A Look at Green Legislation, Nearly One Year into the New Administration

By Jim Poad Director of Client Solutions, Advantage IQ | November 18, 2009

Obama’s election to the presidency came with the promise of sweeping policy change. A point of focus for the new administration was the climate; protecting it from the dangerous emissions that are released into the atmosphere at an alarming rate.

Now nearly one year into the President’s first term, the new administration has taken action that is considered long overdue by many. They have introduced legislation that will regulate the release of greenhouse gases (GHG). The US is the last industrialized, developed country to address regulating these gases and was only recently overtaken by China as the largest GHG emitter in the world.

These new environmental protection policies come in the form of the Climate Bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on June 29, 2009. The legislation is designed to reduce the US carbon emissions by 17% (from 2005 levels) by 2020. It is believed that this bill will become law in the fall of 2009.

As the bill currently sits, there are three primary ways this legislation will impact businesses.

Power Prices/CO2e Emissions

Facilities that emit greater than 25,000 tonnes of carbon per year will be regulated. Primarily, these include electrical generators, refineries, chemical, metal, and cement plants. Those businesses below that mark will see the trickle down effect; higher energy costs resulting from the money those larger emitters must spend to clean up their production process.

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Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.