Hospitality firms can't ignore their contribution to the 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted by small businesses annually, warns Institute of Hospitality chief executive Philippe Rossiter
As society becomes more conditioned to its environmental impact, and terms such as "carbon footprint" become more widely used and understood, the hospitality industry will be subjected to even greater levels of scrutiny to ensure we're acting in an environmentally sound fashion.
Many operators are already recognising the need to be a "good neighbour" by investing in low-carbon building materials and energy-recovery plants, as well as implementing practical waste management policies.
While the initial investment may be greater, many see a better long-term return through reduced costs, and improved sales derived from customer loyalty based on a strong environmental brand.
We've seen evidence of this through our energy-saving scheme Hospitable Climates, which has attracted more than 6,000 hospitality members since its launch in 2000.
As a result of their energy-saving actions, the participating operators have made an important contribution to the Government's target of reducing emissions from big non-energy-intensive concerns such as hotels by 1.2 million tonnes of carbon a year by 2020. At the same time, these businesses have reduced their energy costs by a considerable amount.
The success of Hospitable Climates has been due to the seamless connection between operational activity and the introduction of the energy-saving measures.
As an industry, we may not be able to tackle climate change on our own, but we are able to pursue sound policies on waste management, recycling, energy-efficiency and water-conservation. At a time when corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an integral aspect of business strategy in many areas of the economy, no sector of our industry is immune.
But we are better placed than many by being able to demonstrate our commitment to CSR through the adoption of visible environmentally conscious modes of operation. Customers will thank us, society will be the better for them, and the benefits will go straight to the bottom line.
Visit Caterer‘s Green Zone for more on green issues at www.caterersearch.com/green
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