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Environmental management in hotels
David Kirk The hospitality industry exposes many of the conflicts which arise when implementing environmental policies Introduction
Initially, concern about the environment was related to those industries which caused direct pollution of the environment through their effluents and discharges. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, environmental pressures have come to affect a wider range of industries until now most industries are affected. At the same time, the concern has now become much broader, relating not only to outputs of the operation but to the whole system, including inputs and processes[1, p. 14]. The hospitality industry is an interesting case in that it exposes many of the conflicts which arise when implementing environmental policies. First, many hotels and restaurants are situated in areas of outstanding natural beauty, in historic cities and in areas with a delicate ecological balance. The addition of new hospitality facilities may attract visitors to areas which already suffer from too much tourism. For this reason there are often serious planning constraints when developing a new hospitality facility. Second, many of the customers who seek hospitality services do so expecting to be pampered, with lashings of hot water, high-pressure showers, freshly laundered linen, an ample supply of towels, copious supplies of food and drink, the availability of swimming pools and saunas and the limousine to take them to the airport. Clearly, whatever is done to reduce waste can only be done either with the consent of the customers or in such a way that they do not notice any deterioration of service. Third, the customer visits the location of the hospitality operation, which is fixed by customers’ needs and therefore cannot always be sited where there will be minimized effect from traffic, cooking smells and the noise of the disco. This local environmental pollution may not be an issue on the scale of those considered by the Rio
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 7 No. 6, 1995, pp. 3-8 © MCB University Press Limited, 0959-6119
Conference, but it does affect people’s attitudes towards the industry. The hospitality industry is not one which causes gross environmental pollution nor does it consume vast amounts of non-renewable resources and therefore it may not be in the front line for environmental concern. It is made up of a large number of small operations, each of which consumes relatively small amounts of energy, water, food, paper and other resources, and each of which adds only a small amount of pollution to the environment in terms of smoke, smell, noise and chemical pollutants. However, if the impact of all of these small individual operations is added together the industry does have a significant effect on global resources. This is the dilemma – how can we persuade companies involved in the hospitality industry (many of them small independent operators) to take environmental management seriously? Will the push of legislation, the pull of consumer pressure groups, together with the financial savings which can result from reducing waste, force all companies to take environmental management seriously? This article reviews some of the developments within the industry as examples of responsible environmental management, and investigates some of the attitudes of managers involved in the hotel industry in the city of Edinburgh. The main themes for discussion are: q What is the balance between global policies and local action? q How are general concerns translated into individual action? q How much will companies contribute to the “cost” of protecting the environment? These last two points are particularly difficult to answer in the case of small operations, such as are the majority of hotels and restaurants. Many individual operations may feel that they are too small to have any real effect, that these services are very price sensitive, and that the customer would soon go elsewhere if asked to pay any of the cost of environmental management.
Sustainable development. 18]. q 1990: European Environmental Agency. q 1993: UK National Sustainability Plan. Some of the milestone events in recent environmental history include: q 1956: Clean Air Act. Principles of environmental management The principles of environmental management have been established in the framework of British Standard BS 7750: Environmental Management Systems. This article concentrates on the management of existing hospitality operations in a manner which is sensitive to the principles of sound environmental management. or are being. not be effective in inducing change. which has many parallels to ISO 9000 on Quality Management Systems. q implementing management systems. the interest of environmentalists Global and national interest and the development of policy will.4 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT 7. which should cover general principles including a total commitment at all levels of the organization. The suggested stages are: q formulating environmental policy. q 1987: Bruntland Report (sustainable development). This affects both shareholders and consumers [1. There is a need for global policy making and target setting. Many of these have been. q preparing a register of environmental effects. and pollution. q determination of responsibilities within the organization. q 1973: formation of Green Party. q 1987: Treaty of Rome. q 1990: White Paper on Environmental Strategy. q carrying out an environmental review.6 Environmental management is a broad term. q national environmental policies. Environmental problems must be tackled at all of these levels. p. q performing regular systems reviews based on performance. sustainability. q 1987: HM Inspectorate of Pollution. The first step in this process is usually considered to be the development of a written environmental policy. we have a moral duty to look after our planet and to hand it on in good order to future generations . The European Union has brought in a large number of Directives which relate to the management of the environment. such as the Montreal Protocol of 1987. This standard. may be defined in a number of ways: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (3) public opinion. implemented as national policies. the protection of biological systems. cultural. q establishing objectives and targets. q local action. since many are now being measured not only on their financial performance but also on their responsibility towards the environment. (5) financial advantages resulting from saving resources. q 1972: publication of “Limits to Growth”. which is one of the cornerstones of environmental management. There are five main forces for change: (1) legislation and codes. Initial concern was with gross pollution caused by the discharge of toxic materials. q commissioning periodic environmental audits. (2) fiscal policies. covering a broad range of areas from the maintenance of physical resources. q ensuring total commitment of all in the organization. outlines a number of stages in establishing these procedures in any organization. rather than on issues concerned with the building of new hotels and restaurants. Global and national policies and actions It is possible to consider environmental management as a hierarchy of policies and actions: q global environmental policies. developed a concern not only with the outputs of industry but also with the input side of the equation with the realization that stocks of many raw materials were being depleted at an unsustainable rate. covering issues such as: environmental impact (aesthetic. However. resource management. Environmental management is also important to the individual company. by itself. together . q 1992: Rio Earth Summit Conference. q 1987: Montreal Protocol (CFC emissions). (4) consumer pressure. plant and animal species and natural habitats and the preservation of cultures. q responsibility of business. ecological and social). q 1974: Control of Pollution Act. q 1970: Department of Environment established. which set targets for CFC emissions. Environmental management can be traced back at least 40 years to the post-war years when the expansion of industry was seen to be causing damage to the environment and to the health of people.
75 per cent of customers said they were environmentally minded consumers and . the adoption of environmental policies must come from the top. As an example. and the involvement of partners. This forced McDonald’s to develop green policies[1. For example. q There are a number of specific issues which relate to environmental management of the hospitality industry. What damage do hotels do to the environment? The industry consumes valuable raw materials such as energy. water. particularly those in the service sector. Environmental management in the hospitality industry There was not all that much interest in environmental management in the hospitality industry until the development of the International Hotels Environment Initiative. servicing companies. has as its main objective the aim to provide practical and low-cost means by which hospitality companies can: q commit themselves to undertaking environmental improvements. 16-17]. Because of location. q only use land-fill disposal as last resort. 11 major international hotel chains agreed to work together. This company was confronted with a whole range of issues related to animal rights. An environmental management system can be seen as having a number of linked aspects: (1) Purchasing policies: q develop partnerships with suppliers. CFCs. From this it is possible to identify a number of areas for improvement which can be defined in terms of precise targets against which achievement can be monitored. According to Feiertag. 40-7]. noise. control and communication[1. q the segregate of waste which can be recycled. the use of soap and shampoo dispensers may reduce waste but may be contrary to customer expectations. The hospitality industry is not a dirty industry in the sense that it causes gross pollution or releases toxic materials into the environment. public opinion and consumer pressures can have a significant effect. (2) Waste management: q minimize waste in operations. There are a number of undesirable emissions. q reuse as much waste as possible. and q demonstrate their commitment through a publicly recognized green globe logo. the example of McDonald’s demonstrates the force of environmental pressure. To be totally effective. has a strong identity with the local community and is often a part of the local tourism product. Without a commitment at the highest level of the company. pp. there are those that relate to the customer. There are also issues about the environmental health of staff. Whilst this last point may not seem to be important. smoke. At this time. In addition to legislation and local codes. comfort and indulgence. More recently. q choose products with sensible packaging. tropical rain forest destruction and damage to the ozone layer caused by CFCs in packaging materials. this vision must be converted into clear objectives and targets together with effective monitoring. based on international guidelines. smells. The industry wastes energy. including suppliers. the Hotel Catering & Institutional Management Association (HCIMA) and the World Travel and Tourism Council have established an initiative on environmental management awareness. based on international best practice. the overall consumption of gas by UK hotels for heating and hot water results in 5 million tons of CO2 emissions every year and costs £130 million each year. customers and the local community. (3) Waste disposal: q establish partnerships with disposal companies. receive expert help in environmental management techniques. water. in an attempt to identify consumer attitudes to hospitality and the environment. codes and company standards. In a survey of frequent travellers. First. food. Some of these issues may seem to be relatively unimportant and yet are significant when added together. Do guests want green hotels? There have been a number of surveys in the USA. Some companies are starting to incorporate environmental values in their mission statements. To be effective. q ensure disposal methods are sound. the identification of responsibility within the organization. known as “Green Globe”. pp. The programme. it is unlikely that ideas developed throughout the organization will flourish. which was launched by the Prince of Wales. Second. food and packaging and many of these waste materials require disposal.ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN HOTELS 5 with: strategies for complying with laws. The next step is to conduct an environmental audit of the organization. wood and plastics. The first practical outcome was the development of a manual on environmental management for hotels. who visits the establishment as a part of the experience and who may arrive with images of luxury. including CO 2 . q identify sustainable products. the industry may encourage the use of the private car rather than public transport. a number of US hotel groups have generated consumer interest by having environmental policies and operations. the business usually has a local customer base. It is typical of many small companies.
6 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT 7. easy-to-achieve projects. of whom 53 replied. a response rate of 37 per cent. one describes the InterContinental Hotel at Hyde Park Corner. It is advisable to leave high investment projects until the principles have been accepted and benefits established. A survey in 1987 indicated that 33 per cent of hotel groups had invested in computerized energy management and/or property management systems. The first issue raised was. where there are clear motivations in terms of financial savings. Of the hotels that replied to the survey. In the UK. q reuse – reuse the material with no processing. recovering heat from refrigeration equipment. Much of this waste can be controlled through sound management practices. air-conditioning and ventilation systems are the highest cost areas (29 per cent) followed by lighting (21 per cent) and catering (15 per cent). However there have been some interesting pilot schemes whereby guests to a locality are encouraged to contribute to local environmental protection schemes. These figures represent a high monetary value because of high value-added associated with the waste of prepared food. in conjunction with the Building Research Establishment. stored and cooked. Another example is the Forte Crest Hotel in West Yorkshire which converted to energy-efficient lighting to reduce energy costs by 45 per cent and replacement costs by 85 per cent. It also represents a waste of energy because the food has been transported. The concept of hotel classification based on environmental testing has also been developed in some areas such as Thailand.11]. Research in the US indicates that customers are not willing to pay extra to fund green policies[10. sound environmental management can reduce costs. This raises the interesting question of whether environmental management will increase the operating costs. Once progress has been made and confidence established. This was seen to be important because of the central role of a written policy. The list below shows a hierarchy of waste minimization going from the most desirable form of disposal at the bottom. Waste management and waste disposal has been another area of concern. These case studies show that in hotels there is a wide variation in energy costs in the UK. q recycle – recover material for reuse. In addition to energy consumption in heating. Most of these had started this policy . They project that is possible to make 5 per cent savings through good housekeeping measures and 10 per cent savings by using relatively low-cost measures. eliminate waste. q incinerate – recover energy content. A similar figure for hospital catering departments was 30 per cent. According to this brief: Every business should have a policy statement which should as a minimum make a commitment to: the concept of sustainable development. This means starting with a programme of staff training together with the initiation of low-cost.000 per bedroom per year. catering areas can also be prolific consumers of energy. the Energy Efficiency Office ( funded by the Department of Environment). from £300 to £1. energy management systems on boilers and staff awareness campaigns. to the least desirable at the top: q landfill – most damaging. practical action to protect the environment. ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) applications. Most examples of successful environmental management are in the area of energy management. “Do the hotels have a policy statement?”.5 per cent of edible food was wasted. Indeed. which was able to reduce energy consumption from 870 kWh/m2/ annum to 575 kWh/m2/annum between 1980 and 1992. Heating. has developed a programme on energy efficiency in the hotel and catering industry . Taking food waste as an example. research in the late 1970s and early 1980s on food waste in UK hotel and restaurants indicated that 15. Data from a survey of hotels in Edinburgh A questionnaire was sent to the general managers of 145 hotels in the city of Edinburgh. The importance of differentiating between waste minimization and waste disposal management is critical in this area since it is much more effective to prevent waste in the first place than it is to manage the waste once it has been produced. Other areas of concern have included the change from the use of CFCs in refrigeration equipment to new gasses which will not damage the ozone layer. which must be passed on to the customer. Environmental management does not have to involve capital intensive projects and may not necessarily introduce increased running costs. 19 per cent had a formal written policy statement covering environmental management. q minimize – use minimum packaging. 30 per cent in heat recovery and 23 per cent in combined heat and power. where poor management is linked to waste. As an example of the case studies. This was done through a mixture of methods including changing lighting. They have developed a number of case studies on good practice in the industry. it is possible to move on to projects which require moderate investment.6 54 per cent of customers said they were environmentally minded travellers and that they wanted to stay in hotels that show concern for the environment. as described by the HCIMA in their Technical Brief on Environmental Issues. a saving of 34 per cent.
Respondents were asked to rate a number of statements related to the expected impacts of environmental management on a 5-point scale. Similarly there was no significant difference between the response of independent hotels and those which were part of a chain or consortium. As with the effect of size. Effects of environmental management on business Score 5 4. Mean scores indicate that overall most people saw positive effects of environmental management. customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction there was little difference between the response of small and large hotels. The difference in responses from those in small hotels (less than 20 rooms) and larger hotels is shown in Figure 2. q help with our public relations. the most frequently stated improvements resulting from this policy were: q savings on heating. There was a greater difference in the areas of public relations and marketing. In terms of profitability. where the larger hotels perceived greater benefits. Since the number of respondents involved is small.5 3 2. q improve relationships with the local community.ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT IN HOTELS 7 between one and three years ago. There was no significant difference in the distribution of these replies between large hotels and small hotels (less than 20 rooms). Given the work of the Energy Efficiency Office in establishing clear financial benefits from energy management. the most striking differences were in the areas of public relations and marketing. it was interesting to note that an increase in profitability was not seen as the most important effect. Effects on business: ownership Score 5 4 3 2 1 Profitability Customer Employee Local satisfaction satisfaction community Public relations Market advantage Key: Independent Other hotels . as shown in Figure 1.5 4 3. going from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. Of those hotels who had established a policy. Figure 3. q improve employee satisfaction.5 1 Profitability Customer Employee satisfaction satisfaction Local community Public relations Market advantage Figure 2. all hotels were asked about the perceived effects of environmental management on the business. Figure 1. q give a marketing advantage over our competitors. with the independent hotels seeing less of an advantage. q installation of low-level lighting. with 0 = do not know.5 2 1. In general. q changed policy on towel provision. Effects on business: size of hotel Score 5 4 3 2 1 Profitability Customer Employee satisfaction satisfaction Local community Public relations Market advantage Key: Small hotels Other hotels The influence of ownership is shown in Figure 3. independent hotels envisaged less significant benefits when compared to those hotels which were part of chains or consortia. q recycling bottles and cans. In addition to the specific questions about policy. q increase customer satisfaction. only descriptive statistics are used and these result must be seen as indicative only. q purchasing of biodegradable detergents. Some of the result from the survey are described below. The statements were. a programme of environmental management will: q increase profitability. with the greatest effect being on the local community and public relations.
Hotel & Motel Management. Woodward. Vol. 1990. UK. 1994. HMSO. 99-122. Vol.. 4. 14 No. Forte. and Osner. 16. 208 No. London. British Standards Institute. 4. 8. Department of Energy.. 20. VOICE. 19. Elkington. particularly as Edinburgh has a reputation within the UK for progressive action on the environment. 19. 1993.6 Summary This article has related the way in which the hospitality industry particularly has responded to some of the local. 7. 69-77. Iwanowski.. pp. Goodno.. 3. Jaffe. HCIMA. Hotel & Motel Management. D. 10. p. 7. “Leaves rate Thai hotels on ecology”. Watkins. 1992. J. ButterworthHeinemann. “Introducing the ecofriendly hotel”. 1. pp.. London. 190-4. national and global issues concerning the environment. R. D. Since what research there is indicates that customers do not want to pay for environmental management this is probably very sensible. C. Vol..E. 1994. Edinburgh. 21. pp. As might be expected. FIU Hospitality Review. “Computer systems for energy management in hotels”. 5. “Boost sales with environment-driven strategy” . Collison. “The analysis of food waste results and related attributes of restaurants and public houses”. A. pp. E. 1981. “Energy saving in the kitchen”. 4. Green. J.. 6 No. 11. 1994. 35 No. Vol. References 1. 4 No. and Gouldson. pp. 34-8. “Do guests want green hotels?”. pp. . pp. pp. 23. Managing Your Business in Harmony with the Environment. pp. 24. 1992. Hospitality. W. S. August 1994. 11 No. Queen Margaret College. R. Lodging Hospitality. August 1994. and Colwill. Environmental Management Systems. Journal of Foodservice Systems. “HCIMA backs new environmental awareness initiative”. 1993. 6. Vol. Pitman. 1987. L. The Institute of Food Science and Technology (UK). B. 237-42. act locally” has been around in green politics for a long time but it is still very relevant. Hospitality. 13. 2.8 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT 7. refrigerants and polystyrene food containers? If the presence of a written policy on environmental management is taken as an indicator of its relative importance.. FebruaryMarch 1995. “Collection of data on food waste from catering outlets in a university and a polytechnic”. The slogan “think globally. Building Research Establishment. in terms of effects on their local community. to their public relations. C. pp. “Hospitality solid waste minimisation: a global frame”. 16-7. Hotel & Motel Management. Kirk. Hotel Catering and Institutional Management Association (HCIMA). and Knight. Environmental Management and Business Strategy.. International Journal of Hospital ity Management. 9. then the fact that less than 20 per cent of hotels surveyed in Edinburgh had such a policy is disappointing. “Greening housekeeping”. pp. 1. The Green Business Guide. 12. International Journal of Hospital ity Management. 17-30. “Green partnerships”. 11 No. World Commission on Environment and Development. 1993. Vol. D. HCIMA. 18. This may give them a marketing advantage so they are perhaps less aware of the financial benefits. F. Hotel Catering and Institutional Management Association (HCIMA). Technical Brief No. International Hotels Environment Initiative. W. 20-1. 3. G. “Waste removal remedies”. holes in the ozone layer. London. pp. Vol. 70-2. Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly. 12-13. Kirk. 22. R.. Vol.. leisure and domestic activities of individuals. 1986. Oxford. Hasek. J. Cummings. H.. p. However. 89-90. 13. HMSO. 17. J.. “Solid waste disposal: independent food service practices”. Dagmar. BS 7750. London.Vol. The issue is complicated by the fact that the “environmental issue” may be a secondary or tertiary effect with disputed links and mechanisms – skin cancer. Hospitality. P. K and Rushmore. the results from this survey do point to the fact that some hotels in Edinburgh see significant benefits. 1992. Oxford University Press.. 255-67. David Kirk is Professor and Head of Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. 209 No. These activities may result in effects on the environment at a local level and collectively at a national and global level. 15. Problems are created at a local level through the business. UK White Paper. London. “CFCs – where are we now” . 50 No. 14-15. Environmental Issues. pp. 8. 15. August 1994.. 8. Oxford. Welford. Gollancz. 52. Vol. 1993. VOICE. 1.. 4. 208 No. 1993. Feiertag. July 1994. 1987. 4-10. pp. 2. 14. Our Common Future. Guide 35: Energy Efficiency in Hotels – A Guide to Owners and Managers. Environmental Management for Hotels. 1993. pp. This Common Inheritance. the hospitality industry has responded mainly in those areas where there are direct financial gains (energy management and waste management) and where there is a fiscal/legislative requirement.
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