Environmental Management in Hotels Essay
At the same time, the concern has now become such broader, relating not only to outputs of the operation but to the whole system, including inputs and processes[l, 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 clues and In areas with a delicate ecological balance. The addition of new hospitality facilities may attract violators 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,
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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 of legislation, the pull of consumer pressure groups, together with the financial paving 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.
There is a need for global policy making and target setting, such as the Montreal Protocol of 1987, which set targets for CUFF emissions. The European Union has brought in a large number of Directives which relate to the management of the environment. Many of these have been, or are being, implemented as national since many are now being measured not only on their financial performance but also on their responsibility towards the environment. This affects both shareholders and consumers [1, p. 18].
Some of the milestone events in recent environmental history include: q 1956: Clean Air Act; q 1970: Department of Environment established; q 1972: publication of “Limits to Growth”; q 1973: formation of Green Party; q 1974: Control of Pollution Act; q 1987: Montreal Protocol (CUFF emissions); q 1987: Treaty of Rome; q 1987: Broadband Report (sustainable development); q 1987: HEM Inspectorate of Pollution; q 1990: European Environmental Agency; q 1990: White Paper on Environmental Strategy; q 1992: ROI Earth Summit Conference; q 1993: I-J National Sustainability Plan.
Environmental management can be traced back at least 40 years o the post-war years when the expansion of industry was seen to be causing damage to the environment and to the health of people. Initial concern was with gross pollution caused by the discharge of toxic materials. However, the interest of environmentalists Global and national interest and the development of policy will, by itself, not be effective in inducing change.
There are five main forces for change: (1) legislation and codes; (2) fiscal policies; (3) public opinion; (4) consumer pressure; (5) financial advantages resulting from saving resources. Principles of environmental management The principles of environmental management have been established in the framework of British Standard BBS 7750: Environmental Management Systems. This standard, which has many parallels to ISO 9000 on Quality Management Systems, outlines a number of stages in establishing these procedures in any organization.
The suggested stages are: q formulating environmental policy; q ensuring total commitment of all in the organization; q carrying out an environmental review; q determination of responsibilities within the organization; q preparing a register of environmental effects; q establishing objectives and targets; q implementing management systems; q commissioning periodic environmental audits; q performing regular systems reviews based on performance.
The first step in this process is usually considered to be the development of a written environmental policy, which should cover general principles including a total commitment at all levels of the organization, together 5 with: strategies for complying with laws, codes and company standards; the identification of responsibility within the organization; and the involvement of partners, including suppliers, servicing companies, customers and the local community. To be totally effective, the adoption of environmental policies must come from the top.
Without a commitment at the highest level of the company, it is unlikely starting to incorporate environmental values in their mission statements. To be effective, this vision must be converted into clear objectives and targets together with effective monitoring, control and communication[l . up. 40-7]. The next step is to conduct an environmental audit of the organization. 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.
An environmental management system can be seen as having a number of linked aspects: (1) Purchasing policies: q develop partnerships with suppliers; q identify sustainable products; q choose products with sensible packaging. (2) Waste management: q minimize waste in operations; q reuse as much waste as possible; q the segregate of waste which can be recycled. (3) Waste disposal: q establish partnerships with disposal companies; q ensure disposal methods are sound; q only use land-fill disposal as last resort. Chive expert help in environmental management techniques, based on international best practice; and q demonstrate their commitment through a publicly recognized green globe logo. Q There are a number of specific issues which relate to environmental management of the hospitality industry. First, there are those that relate to the customer, who visits the establishment as a part of the experience and who may arrive with images of luxury, comfort and indulgence. For example, the use of soap and shampoo dispensers may reduce waste but may be contrary to customer expectations.
Second, the business usually has a local customer base, has a strong identity with the coal community and is often a part of the local tourism product. The hospitality industry is not a dirty industry in the sense that it causes gross pollution or releases toxic materials into the environment. It is typical of many small companies, particularly those in the service sector. What damage do hotels do to the environment? The industry consumes valuable raw materials such as energy, water, food, wood and plastics. There are a number of undesirable emissions, including CO 2 , Cuffs, noise, smoke, smells.
The industry wastes energy, water, food and packaging and many of these waste materials require disposal. There are also issues about the environmental health of staff. Because of location, the industry may encourage the use of the private car rather than public transport. Some of these issues may seem to be relatively unimportant and yet are significant when added together. As an example, the overall consumption of gas by I-J hotels for heating and hot water results in 5 million tons of CA emissions every year and costs IEEE million each year.
In addition to legislation and local codes, public opinion and consumer pressures can have a significant effect. Whilst this last point may not seem to be important, the example of McDonald’s demonstrates the force of environmental pressure. This company was confronted with a whole range of issues related to animal rights, tropical rain forest destruction and damage to the ozone layer caused by Cuffs in packaging materials. This forced McDonald’s to develop green policies[l, up. 16-17].
There was not all that much interest in environmental management in the hospitality industry until the development of the International Hotels Environment Initiative, which was launched by the Prince of Wales. At this time, 11 major international hotel Haines agreed to work together. The first practical outcome was the development of a manual on environmental management for hotels. More recently, the Hotel Catering & Institutional Management Association (WHICH) and the World Travel and Tourism Council have established an initiative on environmental management awareness.
The programmer, known as “Green Globe”, 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, based on international guidelines; Do guests want green hotels? There have been a number of surveys in the USA, in an attempt to identify consumer attitudes to hospitality and the environment. According to Ferreira, a number of US hotel groups have generated consumer interest by having environmental policies and operations.
In a survey of frequent travelers, 75 per cent of customers said they were environmentally minded consumers and 6 54 per cent of customers said they were environmentally minded travelers and that they wanted to stay in hotels that show concern for the environment. Research in the US indicates that customers are not willing to pay extra to fund green policies[10,11]. However there have been some interesting pilot schemes whereby guests to a locality are encouraged to contribute to local environmental protection schemes.
The concept of hotel classification based on environmental testing has also been developed in some areas such as Thailand. This raises the interesting question of whether environmental management will increase the operating costs, 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. Indeed, where poor management is linked to waste, sound environmental management can reduce costs.
This means starting with a programmer of staff training together with the initiation of low-cost, easy-to-achieve projects. Once progress has been made and confidence established, it is possible to move on to projects which require moderate investment. It is advisable to leave high investment projects until the principles have been accepted and benefits established. Taking food waste as an example, research in the late sass and early sass on food waste in UK hotel and restaurants indicated that 15. 5 per cent of edible food was wasted. A similar figure for hospital catering departments was 30 per cent.
These figures represent a high monetary value because of high value-added associated food has been transported, stored and cooked. Much of this waste can be controlled through sound management practices. Most examples of successful environmental management are in the area of energy management, where there are clear motivations in terms of financial savings. A survey in 1987 indicated that 33 per cent of hotel groups had invested in computerized energy management and/or property management systems, 30 per cent in heat recovery and 23 per cent in combined heat ND power.
In addition to energy consumption in heating, ventilation and air- conditioning (HAVE) applications, catering areas can also be prolific consumers of energy. In the I-J, the Energy Efficiency Office ( funded by the Department of Environment), in conjunction with the Building Research Establishment, has developed a programmer on energy efficiency in the hotel and catering industry . They have developed a number of case studies on good practice in the industry. These case studies show that in hotels there is a wide variation in energy costs in the I-J, from IEEE to II,OHO per bedroom per year.
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. Heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems are the highest cost areas (29 per cent) followed by lighting (21 per cent) and catering (1 5 per cent). As an example of the case studies, one describes the InterContinental Hotel at Hyde Park Corner, which was able to reduce energy consumption from 870 kiwi/ mm/ annum to 575 kiwi/mm/annum between 1980 and 1992, a saving of 34 per cent.
This was done through a mixture of methods including changing lighting, recovering eat from refrigeration equipment, energy management systems on boilers and staff awareness campaigns. 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. Waste management and waste disposal has been another area of concern.
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 t has been produced. The list below shows a hierarchy of waste minimization going from the most desirable form of disposal at the bottom, to the least desirable at the top: q landfill – most damaging; q incinerate – recover energy content; q recycle – recover material for reuse; q reuse – reuse the material with no processing; q minimize – use minimum packaging, eliminate waste.
Other areas of concern have included the change from the use of Cuffs in refrigeration equipment to new gases which will not damage the ozone layer. Data from a survey of hotels in Edinburgh A questionnaire was sent to the general managers of 145 hotels in the city of Edinburgh, of whom 53 replied, a response rate of 37 per cent. The first issue raised was, “Do the hotels have a policy statement? “. This was seen to be important because of the central role of a written policy, as described by the WHICH in their Technical Brief on Environmental Issues.
According to this brief: Every business the concept of sustainable development; practical action to protect the environment. Of the hotels that replied to the survey, 19 per cent had a formal written policy statement covering environmental management. Most of these had started this policy 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).
Similarly there was no significant difference between the response of independent hotels and those which were part of a chain or consortium. Of those hotels who had established a policy, the most frequently stated improvements resulting from this policy were: q savings on heating; q recycling bottles and cans; q purchasing of biodegradable detergents; q changed policy on towel provision; q installation of low-level lighting. In addition to the specific questions about policy, all hotels were asked about the perceived effects of environmental management on the business.
Respondents were asked to rate a number of statements related to the expected impacts of environmental management on a 5-point scale, going from 1 -? strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree, with O = do not know. The statements were, a programmer of environmental management will: q increase profitability; q increase customer satisfaction; q improve employee satisfaction; q improve relationships with he local community; q help with our public relations; q give a marketing advantage over our competitors. Some of the result from the survey are described below.
Since the number of respondents involved is small, only descriptive statistics are used and these result must be seen as indicative only. Mean scores indicate that overall most people saw positive effects of environmental management, with the greatest effect being on the local community and public relations, as shown in Figure 1. Given the work of the Energy Efficiency Office in establishing clear financial benefits from energy management, it was interesting to note that an increase in profitability was not seen as the most important effect.
The difference in responses from those in small hotels (less than 20 rooms) and larger hotels is shown in Figure 2. In terms of profitability, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction there was little difference between the response of small and large hotels. There was a greater difference in the areas of public relations and marketing, where the larger hotels perceived greater benefits. Figure 1 . Effects of environmental management on business Score 5 4. 5 4 3. 5 3 2. 5 2 1. 5 1 Profitability Customer Employee satisfaction satisfaction Local community Public relations Market advantage Figure 2.
Effects on business: size of hotel 2 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. In general, independent hotels envisaged less significant benefits when compared to those hotels which were part of chains or consortia. As with the effect of size, the most striking differences were in he areas of public relations and marketing, with the independent hotels seeing less of an advantage. Figure 3.
Effects on business: ownership score 54321 Profitability Customer Employee Local satisfaction satisfaction community Key: Independent Other hotels 8 Summary This article has related the way in which the hospitality industry particularly has environment. The slogan “think globally, act locally’ has been around in green politics for a long time but it is still very relevant. Problems are created at a local level through the business, leisure and domestic activities of individuals. These activities may result in effects on the environment at a local level and collectively at a national and global level.
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, holes in the ozone layer, refrigerants and polystyrene food containers? If the presence of a written policy on environmental management is taken as an indicator of its relative importance, then the fact that less than 20 per cent of hotels surveyed in Edinburgh had such a policy is disappointing, particularly as Edinburgh has a petition within the I-J for progressive action on the environment.
As might be expected, 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. Since what research there is indicates that customers do not want to pay for environmental management this is probably very sensible. However, the results from this survey do point to the fact that some hotels in Edinburgh see significant benefits, in terms of effects on their local community, to heir public relations.