Green Hotel

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Environmental policy in the hotel sector: “green” strategy or stratagem?

Margaret Brown Lecturer in Accounting, School of Food & Accommodation Management, Duncan of Jordanstone College, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK Illustrates alternative “green” strategies to indicate possible reactions of the hotel sector to the environmental issue and the extent of the “greening” process on the control system. Discusses the results of a questionnaire survey into the environmental standing of an hotel and the control system used to appraise the hotel manager. Analysis is based on comparison of hotel managers operating with an environmental policy and those managers operating without. Tentative conclusions drawn would indicate that although a number of companies have adopted an environmental policy, in general, the hotel sector is not taking a proactive approach to environmental concerns. Adoption of an environmental policy is one of the main requirements of an organization undertaking a “green” strategy, whereby environmental concerns are considered of strategic importance. A “green” stratagem description would apply to organizations giving the appearance of treating environmental concerns strategically but without the underlying changes in the control system of the organization.

Environmental issue within the hotel sector
The UK hotel sector would appear to accept that it does have an impact on the environment[6]. This is not only confirmed by exploratory research but also through the formation of the International Hotels Environmental Initiative (IHEI). The IHEI has published an environmental manual Environmental Management for Hotels: the Industry Guide to Best Practice which is aimed at hotel general managers. As an alternative to the manual the IHEI has also produced an action pack designed for the small and independent hotel operator. A number of hotel groups have also separately developed their own environmental programmes and initiatives. These include newsletters on “green” issues, environmental committees and “green” bedrooms. It is evident from the literature that cost benefits can be achieved by operating a more “environmentally friendly” hotel. However, anecdotal evidence would suggest that of more concern to the hotelier is the impact of environmental initiatives on the perceived quality and service of the hotel. One solution to this problem would be education of guests about environmental factors and allowing them the opportunity of choosing the “environmental”, option. A further concern of the hotelier is that “environmentally friendly” alternatives are perceived as less efficient than the normally-used products[7]. This problem should become less apparent as suppliers recognize the demand for satisfactory “green” products and provide adequate alternatives. The general manager in the hotel sector does appear to recognize that the hospitality industry does have an impact on the environment[6]. However he/she would appear to be restricted in introducing environmental improvements in the hotel unless a cost saving or other tangible benefit is identified[6].

Introduction
The “greening” of industry is an issue which has been increasing in importance since the late 1980s[1,2]. Although the chemical and oil industries were initially the focus of attention for environmentalists due to the visible nature of their environmental impact, the service industries will find themselves under scrutiny[3,4]. Although they are perhaps less visible in their environmental impact, it is increasingly being recognized that they too have a responsibility to reduce what impact they do have. The hospitality industry will no longer be able to ignore its environmental responsibilities as it will have to respond to a number of pressures. For example, the “green tourist” will demand “green” accommodation[5] ; legislation with regard to the disposal of waste has implications for the hospitality industry; and the continued increase in energy...
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