making hospitality more sustainable

Sustayz #03

the one about setting the right goals

Aloha and welcome!

Did you know that only 3% of the people write down their goals? There are multiple reasons why you should do that that go into neuroscience, and you can read more on it here.

Also, unsurprisingly, there is a strong correlation between writing a goal and achieving it, and since we are only a few days into the new year, we think it is not too late to do your part, and start setting goals for your sustainable accommodation.

the big idea

You want to turn your hotel, hostel, vacation rental or b&b into a sustainable nest but you are pondering, and scratching your head on the how?

Well, the United Nations has done the homework for you (or partly) devising 17 sustainable development goals (SDG) that cover a variety of topics, from poverty to hunger, education and wellbeing but also, and potentially more relevant for hospitality, sustainable energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and preserving flora and fauna above and below water.

Plenty of good ideas in there but how can you concretely act on those topics?

While tourism is responsible for 10% of the world’s GDP, a real framework to “walk the talk” and contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is still not there. Thus said, there are quite some entrepreneurial researchers, and individuals that have tried to fill the gap. Possibly, one of the most interesting pieces is this one.

The paper is focused on crafting a Sustainable Strategic Management Model (SSMM) for the Tourism sector, looking in particular to SMEs Hotel companies: a framework to make practical contributions to the wellbeing of people, communities and the planet.

It is a good read and we encourage you to go through it, but jumping straight to the conclusions the framework looks like this:

framework sustainability hotels

There are 4 strategic areas you can focus on (declined in 10 principles of ethical performance connected to the SDGs):

  1. Effective Sustainable Management:

    1. Code of conduct: codify your values, principles and standards that govern your business, and the conduct of managers and employees

    2. HR policies: have policies that govern the relationship between employees and the company (ie. sustainability education & training program, gender equality, health and safety)

    3. QA commitments to clients: create policies that regulate the way the company interacts with its clients 

    4. Principles in the engagement with shareholders and stakeholders

  2. Benefits to the local Community

    1. Relationships with suppliers and value-chain, creating shared value: focus on local suppliers, sustainable products and services, select suppliers that comply with your same standards

    2. Support and implementation of New Economics: by “new economics” the paper refers to the social and circular economy, support projects and organisations that support social and economical development in your territory

  3. Benefits to Cultural Heritage

    1. Support for initiatives to preserve Cultural Heritage: support projects that help to promote the local culture, artists and authors

    2. Support sciences, research and innovation: sounds like hard stuff, but it can be done by supporting research projects and organisations to transform mass tourism destinations and build a strong tie between the business and the academic world

  4. Benefits to Natural Heritage

    1. Support for initiatives to protect and conserve Natural Heritage: respecting and defending biodiversity should be a priority for any business that wants to call itself sustainable 

    2. Mitigation and Adaptation measures against Climate Change: adopt practices to measure, reduce, compensate the carbon footprint of your business and guests

While this paper was written with hotels in mind, alternative accommodations can also benefit from these insights. 

There are a lot of reasons to make your hospitality business more sustainable, and the time to act is now.  Hope you will put in practice as many of the principles from this framework.

Quick bits:

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