Going Green with Mutually Beneficial Programs
By Ayrlea A Manchester Executive Assistant & Sustainability Supervisor, Bellstar Hotels & Resorts | April 26, 2015
It is no big secret that 'going green' and sustainable practices within the hotel and lodging industry are slowly becoming more appealing and are now often a determining factor for travelers when they are selecting accommodation. In this day and age, acquiring a reputation for being an eradicator of the environment can truly be your demise.
Hotels operating with green initiatives in place are on the right track and can undoubtedly have an advantage over their competitors. There are great social and economic benefits to be gained by implementing green initiatives, as well as the obvious benefits to the environment. These green programs, when applied and practiced correctly can be mutually beneficial and quite lucrative.
I have been introduced to, and begun working for a company which is operating under a sustainability plan for all of their resorts; under this environmental umbrella are a number of initiatives differing in size, scale and intention. Across all of their resorts in Alberta and British Columbia, they implement sustainability programs and initiatives that have been carefully selected, ensuring the majority are mutually beneficial; benefitting the environment, while also profiting our guests and ourselves. With successful sustainability practices in place, a company should eventually produce simultaneous financial, social and environmental advantages. It is these programs that can help mitigate the direct and indirect environmental impacts of hotels and resorts.
Individually, hotels do not typically have a large ecological footprint or any drastic negative impacts on the environment. However, with travel and tourism being one of the biggest industries in the world, it is the industry as a whole which can be exponentially wasteful and over-consuming to the highest degree. Hotels are increasingly being regulated for energy use, carbon emissions, water and waste. Why not introduce a program that helps protect our environment by regulating these usages, while symbiotically benefitting you socially and financially.
I will bring to your attention an exemplary example of a mutually beneficial sustainability program you can implement in your hotel. This is a program which is fairly well renowned in the green community and has been gaining more and more support; EcoStay™. This program strives to offset the carbon footprint of participating properties. A national initiative, EcoStay™ assists partnering hotels in measuring their carbon footprint as well as funding reduction strategies and additional sustainable actions. In order for a guest to have a carbon neutral stay, they are asked to pay a green fee of $2 per night.
These fees are used to purchase carbon offsets in support of emission reducing projects, such as energy efficiency, recycling and compost, and renewable energy. All of this makes your guests' night at your hotel completely 'carbon neutral'; very beneficial for our environment. In having each guest pay their $2 per night, your hotel or resort get 25% of each $2 green fee, which goes into an allotted "green fund." The money collected in this green fund then comes back around to benefit you, your guests and the environment as the money is used for sustainable purchases.