Firstly the common
perception was that hotels have less impact over environment comparing to heavy industries.
Maintaining the image of comfort and luxury is the second factor. According to Korhonen the
“Equal” is very difficult to determine because the three dimensions of sustainable management
are qualitatively different (e.g. costs, profits Vs social responsibility, community Vs Co2
emissions) Korhonen, J. (2003), “Should we measure corporate social responsibility?”
Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Vol. 10, pp. 25-39.

The World Travel & Tourism Council, the World Tourism Organization and the Earth council
developed the global environmental certification program for the travel and tourism industry.
These industries jointly launched an action plan titled as “Agenda 21 for travel and tourism
industry. Towards environmentally sustainable development”. Agenda 21 is a program run by
the United Nations (UN) related to sustainable development. It is a comprehensive blueprint of
action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and
major groups in every area in which human’s impact on the environment.

Next follow the “Green Globe” which a benchmarking certification program. In 1994, WTTC
initiated the “GREEN GLOBE”, an Agenda 21 based industry improvement program, which
provides guidance material and a certification process linked to both ISO standards and Agenda
21 principles. There are now 500 “GREEN GLOBE” members in 100 countries dedicated to
improving environmental practice. It is important to be mentioned that the International Hotels
Environmental Initiative (IHEI) also played an important to encourage green hospitality. The
ultimate aim is that “GREEN GLOBE” will become the primary global standard of
environmental commitment by the global Travel & Tourism industry and will be recognized by
the public as such.

Hotel companies have increased encouraging environmental friendly practices and embracing
sustainability through both developmental and operational strategies. Linda Hirneise, Executive
Director for the Global Travel and Hospitality Practice, J.D. Power and Associates’ says:
‘‘offering green programs is a win-win situation for both hotel guests and hotel operators. Guests
are increasingly looking for these types of offerings, and hotels are finding that going green
actually saves money.’’

3.0How the performance of Sustainable hospitality management is evaluated?

David Kirk has discussed the principals of environmental management system which had been
developed in the framework of British Standard system of BS 7750: Environmental Management
system. Standards regarding the sustainable hospitality management performance are now being
developed to address climate change and green house gas emissions. To evaluate Environmental
Management System, listed certificates and rewards are presently been introduced.
program for members of the hospitality industry helps facility managers compare the
energy efficiency of their buildings with similar facilities, provides “guidelines for
superior energy management built on the practices of industry leaders,” and helps
managers find resources for making cost-effective improvements


been certifying hotels for 11 years. Over that period, they have modified their system
frequently to meet the needs and unique circumstances of the hotel industry. They focus
on hotel operations, rather than building structure. Green Seal has set standards for
lodging facilities, but they allow a range of solutions for many of those standards.
Certification lasts for one year. To remain certified, facilities must be re-audited annually.

3. The Ethibel Sustainability Index: It is combination of financial and social profit.

The Ethibel Sustainability Index (ESI) provides a comprehensive perspective on the
financial performance of the world's leading companies in terms of sustainability for
institutional investors, asset managers, banks and retail investors.

4. ISO 14001: It is a standard for environmental management systems to be implemented

in any business, regardless of size, location or income. The aim of the standard is to
reduce the environmental footprint of a business and to decrease the pollution and waste a
business produces.

5. LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; a set of standards for

environmentally sustainable construction developed by the US Green Building Council in

4.0Practice of Sustainable Hospitality Management at present:

David Kirk mentioned about five policies like recycling bottles and cans, saving on heating,
installation of low-level lighting etc. Hotels who had undertaken these policies got benefitted.
But sustainable development is much more today than it was fourteen years before. By analyzing
the data acquired from different secondary sources along with The World Travel & Tourism
Council (WTTC) Green Globe Program and
environmental tips and sustainable solutions for a healthy planet, we can summarize some of the
strategies which can be adopted or will be implemented very soon:
• Reduced operating and maintenance costs through increased efficiency of listed

o Water conservation – water conversation indicates to the limited use of water and
establishing water treatment plant. Installing low-flow showerheads and sink
aerators. Switching to low-flow toilets or install toilet-tank fill diverters.

o Energy management – By introducing solar panel for electricity produce, using

water current to produce electricity and limited use of carbon fuel. Switch to
compact fluorescent light bulbs in guestrooms, lobbies, and hallways. Use sensors
and/or timers for areas that are infrequently used. Replacing electric package
terminal air conditioner (PTAC) units with more efficient heat pumps or other
geothermal technologies.

o Enhanced solid waste management – produce as less solid waste as possible.

Provide guestroom recycler baskets for newspaper, white paper, glass, aluminum,
cardboard, and plastic. Providing reusable items such as cloth napkins, glass cups,
ceramic dishes, etc. with all food and beverage services.

o Recycling – enhancing the production of recyclable products and building

awareness to re use products. Provide recycling bins both in public areas (i.e.,
poolside), in the kitchen, and in the back office (including one at each desk) to
make recycling as easy as possible

• Enhanced environmental stewardship- it can be achieved through creating processes

and procedures for taking of the environment while conducting day to day business.
Buying organic, fair trade, cruelty-free guest amenity products whenever possible.
Buying food and guest amenities in bulk (i.e., use refillable hair and skin care
dispensers). Use of nontoxic or least toxic cleaners, sanitizers, paints, pesticides, etc.
throughout the hotel.

• Competitive advantage / differentiator –by creating awareness among the environment

friendly people about the sustainable development practices they adopted, the hotels may
differentiate themselves from their competitors and generate for profits for the
stakeholders. Some hotels are also arranging meetings and seminars to raise funds or
create awareness for the sustainable development of the environment. Offering
discounted rates to sustainable living/environmental organizations that would like stay at
and/or hold meetings at your hotel. By preferring accommodations owned, built and
staffed by local people, promote locally made handicrafts and traditional products.

• Contribution and support the local community, strengthening of community

connections – encouraging local suppliers of agricultural foods, dairy products may
establish a healthy connection with the local population. Hotels are more interested in
buying products from their neighborhood rather than out source it from some where else
and take the delivery by airlines or ships. Donating leftover food to a local nonprofit
organization. Reducing financial leakage and support local economies by buying food
and resources locally develop long-term partnerships with local operators, businesses and

• Efficient Human resource Management – Creating incentive programs to encourage

your staff to participate in and improve upon environmentally-friendly practices. Training
and hiring local staff and contracting with local businesses, promote management
opportunities for women. Educating staff to avoid negative environmental and cultural
impacts and create incentive schemes to promote sustainable behavior.

5.0Eco Tourism: A new trend emerging

Ecotourism is: "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and
improves the well-being of local people. (The International Eco tourism Society).
According to Martha Honey, “Ecotourism (also known as ecological tourism) is travel
to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and (often)
small scale. It helps educate the traveler; provides funds for conservation; directly
benefits the economic development and political empowerment of local communities;
and fosters respect for different cultures and for human rights.” Honey, Martha (2008).
Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? (Second ed.).
Washington, DC: Island Press. pp.33.

5.1Principles of Ecotourism:

Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. The

International Ecotourism Society (TIES) in 1990, ecotourism is "Responsible travel to
natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local
people." (TIES, 1990). Martha Honey, expands on the TIES definition by describing the
seven characteristics of ecotourism, which are:
• Minimize impact.
• Involves travel to natural destinations.
• Builds environmental awareness.
• Provides direct financial benefits for conservation.
• Provides financial benefits and empowerment for local people
• Respects local culture.
• Supports human rights and demographic movements.

"We believe that true ecotourism protects local cultures and empowers local and
Indigenous peoples - while providing visitors with unique opportunities to learn about the
community they visit and contribute to its success."- Kores Ole Musuni, Maasai Cross
Cultural and Ecotourism Programs.

6.0 Influencing consumer behavior to promote Sustainable Hospitality:

Consumers can play a vital role in the transformation of societies towards sustainability. As the
hospitality businesses are significantly rely on the consumers, it is very important to observe the behavior
pattern of the consumers towards sustainable hospitality. Consumers often seek for luxury commodities
while they are accepting the hospitality of the hotels and lodges. These demands mostly depend upon the
availability of time and money. The over-consumption of resources by consumers and hospitality
infrastructure (e.g. the excessive use of water, firewood or food) is incompatible with sustainable
development. While the hospitality industries are willing to improve their products and services to
achieve sustainable development, there is a conflict between the industry's pursuit of economic gains
and social and environmental responsibility. The industry lacks information on the requirements of
sustainable tourism and on how to integrate economic forces with environmental and social
requirements. (UNCSD NGO Steering Committee, 1999)

As David Kirk discussed in his journal that consumers were not willing to pay more for the extra
environmental benefits, presently it has changed more to a positive scenario. Over the last decade,
the movement towards ecologically sound hospitality has swept across the globe; and the practices
protection programs being implemented are as diverse as the different geographies. Rising energy
costs, government pressure, consumer expectations and the competitive landscape are 3 core reasons
for which hotel companies are making sustainability a top priority.

Responsible consumer behavior can be achieved by promoting responsible and sustainable

patterns of behavior, at the various levels and by encouraging best practices. There are different
types of instruments and remedial measures available:

· Legal measures (rules, regulations, and sanctions);

· Promotion of and (financial) support for best practice;

· Hospitality self-monitoring/codes of conduct;

·Building awareness about the sustainable hospitality management among the consumers.
Another Innovative approach towards promoting sustainable hospitality is the
collaboration between hospitality management and celebrities. For example Zabeel
properties of the Middle East region has commissioned Brad Pitt to design a 5 star hotel
which is expected to have 800 rooms and will be located in Dubai. Similarly Pamela
Anderson is endorsing a environmental friendly hotel in Abu Dhabi. (Article: Hospitality
Going Green, Global hospitality insights)

7.0 Conclusion:

Although current economic crisis are putting pressure on all investments and
development decisions, in the long run investment in sustainable hotel development will
undoubtedly take hold. As that happen a clear advantage will emerge for those hotels that
meet both the environmental expectations of guests and the best practices of operational
efficiency in function and design. This advantage will be reflected in the value of and
attractiveness of those assets to invest. (Jonathan Habbard, Managing Director- Northern
Europe, Jones Lang Lashalle Hotel.)

Green program can provide a competitive advantage as long as green activities are still
voluntary in the market. Overtime, green practices will become baseline requirement to
do business in the hospitality industry, particularly as the cost of the renewable energy
continues to increase. Thus the hotels or lodges who are adopting green practices will
have the strongest opportunity of achieving a “sustainable” competitive advantage. (Mary
Scoviak, “The Year Of GREEN; Find the Hotel Company That Is Not Waving The Eco-
Flag. Green Is a Competitive Hot Button for 2008”) Sustainable development in
hospitality industry will also ensure that the revenue stays in the host communities to
enhance livelihoods and generate a profitable source of income, empower and motivate
local groups to direct cross-cultural exchange in the way they wish and adopt practices
which conserve, protect and preserve the environment.



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