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International Hospitality and Tourism Student Journal 4 (1) 2012 50-62

To analyse how a green business strategy affects the business growth: The case of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Balazs Rankasz
HTMi, Hotel & Tourism Management Institute, Srenberg, 6174 Luzern, Switzerland _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Abstract The aim of this study was to evaluate the financial performance, of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), after implementing the new green infrastructure into the business strategy. This research seeks to find out, how the sustainable practices of the MCEC influenced the business growth, furthermore the author will investigate, what are consumers opinion about the new MCEC and its green techniques. In fact, the sustainable development reached the event industry only couple of years ago. Therefore, there is a lack of studies, which would analyse the effectiveness of an environmentalfriendly convention centre, festival or exhibition in terms of profitability and costs. The author tries to fill out this gap with the current study, however, the findings of the study base only on secondary research. The author analyzed books, reviewed academic articles, studied web pages to get an overview about the complex phenomena of the sustainable tourism development and green business strategies. The writer assumes that because of the growing need of traveller towards sustainable services and the unique infrastructure of the MCEC, the sustainable concept can be successful. It was concluded that, if tourism wish to be more responsible, further education, researches and more real examples, like the MCEC, is needed in the future.
Keywords: Green business strategy; Business growth; Sustainable development; MICE; Melboure Convention and Exhibition Centre; Melbourne 2010 International Hospitality Research Centre. All rights reserved. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

1. Introduction Australia is a very active performer of the international tourism industry. Because of its geographical position, the country is strongly affected by the global warming. Therefore, Australias hospitality industry is world leader in sustainability. It confirms that Australias ecotourism was awarded with the prestigious World Travel and Tourism Council Tourism for Tomorrow Award for Conservation at the World Tourism Summit in Dubai, states the Eco Tourism Australia web pages (Eco Tourism Australia 2008). Melbourne is one of the continents biggest city and convention destinations. However, urban areas get less attention in the sustainable tourism compared to destinations near to nature like coast area, countryside or mountains, Melbourne managed to show something special with its new Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). The beauty of untouched landscapes, exotic beaches and green mountains, cultural resources, wildlife, the whole eco system and biodiversity of the earth, became simple tourism products in both the developing and the developed countries through the development of tourism (Cater and Lowman 1994; Cooper et al. 2005; Holden 2008). With using the natural treasures of the earth, tourism has direct impacts on the environment, in form of pollution (water, air, noise),

growing land use, ecological disruption or damaging historic and archaeological memorials, states Lickorish and Jenkins (2005). The direct impacts of tourism on the natural environment are much discussed topic among professionals and scientists for a long time. However, it is proven that air transport, which is the most effective tool of the tourism to win over distances, is one of the main producer of the CO2 emission, therefore it is directly responsible for the climate change (Williams et al. 2002; Hodgkinson et al. 2007). The negative impacts of the tourism come not only from huge demand of air transport. According to Yeoman (2009) A typical golf course in Thailand uses as much water as 60,000 rural villagers. Another example is, that an area of land about half the size of Paris is cleared for golf courses every year. If tourism will grow, as expected, and will reach 1.6 billion arrivals worldwide, these impacts on the planet will be even more harmful. In couple of years will the climate and environmental changes reach the point that will be no return. Our globe needs an urgent help to be saved and the tourism industry has to react quickly as well. The strategy of sustainability in tourism was mentioned in 1987 for the first time. The idea of sustainable tourism is to save the natural environment, develop social responsibility and reduce the hurtful impacts of tourism on its surroundings (McCool and Moisey 2008). Due to the


International Hospitality and Tourism Student Journal 4 (1) 2012 50-62

pressure of international organisations and national governments, many companies adapted new sustainable business strategies to improve productivity and business performance, while other organizations used the name sustainable or green to simply attract new market segment and generate more profit (Chris 2005, Swarbrook 1999). Nevertheless, it is still a topic to be research how sustainable policies influence business growth. One of the largest slice of the huge tourism cake is the convention industry. Referring to the Meeting, Incentive, Convention, and Exhibition (MICE) Industry Analysis & Investment Opportunities Report (2007) the industry is booming. There are 400,000 conferences and exhibitions held worldwide every year at a total outlay of US$280 billion. MICE means, seen this unbelievable numbers, huge economic benefit to the country and city where is it hosted. As a result of the sustainable tourism development (STD), mega events, like the Olympic Games, festivals and convention centres started to care about to environment friendly practices. Tourism industry has many negative impacts on the natural environment, and as global phenomena, it is directly responsible with all the other industries together for the global warming. Climate change reached a point where animals and even humans are in danger. However, tourism actually lives from the nature, it does very few to protect it. There are some individual examples of organisations, which apply environmentfriendly standards, but moreover greening is used as a marketing tool. There is a need of research on the field of, how sustainable business strategies influence revenue throughout profit. Implementing new technologies, using special design, and green materials cost a lot of money. However, it is not proven yet, if the investment will return or not. Therefore many organisations, especially small enterprises do not take the risk and create own sustainable policies, which is actually avoiding real action.

of all natural resources are tourist attractions, destinations (Burr 2009), second of all they are important motivating factors of traveller (escape for the stressful environment and recreation), argues Mannell and Iso-Ahola (1987). It seems, that tourism in many ways relates to the environment and to its sources.

Figure 1: Global Tourism Emission in 2005: CO2 only (Urosevic 2009)

However, this relationship is one-sided. Where tourism and visitors appear, the environment suffers serious damages, because of its irresponsible stretching. Tourism has direct impacts on the environment in terms of resource usage (energy, water consumption), pollution (air, water, noise), waste outputs (garbage), use of natural landscape and destroying flora and fauna (Davies and Cahill 2000; Kreag 2001). Especially air transport is responsible for the majority of negative environmental impacts of tourism (Hoyer 2000; Gssling 2002), as it can be seen in figure 1. Air pollution is one of the main reasons of climate change and global warming, consequently it makes irreversible changes in the ecosystem (disappearing coral reefs), in the seas (rising temperature) in animals lives (polar bears in threats), explain the World Wildlife Found web pages (WWF 2010). Because of the globalisation of the industry, these harmful impacts reached a critical point. The natural resources of the earth will run out soon. Therefore, an urgent solution is needed.

2. Literature review 2.1.1. Tourism and the environment According to Fridgen (1991), different types of tourism connect with different types of environment. Business, shopping or event tourism are present in cities, leisure tourism and sustainable tourism are closer to the nature. In the world largest industry, the naturebased tourism activities are one of the fastest growing sector (Balmford et al. 2009). Eco tourism, volunteer tourism, extreme adventure tourism, wildlife tourism and many other new forms of tourism activities are based on the flora and fauna, in two ways. First

2.1.2. Development of sustainable tourism International tourism is rapidly growing since 1950. The relationship between the tourism and the environment and the attitude of the tourists became an important topic since. The first academic article about the tourism development was published by Turner and Ash (1975, p.127) and the following quotation from the article shows already a critical evaluation about it: Tourism is an invasion outwards from the highly developed metropolitan centres into the uncivilised peripheries. The article demonstrates a very negative evaluation of the tourism development and it also point out,


International Hospitality and Tourism Student Journal 4 (1) 2012 50-62

that actually tourism is the privilege of reach people. Only couple of years later in the 1980s the environmental issues, like global warming, shrinkage of the ozone layer, destroying the rain forest became a popular and everyday topic in media. Due to the awareness about the deleterious effect of the tourism, international action was required (Holden 2008). The strategy of sustainability in the tourism was mentioned and defined in the famous Bruntland Report at the first time. The report also includes some basic sustainable principles (save the flora and fauna), however they are not specific enough to change companies behaviour. Nevertheless, a real action plan was not made it was the first step towards a cleaner, greener, more environment-friendly tourism across the globe. The principles of the sustainable tourism were developed at the beginning of the 1990s, but it does not mean that the industry became more responsible towards the environment. Referring to Bramwell et al (1996) the investments into the tourism facilities were not integrated in the environment. They also say, that the concept of sustainability is not practical enough, it is too scientific. In other words, the principles of the STD were not clear and specific enough to the tourism stakeholders and shareholders to reach its aim. With the flow of the ages the idea of sustainable tourism had already many new trends (see figure 2), without proper policies, regulations.

for that reason it has became the keyword in the environment-friendly tourism development. It is obvious, that international co-operation and overall principles needed to reduce the harmful impacts of the hospitality industry. However, there much more important issues in the world to care about as the economic and financial cries. Therefore, the STD is just an unrealistic idea, an impossible dream, says Swarbrook (1999). 2.1.3. The greening process in the tourism industry Since the 1980s, when tourism started to improve in a radical way, new international organisations, governments, communities, academics have been attempting to put their theoretical ambitions regarding sustainable development into action. The greening process started with creating standards, followed by assessment (Ko 2003) and an agreement, who should control companies performance. However, still the major challenge in the sustainable development of the hotel industry was to define exactly what green means. There are already many standards organisations at national level, like Green Seal in the U.S.A., Green Globe in Australia and at international level the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), but in the present situation standards are still unclear, argues Sherwyn (2010). It is perhaps because of the lack of the basic international agreements. According to Blanco et al (2007), there are some challenges for managers to undertake green policies. The first problem is money. New technologies, but even sustainable standards (like ISO) cost money, what especially small enterprises cannot adapt. Another challenge is that organisations make up an alternative, cheaper solution for environment management, therefore real action is actually not been taken. The UNEP report (2009) gives some hope in the greening process and confirms that some changes happened. investments in renewable energy technologies (wind, solar) grew by 5 % in 2008 due to the economic cries, as it can be seen in figure 3. However, money is not the only one solution for greening. By the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) adopted Global Code of Ethics can be another one. Its aim is to minimize the negative impacts of tourism on the environment and on cultural heritage while maximizing the benefits of tourism in promoting sustainable development (Edgell et al 2008, p. 64). It means a powerful frame for all tourism participants and calls for action. Nevertheless, there is no regulation, which would make compulsory for tourism businesses to follow this principle, therefore it stays only as an optional solution. Font (2001) says, that the biggest problem is, that there is no control above tourism businesses, which call themselves g reen, sustainable, ecofriendly or environment-friendly. This state show clearly the lack of the basic definitions in the STD and raise awareness for a basic problem of the process. Hence, the real greening process of tourism will be only a dream until it will not been taken seriously.

Figure 2: The relationship between sustainable tourism and other terms (Swarbrooke 1999)

There are many principles, which are related to the sustainable development, but none of them is the same. Probably therefore is it so difficult to define exactly sustainable tourism. This paper will analyse only the environment-friendly approach of the sustainable development. The new definition of STD according to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) report (2004, p.5) refers to the environmental, economical and socio-cultural aspects of tourism, with the establishment of a suitable balance between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability. The main aim of this process is to protect the natural treasures of the earth for both present and future generations. Sustainable tourism can be a way to be more social, financial and environmentally responsible, says Naar (2009). Gssling et al. (2002) also confirm that it is a concept, which helps the greening of international tourism industry,


International Hospitality and Tourism Student Journal 4 (1) 2012 50-62

As it was proven above, there is a strong connection between natural environment and tourism. STD is discussed from many professionals and academics, however if tourism firms want to match the growing expectations of traveller towards greening, they have to adapt some new environment-friendly techniques, principles. Therefore are green business strategies the key of the future. The author will speak general about strategies and will not differentiate small and global businesses, profit or nonprofit organisations.

Figure 3: New Investments in Sustainable Energy (UNEP 2009)

2.1.4. International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) ISO has been developing standards for specific processes, products in almost all industries since 1947. In the family of standards, the ISO 14001 is the most wellknown, it is the one, which develops environmental policies for companies worldwide (Sparling et al 2001). According to Boys and Grant (2010), through ISO policies, companies became more productive. It has also positive impact on the overall performance of the organisation, says Nee and Wahid (2010). However, the good purpose of it can turn easily to a casual marketing campaign. Referring to Corbett and Luca (2002) the main reason, why companies go for ISO certification is the overall image, not to improve business performance, productivity or sustainability. The reality behind ISO certificated organisations is that they are more business, than environment orientated. Among motivations to get ISO standards are getting marketing advantage and improving relation with the local community, next to environmental considerations. Businesses use the growing popularity of ISO to generate higher profit and improve the trade flow of the business, argues Potosky and Prakash (2005). Therefore, it is only poor business issue, not an environment one, says Corbett and Kirsch (2000). To improve the sustainable practices is not as important as to get more money. While ISO do not make stricter regulations for example to reduce energy or water use, to reduce CO 2 emission, ISO certificated tourism organisations will not change radical the industry in terms of sustainability. On the other hand, ISO is a profit-based organisation and while its certification is as popular as in the last years, it is hardly to imagine that they will change on the overall concept. 2.1.5. Challenges of green business strategies

Figure 4: Levels of strategy (Thompson and Martin 2005)

Business strategy determines the overall direction of a business. It is the result of a long, complicated planning process. Firms evolved on the field of strategy making in the last decades. They learned how important it is to regularly scan the external environment, to position their business on the market, to develop competitive advantage and to react on changes of the global market (Masanell and Ricart 2009). According to Thompson and Martin (2005), there are three levels of strategy (figure 4). Corporate strategies are valid for the whole organisation, while competitive strategies are diverse policies for each department within the organisation. Functional strategies are activities, which confirm the competitive policies. A strategy involves the corporate portfolio of a business. Nevertheless, another perspective became requirement for businesses in the modern world, which is the STD. It resulted new dimension of strategies, which can be defined as the following:
For the business enterprise, sustainable development means adopting business strategies and activities that meet the needs of the enterprise and its stakeholders today while protecting, sustaining and enhancing the human and natural resources that will be needed in the future (International Institute for Sustainable Development 1992, 1).

The definition highlights that businesses depend on the human and natural resources, which protection has to be part of the business strategy. Even though business sphere takes


International Hospitality and Tourism Student Journal 4 (1) 2012 50-62

greening more serious, shortterm profit thinking, globalisation , economic difficulties and financial aspects are still huge problems in the STD, argues Chris (2003). Greening is the key for tourism to be sustainable in the future. Therefore, to involve the environmental aspects into the business decisions is the first step, but is not the final solution. Chadwick and Garrod (1996) say, that modern business strategies focus too much on the profit to satisfy the interest of share holders, accordingly the environmental aspects are pushed into the background. The motivation to reach sustainability comes either from intern (economic opportunities) or through external influence (government regulation) (figure 5). If there are both, internal and external, motivation at the same time, an organisation is able to change into a sustainable company.

have the biggest responsibility. They have to be innovative, have to communicate effective the new information and have to control the procedure as well. Strategy implementation can be product (special design for reducing resource consumption), process (ISO standards, using green products) and communication practices (regular information to customers and employees), explain Benito and Benito (2004). In the next passage it will be discussed, how affect an auspiciously implemented business strategy the overall business performance. 2.1.7. How greening influence business performances? The idea that green business strategy can be profitable is not new. However, to implement environment-friendly strategies generate discussion among managers, because it can be detrimental to reach the overall goal of profitability, says Gallarotti (1995). In fact, the growing concern of customers about the environmental issues resulted in companies had to change their business strategies and they must provide green products and services, not to lose competitive advantage and market share, sates Hasford (no date). Still, there is not any low or regulation, which would force companies to adapt sustainable production techniques and there is no control, which would exactly define product as green. Clarkson et al (2010) argues, that if companies use environment-friendly products and production methods, they can improve national and international competitiveness. It can be possible, if such firms improve productivity through implementing new technologies and sustainable policies. Consequently, they can produce more, in less time and after all, they can offer lower price, than its competitors. Nevertheless, against greening is the fact, that new energy efficient technical equipments cost extremely high amount, points out Gallarotti (1995), therefore most of companies cannot allow investing in renewable energy sources. On the other hand, through green technologies, standards, policies, companies can improve their environmental performance, customer and staff satisfaction, save money and reduce production costs (Ebenhoh et al. 2000; Pulver 2001; Kantabutra 2006). In other words, greening results in lower prices and better competitiveness on the global market. Travelocity global (2010). Travellers can save up to 30% in more than 160 green hotels in different parts of the world. However, these studies, which try to prove the relation between environmental performance and increasing revenue, can be questioned on the methodological part argue Russo and Fouts (1997). Most of this surveys comes not from reliable sources and therefore it is not clear, if real green business strategies lead to financial success or not (King and Lenox 2001). 2.1.8. Green businesses from the customer point of view Green hotels are not only better for the environment, but even guests prefer them, states Travelocity Global (2010). Referring to the PhoCusWright (2009) survey from the USA 44 % of travellers said that environmental aspects are

Figure 5: Possible motivations to reach sustainability (Bansal and Roth, 2000)

2.1.6. Implementing business strategies Strategy implementation means activities, which are inspired to execute a strategic plan. It is a process, by which strategies and policies are put into action through the development of programs, budget and procedures (Wheelen and Hunger 2004, p.192). After the budgeting, programs make actually strategies into action. The last part is the procedure itself, where the implementation of the programs happens often in a form of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The procedure is the continuation of a strategy planning process and it will reflect in the business performance. The framework of strategy implementation is based on the overall goals and objectives, budget, target and on the management (Cole 2004). However, to carry out a new strategy to the different level of an organization is not easy. The main problems, that can cause the fail of implementation can be, according to Wheelen and Hunger (2006) time, unorganized coordination, attitude of employees, unclear definitions, managers are unable to communicate the tasks or unexpected external changes. With the implementation of a new green strategy, the whole organization change flow of its operations and its image. Therefore, all employees are responsible for the success of the new policies. First of all, It depends, on the instructions of the strategic leader and on the organization culture, argues Thomas and Martin (2005). All managers, employees have to support the mission of a new corporate strategy and have to understand the importance of their individual. For this reason, managers


International Hospitality and Tourism Student Journal 4 (1) 2012 50-62

important by planning a trip. It raises two main issues. Companies are under pressure of international tourists to use environment-friendly policies, what some of them do, on the other hand, many businesses use greening only as a marketing tool, not as a strategy to reach competitive advantage and improve sales performance (Sharma et al. 2010; Kabiraj et al. 2010). Real sustainable aspects are in background, while hotels attract customers only through a false image. It makes the purchasing decisions of costumers more complicated, namely is became unclear, which are real sustainable services, products. Basically, they cannot be sure, if the product they have been chosen is environment-friendly or not. According to Zaman et al (2010), it is also can be called, as green wash. Therefore, traveller started to lose trust towards green businesses in the last years, mostly because the service they purchased did not match their expectations. It can result that customers losing loyalty and try another brand or product. Another issue is, according to Prakash (2002), that many people believe, green products are more expensive. Because of the high price of new technologies, which allow companies to reduce pollution, green products might cost more. The price is still the most important fact in the purchasing decision of consumers. Especially nowdays, when the global economy has difficulties, people try to save as much money they can. In fact, sustainable aspects are only determinant, if the price of the product is low. However, a study from Taiwan raises hope. 4hoteliers web pages (4Hoteliers 2010) state, that over 90 % of restaurant customers in Taiwan willing to pay more for a menu, which were produced using sustainable methods. The financial situation of a country has obviously huge impact on the consumers behaviour. In Europe, in North America or in Australia, people are more concerned about the importance of sustainable development. They realized the opportunity, that they can do something to save the world, as individuals and they still looking for greener options, although for low price. 2.2.1. Greening in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) industry According to Christensen (2007, p.5) a conference that results in a minimal amount of negative environmental impact can be called a green event. It is obvious, that the hospitality and tourism industry rely on the environment. However, while there are many studies about the integration of the lodging sector into the natural environment, there is almost no research about the green practices in the MICE industry. Some writer (Raj and Musgrave 2009; Goldblatt 2010; Laing and Frost 2010;) raised the topic already, but still not enough research has been done, in consideration of the importance of the MICE industry and number of convention centres in the world. Therefore, the author will introduce through some relevant examples couple of sustainable initiatives from the industry. 2.2.2. Vancouver Winter Olympic Games 2010

Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in 2010 was the greenest event in the history of Olympic Games. It was a success of the influence of government policies, environmental sustainable management thinking and the responsible behaviour of the public sector, says Dechy (2010). The overall vision of the Games was to introduce a stronger Canada whose spirit is raised by its passion for sport, culture and sustainability (Vancouver 2010, p.2.) for the world. The message is to organize a fair sport event for the world, which bases on green initiatives. To reach the aim, the Vancouver Olympic Committee decided to innovate in the latest sustainable technologies to save the beautiful natural environment around Vancouver (The Planet Magazine 2008). With the new renewable energy sources like wind, solar or geothermal they successful improved in terms of energy efficiency, state the Classroom Earth web pages (Classroom Earth 2008). Not only the new event centres and stadiums improved the image of Vancouver. The project, to extend the citys greenway network, resulted establishing huge parks and improving infrastructure (hydrogen buses), says Brightbill and Powers (no date). The Vancouver Winter Olympic Games is a very good example how a national government set up a clear goal and implemented its policies. The motivation of the people, seen that actually the leader of the country and the city willing to do something, resulted a national co-operation and a memorable event. 2.2.3. Electro Smog International Festival for Sustainable Immobility It is a new festival, which theme is Sustainable Immobility. Its aim is to criticize the present mobility (travel and transport) system of people and products and to raise awareness about its harmful ecological effect of it in terms of energy needs and pollution. Sustainable Immobility means a new life style, which would link people more to the local society, but would connect them with others around the world through communication technologies instead of travel, as it is stated in the Eyebeam web pages (Eyebeam 2010). It is an international festival, which takes place in many big cities, like Amsterdam, Madrid, New York or London. It brings together environmentalists, technologists, artists, citizens to design together the new sustainable immobility. Referring to Green (2010), there are some basic rules during the festival. The most important is that travel is not allowed! The festival always takes place in two or more cities at the same time, which are connected with on-line network (video + audio) to each other. The festival includes discussions, presentations in related topics, for instant Global perspectives on hyper-mobility and all debates can be followed live through the internet, as it posted on the ElectroSmog web pages (EectroSmog 2010). This project reflects, how can get publicity and media coverage, without investing huge amount of money, through innovative ideas. The festival brings people together from all around the world to share opinion in a very important topic. The biggest limitation of it is most probably that the message does not


International Hospitality and Tourism Student Journal 4 (1) 2012 50-62

reach to all the people on the earth, if we consider that there is no internet connection in many part of the globe. 2.4.3 Oregon Convention Centre (OCC) The OCC is the largest and the greenest convention centre in the Pacific Northwest in USA. OCC was the first convention centre in the USA, which got an internationally recognized green building certification for saving energy, and reducing CO2 emission. Another honour is, for implementing management practices to save water and restore habitat, as it stated on the OCC web pages (Oregon Convention Centre 2010). Both certificates increase the number of sustainable initiatives and make the OCC unique. These environmental-friendly practices differentiate the business from the competitors and improve competitiveness. Just some examples, from the everyday standard sustainability practices according, The OCC Green Briefing Report (2009) are use of renewable energy, water conservation, reduce of paper use or 100 % recycling of plastic plates and coffee cups. However regrettably the example of the OCC is quit unique on the market. In the MICE industry, as in the lodging industry as well, greening used for targeting new market segment. Real action has been seldom taken. It would be advisable to carry out more study about the case of the OCC. There is no academic research about the effectiveness of the business strategy of the OCC, which could help to the MICE industry to improve in term of sustainability. The greening process of the MICE industry started only couple of years ago. However, it goes very slow, firstly because of the many critique around sustainability, secondly because of the lack of financial support. There is a country, which is because of its geographical position, particularly affected by the climate change and global warming. It is a well known tourism destination and also world leader in terms of sustainable events. This country is Australia. 2.3 Sustainability in Australias MICE industry Australia is a well-known international tourist destination with over five million tourist arrivals in 2006 (Blanke and Chiesa 2009). Within Australias hospitality is the MICE industry one of the fastest growing sector. According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) statistic report (2009) Australia is on the prestigious 14th place in the category number of meetings holt per country in world comparison. Even with this incredible tourism statistics, Australia did not lose its neutrality. Referring to Blanke and Chiesa (2009) Australia is on rank 4 with its natural resources on the list of the most World Heritage natural worldwide. To protect its natural treasures, Australia implemented its National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development in (1992). The strategy includes policies start from energy use, transportation, environmental protection, water and waste management etc. There is an individual paragraph for tourism as well, which aims is To develop and manage the tourism industry in a way which conserves its natural resource and built heritage base and

minimises its environmental impacts (Australian Government 2010). Its result is clear. Between 2001 and 2003 energy use has been reduced by 14.2% and gas emission (CO2) decreased by 11.2% referring to the Postscript Report (2003). Especially in Australias most beautiful city, in Melbourne improved the event industry in the most sustainable way. In 2009, after opening of the brand new Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre the city became definitive to lading convention city in Australia and in the world. It is the first Convention Centre on the planet, which was awarded with 6 Green Star environmental rating. It includes fiftytwo meeting rooms, a banquet hall and a 5550+ statate-ofthe-art plenary. The building is world leader in innovative environmental design and sustainability. It was a part of a 1.4 billion AUS $ development strategy of Melbourne city, as it written on the home page of the Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCVB 2010). MCEC has many more awards for innovation and ingenuity (Barnett 2010). Designers applied the newest technologies, like solar hot water system or radiant slab heating and cooling system to reach the highest level of sustainability, as it stated on the web page of the MCEC (MCEC 2010). Renewable energy solutions (like solar cells), special glasses or using the rainwater for toilet flushing and it in the cooling system, are just some of the innovative sustainable techniques of the MCEC. Not only the external architecture is special at the MCEC. The designer used of low CO2 emission and environment-friendly materials, built in the newest audio visual, communication and information technologies. The sustainable innovative design, the newest technologies, the highest comfort level and the protection of the environment make the MCEC a unique example of the MICE industry. However, it is not proven yet that this huge amount of money, which was invested in this beautiful building, allows hosting more events and results higher revenue. If the MCEC can bring its strategy to be a successful enterprise, it can be the model of the future MICE industry. 3. Methodology 3.1. Approach

Due to the complexity of the research topic and the need of the confidential business information, the writer decided to choose mixed method approach. It includes quantitative and qualitative research. The advantage of using mix method is that the research combines theoretical and technical aspects (Rocco et al 2003; Finn et al. 2000). To analyse the effectiveness and difficulties by the implementation of the new business strategy of the MCEC, the author is going to use qualitative research approach. Referring to Phillimore and Goodson (2004), qualitative research is the best method to collect data about events, occurrences and behaviours, to have better understanding of problems and processes. To investigate the influence of the green business strategy on the guests of the MCEC, the best choice is to use quantitative method. According to Vanderstoep and Johnston (2009), the


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primary advantage of the quantitative research approach is that it is a larger statistical sample, which reflects the populations opinion. 3.2. Sampling The main aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the new business strategy applied at the MCEC. The research will be conducted mostly in Melbourne, in the new building of the MCEC. Regarding the first and second objectives, non-probability sampling will be selected. Referring to Kelley et al. (2003), this approach is typically used at appraising work and targets individuals within the population. It helps to find out detailed information about business results, and problems by the implementation of the business strategy. A more specific technique is the purposive nonrandom sampling. It is also called judgement sampling and with this method the researcher decides what needs to be known and sets out to find people who can and are willing to provide the information (Bernard 2002). To reach the first objective, the author is going to ask the top management, by the second objective he is going to look for the top management and the employees of the MCEC as well. To find out the challenges of the strategy implementation, the researcher is going to make interviews with employees in several departments and in different position. To investigate the customers perspective, the writer decided to use random sampling. It means picking some participants out of the total possible participants (Vanderstoep and Johnston 2009), in this case from the guests of the MCEC. 3.3. Data Collection The data collection method includes interviews with the top management and employees of the MCEC and questionnaires with the random selected guest of events. Nonstandardized interviews include either semi-structured or unstructured (indepth) interviews. These are often used by qualitative research (King 2004). To approach the top management and employees of the MCEC, the author going to use face to face, semistructured interviews. To complete this study he has no other choice, because this organisation is too new to have research information from media or other channels. Especially to reach the second objective, secondary research might not fulfil the study, since the researcher has difficulties to find similar cases of other companies. Therefore, semi-structured interviews seem to be the best solution. It means, that he will have a list of themes and equations, but the interviews structure can be different from people to people (Saunders et al. 2009), depends which department the researcher going to ask. Referring to Harrell and Bradley (2009), the benefits of this type of interview is the overall control. It should result collecting a wide and detailed range of data, however the author has to ask to right questions to collect the right information to his survey (Silverman 2007). Finally, the writer will give questionnaires randomly to the guest of the MCEC to find out, how the green

infrastructure and business strategy influenced their decision to host an event in the MCEC. He will use specific and closed questions, which can help to find out detailed information, opinions (Saunders et al. 2009). Therefore, the questions will be rated from 1 (not at all) to 5 (most important), which technique is often used in studies to collect opinion data, states Corbetta (2003). The author plans to give out maximum two hundred questionnaires during his study. The researchers expectation about this research is to prove that the sustainable business strategy of the MCEC brings more and more customers. The people are aware about the importance of the environment-friendly issues and the author assumes that the green infrastructure and policies of the MCEC influence their decision, where to organize an event. Through the new guests, the MCEC increases its profit and run as a successful organisation. 3.4. Validity and reliability Referring to Lancaster (2005), validity is simply the criteria of data quality. It is a complex concept and includes for example content validity, internal and external validity or statistical validity (Burns 2000). With the mixed research approach (qualitative and quantitative) the author will have a wider range of information and especially with the face to face interviews the study will be provided with valid information from reliable sources. Reliability, according to Beings (2004) measures the consistency and reproducibility of the collected data during the research. Research participants from the top management might be too busy to pay attention during the interview or the guests of an event can be too tired to fill out the questionnaire with full interest. 3.5. Generalisability According to Blair and Zinkhan (2006), generalisability means, if the data, which was found through the research, can be extended and reflected to other companies or not. The research findings cannot be generalized in this case, because the infrastructure and business strategy of the MCEC is unique. The result cannot be compared with other convention centres, however the findings can be very important for all event organisations in the world. 3.6. Ethical issues Cooper and Schindler (2008, p.34) describes ethical issue as the norms or standards of behaviour that guides moral choices about our behaviour and our relationship with others. Therefore, the author might face ethical issues during carrying out the primary research. The writer tries to investigate and evaluate confidential internal information through qualitative research. If the financial report of the MCEC is not positive, the manager might not speak about it, because it is again the business ethic. Therefore they avoid to take any action, which bad for the company image (Fieser no date).


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3.7. Limitations To find out internal information about the business performance of the MCEC, the researcher has to make an appointment with the top managers, who might not be in the city in that time or they just simply do not have time to meet the author. Another limitation can be, that because of the vary prcised detailed information the interview participant might not give all the answers for the questions. Even, if the writer gets the answers, they might be kept as an anonymous research, therefore the result cannot be published. Last, but not least, if the author manage to publish the findings, it cannot be generalized, because of the unique business model of the MCEC. However, the biggest limitation is that the author can carry out only secondary research. Therefore, the limitations, mentioned above, can affect the research result and degrade the quality of this study (Veal 2006). 4. Discussion As it was noted earlier, the author was not able to carry out primary research. Therefore, the discussion of the findings, which will be divided according the tree objectives, based on the assumptions and findings of the secondary research. The study suggests that green business strategies influence in a positive way a companys financial performance, improve productivity, help to save money and lead to better competitiveness. 4.1. To analyze how the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre implemented its green infrastructure into the business strategy The existing sustainable infrastructure of the MCEC is a huge advantage, using the available sources effectively is the key of the overall success. By implementing the new strategy, new policies will be put into action and the whole organisation from the top to the bottom have to understand them. Therefore, the strategic leaders, who can be in this case the project manager, the general manager or the directors of operations, have the overall responsibility how the organisation in the MCEC will be structured and designed to reach the overall aim and objectives after implementing a new strategy (De Wit and Meyer 1994; Thompson and Martin 2005). Coordination, allocation of the responsibilities and communication of tasks are the main jobs of an innovative management team, argues Wells (2000). Although the upper management control the changes, the new policies have to reach the bottom line as well. The major reason, why strategic planning fails to achieve its goal is because it was not carrying out properly to the workforce into the daytoday operations, says (Wheelen and Hunger 2006). After analyzing the literature, it can be assumed, that strategy implementation process of the MCEC was a very complicated process and the management team most probably faced many difficulties. It takes after all time and need patience, until the all the employee of the MCEC learn to use the sources with maximum efficiency. The integration of the business strategy

was most probably assisted with regular trainings, education and proper standards. Although all of these practices help to reach the aim of the strategy the MCEC must regularly control the implementation process and respond on the weaknesses (Dess et al. 2008). The motivation to work for the greenest Convention Centre of the world can be helpful to come over the problems and implement the strategy successful. 4.2. To evaluate the effectiveness of the business strategy applied at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Australia The greening process of the tourism industry is not equal on the globe. For instance, there are developing countries, where the process did not even start yet and there are the western, developed countries, where sustainable development became the newest trend and has huge publicity. Probably therefore, people are aware of the importance of environmentfriendly practices and they looking for green solutions, while planning a trip, state PhoCusWright web pages (PhoCusWright 2009). Consequently, the market changed and green travellers are the newest and the fastest growing target audience among service providers. This trend is definitely an opportunity for the MCEC. In same surveys it is already proven, that people willing to pay even more, to use green products and services (4Hoteliers 2010; Schubert 2008; Ferraro et al. 2010). However, it does not mean that the prices of the MCEC would be higher, then its competitors. In fact, sustainable technologies by using less or renewable energy sources help to reduce production costs, therefore the MCEC can offer lower prices with a higher profit margin in comparison its competition. In addition sustainable development benefits productivity, and improves national and international competitiveness as well (Hesse 2007 ; Nelson 2007; Clarkson et al 2010) and can differentiate the MCEC from other convention centres at any part of the world. Basically its green infrastructure and environmental friendly policies make the MCEC unique on the market. It can be assumed, that it is a huge business opportunity and can easily lead to success. The green business strategy of the MCEC can be very profitable and an example for all tourism businesses. However, it will possibly take time for the MCEC to get back its investment. 4.3. To investigate the importance of the green business strategy from the consumers perspective People are aware of the danger of the climate change and global warming on the most part of the world. In the last years, this topic is more discussed, then ever before. It has been already proven, that the tourism has many negative impact on the natural environment (Lickorish and Jenkins 1997; Cooper et al. 2005; Holden 2008) and therefore, it is directly responsible for the climate change. Australia is strongly affected from the global warming as well. The question for most of the people in Australia and in the world can be, what they can do as individuals, against this global problem. The appearance of the STD principles offered a


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solution for many million people to save the planet. Consequently, sustainable aspects became more and more important among tourists. The author assumes that the MCEC target both, international as domestic guests. Many organisations saw a business opportunity in the greening process and most of them used it as a marketing tool to attract more consumers (Sharma et al. 2010; Kabiraj et al. 2010). According to Raj and Musgrave (2009), previous experiences can be involved, what customers think about sustainable products. The importance of the green issues became every day topic in the global media. Therefore, people look for environmentalfriendly products and they also willing to pay more for them, as it was discussed in a previous section. However, it is possible, that because of the green washing, when companies simply state green, without any sustainable background, costumers lose trust and interest. After evaluating the different perspectives the author assumes, that sustainable aspects are still very important for consumers. He thinks, that people choose the services of the MCEC, because if its sustainable practices and probably lower prices. Furthermore, because of its unique infrastructure, MCEC is a popular location not only for national, but also for international events. 5. Conclusion and recommendations Todays hospitality industry is strongly connected with the environment. The overall impacts of the tourism on the natural resources is still discussed, nevertheless already many studies proved the connection between the globalization of the tourism and changes in the ecosystem. The STD resulted changes in companies management behaviour. The aim of the author with this research was to analyze the effects of the green business strategy of the MCEC, however because of the lack of the primary research the findings of the study base only on secondary research. After evaluating the existing literature, the writer can conclude, that the business strategy of MCEC together with its sustainable infrastructure differentiates the organisation on the international event market, what can result national and international competitiveness. Therefore, the author assumes, that it has all the chance to became a very successfully enterprise even with the consideration, how difficult it is to integrate a new strategy. In fact, there is no reliable and available information to compare its strategy with other companies. Namely this gap gave the writer the main inspiration to carry out this study. On the other hand, STD formed the perceptions of tourism companies mainly because of the need of traveller changed in the last decades. Tourists became more aware of the importance of sustainable practices and started to look for green solutions by planning a holiday. Although many firms used the new trend only as a marketing tool to attract new customers and hereby almost destroyed the image of STD, people in many part of the world favour still environmentfriendly products and services. In fact, the answer on how the new corporate business strategy effects the financial performance of the MCEC, base only on the

assumption of the author, therefore it is suggested to carry out the primary research. To carry out this research would be definitely very interesting, especially considering the fact, that there is almost no reliable study on this field. Therefore, the author suggests first of all to make more studies about the financial result of sustainable businesses. The aim of the author was to introduce to the reader the present situation of the STD and raise awareness on the unique example of the MCEC. The tourism industry needs to improve a lot on the field of greening. As a first step, the researcher would recommend, that for instant the National Tourism Organisation set up an overall mission and goal, which way the industry should improve. Furthermore, he requires international co operation, agreements, overall sustainable standards and most importantly stricter control above the green, sustainable, eco-friendly and environmental-friendly businesses. Tourism is a global phenomenon, however there is no organisation, which would supervise the STD on each part of the world. Specially with the awareness of the direct impact of the tourism on climate change and global warming, would the author recommend a much more responsible behaviour from al the tourism participants. Huge international hotel chains, like Marriott or Hilton, should show example with investing more in green techniques. Education and training of managers would also improve business performances and productivity. On the other hand, control, regulation and support should be required already at national level as well, with an overall international supervision. Governments could assist the establishment of green businesses for example with tax preferences, low interest credits or with financial support. It is obvious, that the economic difficulties and the global financial problems do not help the STD. To reach a higher level of sustainability, use of the newest energy friendly technologies would be needed to reduce the level of pollutions of tourism businesses. Environmental-friendly policies and standards are already improvement, however they are just not effective enough to save the natural treasures of the planet. As a conclusion, the author hopes that with a possibly positive result of the primary research, the MCEC could be an example for the whole tourism industry to be followed.

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