Are Doomsday Predictions Just an Overestimated Motivation Factor for Executives, Team Members and Guests?

By Jan Peter Bergkvist Owner, SleepwellAB | April 26, 2015

The awkward feeling we all have in the pits of our stomachs that something is fundamentally wrong with the way we run our planet is slowly moving up to our brains and increasingly we're realizing that we all need to become part of the solution, instead of continuing to contribute to the problems of an unsustainable world.
Welcome to Anthropocene; this oil-fired age where mankind has, during the last 150 years or so, initiated unstoppable systemic changes, changes which are already affecting us. Weather catastrophes as a result of climate change are on the increase; rates of cancer are higher than ever before and let's not forget the negative effects on our collective reproductive ability, caused by the uncontrolled spread of hormone-disrupting and persistent chemicals. Or the fact that we are, in an organized and industrialized way, chopping down the metaphorical branch upon which we perch; through overharvesting our forests, our oceans and our crop fields.

If this havoc were wreaked to ensure that all on earth could meet their needs we might have a case, but alas, they are not. This is our reality. What's more terrifying is that we haven't yet crested the peak of this destructive wave. Every minute of every day we build on these problems. Environmentalists and the sustainability collective have preached this message for decades and, with an increasingly louder and louder voice, the truth of their message is finally being heard. But change is slow to come.

Why is that? Are we stupid, ignorant or evil? No, absolutely not.! We all want to survive and we want our kids to survive but our understanding of how it all works together is lacking – not to mention the motivation to make it right. There are robust scientific definitions of how to run a sustainable planet on a fundamental level, such as The Natural Step framework. Easy to understand and easy to apply on a Monday morning, at work or at home. Even better – it can be explained in an easy way. But apparently this is not enough.
The threats are still too far in the future, or too remote geographically, so we often chose the easy way out and continue as we always have.

Business as Usual is No Longer an Option

So what is the secret that unlocks our creative and imaginative drive to transform our lives to sustainability? I am convinced that art, in all its forms, could help us accelerate the journey towards a sustainable future. Art and culture, whether that's performing arts (theatre, film, rap, poetry, dance…) or painting, sculpture or literature; they all have one thing in common - the magic ability to create a vision of a future reality far removed from the one we're stuck in today. But we can't do it alone. We need help to paint this picture of a sustainable version of our life; one that we long for and strive to achieve.

The French author Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said: "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood or assign them tasks and work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless immensity of the sea."

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.