Trends in Green Hotels:
Efficiency and Well-Being for Today's Guests, ROI for Operators
By Joshua Zinder, AIA Managing Partner, JZA+D | May 24, 2015
*Co-authored by Faith Taylor, Corporate Social Responsibility Program, Wyndham Worldwide *
Over the past few years, the words "green" and "sustainable" seem to have exited the cultural climate. But it would be a mistake to assume that environmentally sustainable practice had been merely a fleeting craze or fad. To the contrary, the popular concern with green practice appears to have seeped into the culture and taken root. Sustainable design and operation have come to be expected as baselines for responsibility and ethics in business practice of most kinds.
Consider that socially responsible investing accounts for more than $6 trillion as of the end of 2013-roughly one in every six dollars invested under professional management-and growing. This trend gave rise to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and other like indices, tracking the environmental, social and governance metrics of publicly traded companies and requiring them to report on their performance.
In the hospitality sector specifically, large corporate customers increasingly request bookings at green hotels and resorts. Also, Requests for Proposals from developers that specify the goal of sustainable design and practice represent billions of dollars in new and renovated properties. Globally sustainable practice tends to be a much higher priority, especially in Europe and the Americas, and eco-tourism represents $77 billion annually, and growing.
Embracing sustainability is not just about staying competitive. It's also about doing the right thing. But it is certainly worth noting that the two are increasingly seen as linked. The "triple bottom line"-people, planet and profit-is the ascendant model for corporate responsibility because sustainability, associated with long-term thinking, is as good for end-users as for shareholders.
Consider how important it is, for instance, for large companies to engage in comprehensive tracking of energy consumption. Identifying trends in consumption can help set sustainability goals, which drives down both costs and environmental impact. And in many cases, reduced environmental impact may earn rewards such as grants or tax credits. In the hospitality sector, demonstrating a commitment to reducing energy costs can attract potential operators, driving growth. Plus, creating a positive 'green' profile can be a point of pride for associates, and even a recruiting tool for attracting top-tier candidates who may prefer to work in a sustainability-minded corporate environment.