Article supplied by Asilomar Conference Grounds
Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry
Jill Heymsfield, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator
Environmental pollution is not tied to one particular place on the map or business. Instead, it occurs everywhere and in all industries – including hotels. Now more than ever we must take action to prevent environmental degradation and climate change. Here are some helpful starting points for making your hotel more sustainable.
Water is a natural resource that is critical to the wellbeing of the environment. Not only does water promote ecological health, it is important from an economic standpoint as well. Many industries, including hospitality, depend upon this resource to be successful. Water is limited in supply however – especially in arid and drought-prone environments. That is why it is important to implement water conservation practices and always be on the lookout for water conserving technology. Some ideas include installing aerators for sink faucets, low flow shower heads, and water recycling systems. These small financial investments can end up saving money in the long term while also helping your property’s sustainability efforts.
Energy use from gas or electric is a major source of harmful air pollution and contributor to greenhouse gases. In addition to the long term environmental consequences, energy use is often times a large financial expense for a business. Thankfully, there are several ways to reduce energy use that are easy and with minimal cost. Start out by assessing your current light fixtures and other energy intensive appliances. Make sure to upgrade to LED lighting, and, when it comes time, replace older equipment with the newer and more energy efficient models. Also make sure to inform your employees about the small things, like turning off lights and computers at the end of the work day. Just remember that little bit of effort can go a long way!
Local food sourcing is an excellent way to provide hotel guests with a unique and sustainable dining experience. By creating a menu that offers local produce and seafood, for example, you can showcase regional delicacies that might not be offered in other places. And by purchasing locally, you can reduce the amount of harmful carbon emissions that result from transportation of food supplies. It is a fantastic way to support local agriculture and other food related businesses in the area. To save on costs, request seasonal options and purchase in larger quantities.
ISO 14001 is a rigorous standard and certification program that is used to assess the sustainability of a business. During the implementation process, environmental impacts are identified and control measures are put into place. ISO is based on the cycle of continuous improvement, which means that certified hotels are held to a very high level of sustainability.
In today’s world, a business will need to incorporate environmental sustainability into their overall mission in order to be truly successful. As you can see from the above examples, this is not as farfetched as it seems. Start out small, and eventually you will create a culture of sustainability that is as remarkable as your location!
For more information on sustainable practices at Asilomar Conference Grounds, please contact Jill Heymsfield, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator. www.visitasilomar.com