I would consider myself an environmentally conscious person, doing my bit replacing plastic bottles with glass and refills. Not only does it help the environment but also saves a considerable sum of money – a fact worth considering given the price of a bottle of water these days.
The environment and sustainability is an issue close to my heart and currently a trendy issue in the media. I decided to collect relevant publications on the subject for reading during the past holiday season and collected an impressive 120 pages of material over a 4-week period.
Some of the reading did sound more like fiction than reality, but at a second look I realised how some of the ideas, suggestions and recommendations had merit and would actually be quite straightforward to implement without much fuss or financial investment.
It seems that the end of single use plastic is the current public relation target for many hotel companies. Countless press releases reporting that this will happen in the short to medium term – of course a step in the right direction but really only a drop in the ocean when considering the enormity of the issue.
There seem to be a couple of different schools of thought when considering the broader topics. These appear to preach different issues and priorities and judging by a recent talk-fest about sustainability, has as much to do with advancements in technology (eg cutting energy consumption and building environmentally friendly hotels) as it does with modifying our lifestyle to adapt to the new normal.
One side is strongly for technological advancement that will help the environment. Another is the changes to our daily habits and what we can do to have less impact on mother nature and our environment.
While the first school of thought is all about investment and the future, with no immediate action & results, the second seem to be the one that wants to get started right now and single use plastic is the current dirty word for 2020…
The second school also seems to have a strong focus on the fastest way to make a difference with energy and resources conservation that also helps to keep your utility bills low. Water resources are becoming increasingly scarce globally, and perhaps that should be at top of the agenda for everyone.
Having worked my way through half of my collection, I stopped to recap what I had extracted so far – most of it seemed to be focused on investment, such as converting older properties to new environmentally friendly standards. The question of course is, who sets the new standards (governments, private bodies, institutions) and are those standards really set with the environment in mind or are there to boost commercial Interests.
There seems to be plenty of talk-fests on these issues, but still a lot of talk and very little action…
So, for the hotel industry, plastic bottles and straws in drinks are soon to be off the list, so what’s next?
Now that the hotel companies have copied each other with these initiatives let’s see what else is going to happen and if anything more substantial will actually see the light of day across the entire industry.
I wonder if we look at it again in 2025, how far we will have come? How many new hotels built between now and 2025 will have been built with the environment at the forefront of thinking and how many existing hotels will have been converted to environmentally friendly operations?
Let’s challenge governments and our industry to outlaw non-biodegradable packaging and containers as a bare minimum. Whilst this has nothing necessarily to do with hotels directly, lets educate everyone and take the lead as an industry.
We can fly to the moon so that shouldn’t be a problem…
About the author
Karl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.
For more information about Karl and Elite Search visit http://www.elitesearch.com.au and The Elite Hotelier http://www.elitehotelier.net