An article from The Asian Hotel & Catering Times, September 2010
Hotel guests are often sceptical about many of the hotel industry’s green initiatives, says Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance’s (LRQA) Vice President in Sustainability, Richard Gunawan.
He says that to create a deeper sense of responsibility about protecting the environment, hotels need to “gain buy-in” from their staff and also their guests. Sustainable development must meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability to meet the needs of future generations. At the heart of sustainable development are environmental protection, economic development and social justice.
For the hotel industry this translates into building greener properties, and improving the quality of life for employees and local communities to ensure that business will thrive and last.
“Often a hotel’s green drive - that plants a forest or starts a recycling drive or tries to cut down on laundry – can be seen as oneoff and short term,” says Gunawan. “On the other hand, ISO 14001 is for the long-term and it’s quantifiable. When a hotel can measure results over a year, three years and five years, then it’s clear that the property is in environmental management for the long-term.”
As one of the leading global companies engaged in assessing and certifying business processes and products to internationally recognised standards, LRQA works with hotels on programmes that cover quality management and food hygiene too such as ISO 9001, ISO 28000, plus OHSAS 18001, as well as ISO 14001which certifies environment management systems.
Gunawan explains the strengths of ISO 4001: “Fundamentally it shows the organization wants to make a difference – that they are taking environmental issues seriously and that environmental management is becoming part of the organization’s culture. This Green-washing builds cynicism in both staff and guests, which may damage the brand, so how can hotels convince stakeholders they are sincere?
Ruth Williams investigates will increase profile and improve reputation and it also drives staff retention. Staff are hard to kid. They may be cynical of a property’s ‘green laundry’ scheme, but this is different — having this certification shows that an organization is formally trying to do the right thing.”
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Selling Sustainability article, The Asian Hotel & Catering Times, September 2010 (pdf, 643kb)