How Can Academia Plant the Seeds of Sustainability in Future Managers?
By Dina Zemke Assistant Professor William f. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas | April 26, 2015
Co-authored by Shinyong Jung, a Ph.D. student and Graduate Assistant studying Hospitality Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Initially suspected to be a passing fad, the sustainability movement now appears to be firmly entrenched in our customers' expectations and is increasingly embedded in hospitality management. Since this is a highly visible element of business today, the question that hospitality programs have is how can we better prepare our students to meet the hospitality industry's needs for future managers who can meet the need to provide sustainable business operations and service?
Why Should We Turn Our Eyes to Students Who Are the Future Leaders In Sustainability?
Investing on future leaders is well worth it when weighed against long-term gain. The public's interest in what is now called the sustainability movement has existed for more than four decades, beginning with the ecology movement in the 1960s and 70s. Industry interest in this area has always existed, although it usually waxed and waned in concert with energy availability and prices.
A shift occurred around fifteen years ago, however, when "green" products and services began to get traction in the public's mind. Today, while sustainability has a ubiquitous presence in advertising and companies use a commitment to sustainability as a unique selling proposition, it would be easy to believe that this is a trend that will run its course in due time. However, some aspects of sustainability will exist long after public interest wanes.
For example, cities and other municipal authorities are increasingly requiring green certification of new construction and major renovation projects. Energy consumption reporting is being mandated as well. The regulatory requirements will make it unlikely that sustainability initiatives will disappear completely.
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