Currently, sustainability is the most important issue in the hospitality industry due to the significant negative impacts of the operations of the hospitality industry on the environment. In the recent years, there has been a boom in the hospitality industry due to higher per capita income. The activities in the industry creates burden on the local economy, result in higher consumption of the local resources and degrade the natural environment of the tourist places (Steurer, Langer, Konrad &Martinuzzi, 2005). These issues have brought the attention of various national and international entities and organizations towards the role of the hospitality industry in the environmental degradation.
In the essence, the present report discusses the issue of sustainability in the hospitality industry. As hospitality is one of the major industries in the UK’s economy, it’s important that the hospitality industry follow the sustainability practice so that there is minimal negative impact on the environment. The present report will also discuss various sustainability issues in the hospitality industry which includes the environmental, social and economic issues which arise due to lack of sustainability management in the organization. These sustainability issues also play a critical role in the profitability of the company. The report will also investigate the impact of the sustainability practices on the profitability and the business of the organization. At last, the report will also shed light on the importance of thee corporate sustainability management in the hospitality industry.
Importance of Corporate Sustainability
The hospitality industry is one of the largest industries which contribute to the global carbon emission. The recent changes in the tourism industry are also raising concern for the complex environmental challenges of the firm’s activities. There are also several indirect impacts of the tourism industry on the tourism industry. For instance, the short and medium distance flights among the tourists have exponentially increased the carbon emission. The increased number of trips to the natural reserves increases the disruption in the ecological balance. It also raises questions regarding preservation and conservation of the natural resources (Jones, Hillier, & Comfort, 2016). There are also multiple, less visible environmental impacts of the tourism industry. It includes high energy used to cool down or to heat up the rooms and facilities in the hotels. It also generates waste in large volume, requires large quantity of water and there are also other negative impacts of building and expansion facilities. These issues have increased the importance of sustainability in the hospitality industry. Currently, the green initiatives and the issue of sustainability have changed the hospitality industry. The government has also become more aware and forcing the business to adopt and implement environment friendly policies. There is also increased consciousness of the customers as well as the employees regarding the green initiatives and the sustainability which has increased the importance of the sustainability practices in the hospitality industry (Benavides-Velasco, Quintana-García, & Marchante-Lara, 2014). The hotel operators are also held accountable for the global citizenship standard. Therefore, it is the significant responsibility of the hotel organizations to adopt sustainability practices on a long-term period. Being part of the community, it is important for the hotel organizations to contribute to the environmental-wellbeing and positively contribute to the future endeavors of various stakeholders (Molina-Azorín, Claver-Cortés, Pereira-Moliner, & Tarí, 2009). Over the last few years, various hotels have gone green and are demonstrating several different sustainable practices for the efficient operation of their properties. However, there are several discouraging factors including the budget restraints and capital cost which can increase the cost to the organization.
Being part of the largest industry in the world, hotel industry should be pioneer in the environmental sustainability management. Over the past years, the human activities including that of the hotel industry have drastically impacted on the ecosystem of the earth. However, in the present, the negative influence all these activities can be shown on the ecosystem of Earth. As hospitality industry is one of the largest service industries, it is one of the significant contributors of these environmental issues. The recent boom in the tourism industry has also contributed to the rate of climate change in the country. The human footprint and various artificial activities has disrupted the biogeochemical cycle which has remained unchanged over the last centuries (Luo & Bhattacharya, 2006). The large and metropolitan cities have irresponsibly consumed the natural resources and the limited water supply resent in the earth. The manmade activities have also contributed to the wastage of resources and have contributed to the changing climate. With the depletion of the natural resources, it is important to identify renewable resources which can be either in the form of renewable energy resources, water or the raw materials.
Sustainability Issues in the Hospitality Industry
As discussed in the above section, the hospitality industry has significant impact on the environment. These influences are ranging from the environmental impacts to the social and economic impacts. There are a large number of environmental impacts of the hotel industry. The inflow of the tourists from different destinations increases thee consumption of the petroleum and or the fuel. Other than that, the tourists’activities disrupt the ecological balance of the tourists’ destinations. A large number of natural reserves and wildlife sanctuaries are categorized as tourists’ destinations; however, significant tourism activities in these places can create environmental pollution. Hotels are also a part of the tourism industry. However, in order to provide brilliant services to their customers, they use natural resources in an excessive manner. It negatively influences the environment (Sen, & Bhattacharya, 2001). The major challenges with the hotel industry are energy consumption, water conservation and the waste management. The waste produced by these organizations is enormous in size and it is important to implement some strategies for the proper management of waste.
In the business environment, social sustainability refers to the identification and management of positive and negative business impacts on the community. It improves the quality of relationship and engagement with the stakeholders. In the hotel industry, the issues related to the social sustainability are the sustainable procurement, environment quality and the staff training programs. The indoor environment quality refers to the provision of high quality and hygienic air and indoor environment. The organization should focus on chemical cleaning of the air and the building so that a safe and hygienic environment can be provided to the customers. The staff training programs are also important for the improved performance and high level of employee performance (Hansen, Dunford, Boss, Boss, & Angermeier, 2011). The organizations in the hotel industry can also adopt programs and certifications. In the hospitality industry, the environmental programs can be categorized in three broad categories, namely, the environmental programs focused on uplifting the standards of the hospitality industry, the programs targeted towards green building design and operations and certifications associated with adoption and use of green products (Bonilla-Priego, Font, & del Rosario Pacheco-Olivares, 2014).
There are also economic sustainability issues. It means that the organizations in the hospitality industry can save their expenditure by adopting sustainability practices. Moreover, the realization that there are significant financial returns of the sustainability practices is the biggest motivation for the private sector. The energy efficiency has several opportunities for cost saving in the areas of water consumption and waste management. Several sustainable strategies can be implemented which can optimize the performance of personnel and machinery. The construction of the green building and the use of green products also drive the cost of operations low for the business organizations (Benavides-Velasco, Quintana-García & Marchante-Lara, 2014). They also provide a number of fiscal and economic incentives such as tax waiver, discount in development fees, cash incentives, grants, low interest loans and grants to cover the green design of the products.
Impact of these Issues on the Profitability of Hospitality Industry
The sustainability practices have an immense impact on the profitability and the overall efficiency of the hotel industry. Although a large number of hotels, restaurants and other institutions in the hospitality industry have been reluctant in adopting the sustainability practices due to the budget and monetary constraints, it increases the profitability of the organizations in the long run. In the present, the tourists and other consumers of the hospitality industry have become aware regarding the environmental impact of the hospitality industry; therefore, adopting sustainability practices can increase the brand image of the organization. The use of natural resources in a more sustainable manner can create more important contribution to the biodiversity contribution. The most important benefit with the adoption of sustainable practices is that it can be used to appeal to the engaged customers. Currently, most of the consumers have become aware regarding the sustainability, biodiversity conservation, healthier environments and products. The company can engage these customers and encourage them to use the products of the organization (Martínez, Pérez, & Rodríguez del Bosque, 2013). Another significant benefit of the sustainable practice is to reduce the cost to the organization. The adoption of the sustainable practices can reduce the operating cost, reduce the expenses, expenditure in thee resource procurement and disposal. The adoption of the sustainable practices can reduce the overall expenditure to the organization in the long run. The hotel organizations can use sustainable energy resources such as solar energy. There are several social impacts of profitability on the hospitality business. For instance, the unsociable working hours and erosion of the traditional values of the organization.
Although the initial setup cost for the solar energy equipment is very high, the organization can save a lot in the long run. The adoption of the sustainable practices can improve the quality of the destination. It can create tourism destinations rich in biodiversity, create attractive tourism destinations which appeal to the customers and preserve the natural beauty of the place. It can also create scope for the biodiversity-based recreational activities. When an organization engages in sustainability practices, it can create a positive organization culture within the organization. The employees feel strongly motivated and feel responsible for the environment (Pereira-Moliner, Font, Tarí, Molina-Azorin, Lopez-Gamero, & Pertusa-Ortega, 2015). They are proud of the initiatives of the organization and become more engaged with the well-being of the organization. The social responsibility activities increase the engagement of the employees with the organization and they become more concerned with the productivity and the achievement of goals of the organization. The employees of the organization increase the motivation of the employees and they become more productive and loyal. It reduces the employee’s turnover and increase the overall efficiency of the organization. The sustainable practices of the organization also secure the license and increase the goodwill of the organization towards different stakeholders (Park & Levy, 2014). The implementation of the environmental practices ensure that a hotel cares for the environment wherein it operates and it demonstrates that there is increased support from the government, staff and the local communities. The profitability drives the organization and they ignore the social, environmental and the economic impacts. There are several negative impacts on the environment as well such as air pollution and waste emission.
The investors and other stakeholders of the organizations also remains assured that their funds and the financial resources remains in good hand and will be invested prudently. The most important benefit of the adoption of the sustainable practices is that it will reduce the energy consumption and the waste created in the local community. It can be critiqued that the hotel industry is one of the largest consumer of energy as it tries to provide all the necessary comforts to the guests. The hotels provide several services, facilities and amenities to its guests to attract a large number of customers and build customer loyalty (Kang, Lee & Huh, 2010). The hotels are one of the largest consumers of the energy. A significant amount of this energy is wasted; therefore, it is important to adopt practices which can reduce the energy consumption in the organization. The hotels also have high demand for energy in different areas for cooling, heating, lighting and other purposes. With the help of sustainable means, the organization can reduce its expenditure on the energy requirements of the organization. It can utilize various renewable sources of energy which includes solar power, wind power, hydropower and geothermal power to reduce the energy consumption in the location. The economy will also suffer due to the drive of the profitability of the company. It will result in price wars and the product quality will degrade with the declining prices. Other than that, the companies can also engage in unhealthy competition because of their drive for profitability.
The water conservation is also important for the organization to reduce its expenses. In addition to it, it can also reduce the waste generated in the hospitality industry. The hotel organizations can utilize different ways such as recycling and efficient resource use to reduce the generated waste in the organization (Benavides-Velasco, Quintana-García, & Marchante-Lara, 2014). In addition to it, the organization can also utilize different training, employee involvement and recognition programs so that recycling and waste management practices are integrated in the operations of the organization.
Example of Hotel Practicing sustainability
The sustainability practices also have a strong impact on the retention of the employees. The companies can better attract, motivate and retain the employees with the CSR activities. Hilton hotel is a popular example of a company in the hospitality industry which has implemented good CSR strategies (Hilton, 2017). The hotel chain has implemented a corporate responsibility performance measurement platform which analyzes how the various hotels manage the energy, water and the waste in the organization. The hotel chain has utilized data from the past to create the training for the hotels. It reduces the consumption of the energy in the hotels which increases the cost-efficiency of the organization.
Importance of Corporate Sustainability Management in the Hospitality Industry
In the present times, there is consensus regarding the role of the business institutions which goes beyond making profits and extending to a responsible member of the society. The corporate social responsibility initiatives of the organizations assist them in adopting a socially responsible stance towards the society. The concept of corporate social responsibility states that a company should go beyond its profitability and the benefit of its investors and customers and should be considerate of the interest of large society and community. The hospitality industry, being one of the largest consumers of the natural resources and having a large footprint no terms of employment is at the forefront of implementing practices which minimize the negative impact on the business and the environment. The business organizations in the hotel industry are trying to reduce the impact of business operations on the environment. It includes increasing the fuel efficiency in the airlines industry, reducing the food waste in the restaurants, and increasing the strategies related to water and energy saving in the hotels. Although CSR initiatives are voluntary and on the discretion of the organization, there are several benefits of engaging in these activities including several financial returns. The involvement of the hotel in CSR activities can increase the brand image of the organization and can increase the loyalty of the customers towards the organization. The services are intangible and the perceived quality is dependent upon the goodwill of the firm (Luo & Bhattacharya, 2006). The CSR activities create a brand image of the organization which creates differentiation and create competitive advantage in a highly competitive industry such as the hospitality industry. The association of the organization with the cause-related social issues can create new customers and maintain them for long-term. With the development of reputation from the social initiatives, the customers will be more willing to pay premium prices for the services. Different demographic segments have created huge demand for the green hotels; therefore, it is important to take into account sustainability while making business decisions.
It can be concluded that the socially responsible activities are essential for the business organizations at the present times. The human activities are having a strong impact on the environment and degrading it gradually. It is important that the organizations adopt sustainable behavior and reduce the negative impact on the environment. The hospitality industry is one of the largest service industries and therefore, the impact on the environment is also immense. It is important that the business organization in the hospitality industry adopts CSR activities to increase their efficiency and improve their brand image. The business organizations in the hospitality industry can use sustainability practices to reduce their expenditure. The use of energy resources such as solar power, wind power or hydro power can reduce the cost to the organization. Moreover, the energy efficient and waste management practices can reduce the overall cost to the organization in the long run. There are also social as environmental issues related to the sustainability management. A business organization can train its employees so that they can efficiently work on different aspects related to sustainability. They can also join special charitable causes to show their stand or responsibility towards the society. It will increase the brand image of the organization. The hotel can connect and attract different niche customer segments. Other than that, the organization can also increase the engagement of the employees with the organization with the CSR activities.
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