Green Trends: Considerations for Leading Hospitality Companies

By Bob Chasnow Attorney, Holland & Knight | February 13, 2010

No doubt about it - from major corporations like DuPont, Caterpillar, and BP are lobbying President Bush to develop mandatory carbon emission caps to Walmart CEO Lee Scott's bold pledge to use 100 percent renewable energy and produce zero waste - companies are taking significant green steps. As Thomas Friedman, a New York Times editorialist states, "Green is ... the [growth] industry of the 21st century."

However, hotel and resort companies have many questions about how best to invest time and resources toward joining the growing green movement. Namely, what exactly is the green/sustainability movement, and how does it relate to the hotel and resort development business?

Sustainability Makes Business Sense

With environmental compliance now a global issue, many companies possess environmental management systems, some developed around international compliance standards (e.g., the International Standards Organization's (ISO) 14001 standards). These formal environmental management systems can yield significant benefits, including environmental compliance, which can reduce legal costs and liabilities.

Environmental management programs that move beyond compliance efforts can yield significant benefit to a company's bottom-line by increasing focus on cutting current costs through reducing inputs and waste. For example, Walmart saved $3.5 million in transportation costs in 2005 simply by eliminating excess packaging on the company's Kid Connection toy line.

Buildings Are the Hotel Industry's Greatest Source of Impact

Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.