The Green Supply Chain: Fad or Sound Business Practice?
(The Hospitality Industry Specifics)
BUA 542 MB18 – Operations & Logistics Management
April 16, 2013
During the early 1990’s there was an increasing concern for the environment. Consumers began looking at companies that were known for hurting the environment and at that time, only those companies were targeted. Today, more consumers have been educated on the relationship between consumption and global warming. As a result, consumers now understand the adverse impact on the environment both directly and in-directly. Thus more industries, including the hospitality industry, are being affected and urged by consumers to change their habits. Consumers are demanding more eco-friendly products in their grocery stores, in the cars they drive, and even at the hotels they stay at on vacation. It has become clear through recent studies that consumers want more for their money and ‘more’ means eco-friendly. My focus for this paper is on the hospitality industry and how they are changing to become more eco-friendly for their consumers, because it is an area that interests me.
Eco-Friendly is defined as something that is not going to be harmful to the environment. Although the hospitality industry is not one of the industries that is a direct threat to the environment, it does however, have a large number of operations within its sectors, which do affect the environment. What is even more interesting is that the hotel sector within the hospitality industry is “one of the most energy and water intensive sectors.” (Kim & Han, 2010, p.998). Each hotel consumes “small amounts of energy, waste, water, food, and other resources which adds only a small amount of pollution to the environment in terms of smoke, smell, noise, and chemical pollutants.” (Kirk, n.d) Although each hotel’s consumption is insignificant, when you look at the industry as a whole, it becomes more important due to its’ profound impact on the environment. Therefore, changes needed to be implemented in the hospitality industry. A drive to end detrimental impacts on the environment from the hotel sector was necessary to keep the business of the consumer. “Going green” is one of the ways in which the hotel sector will maintain and grow the business of its consumers.
The term, “going green” elicits different sentiments among different consumers. A large amount of consumers are in on the hype and would like to help yet they don't want to pay the price. In a study done by Coddington, it was found that in the early 1990’s many consumers had changed their minds and were becoming more environmentally friendly. In the same study, Coddington found that consumers were willing to pay a slight increase of 5-10% for eco-friendly products (1990). However, since then the economy has changed and individuals have become more conscious of their money and how they spend it. A study done in 1995 in the United Kingdom, found that although the number of green consumers had increased by a small number, the number of consumers willing to purchase “everyday” green products had declined (As cited by Lee, Hsu, Han & Kim, 2010, p. 902).
Any hotel can say it’s environmentally friendly, however, the real eco-friendly hotels are usually LEED (United States’ Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified (Butler, 2008). The LEED Certification is similar to an AAA rating in any hotel. It defines the best of the best in eco-friendly hotels. LEED certified has set criteria for picking hotels on their lists including “a building [that] is environmentally responsible, profitable and equipped with energy-efficient measures (Butler, 2008).” It’s not just reusing the towels, it’s the idea of adding more eco-friendly products not only in the front of the house but in the back of the house by including things such as “an elevator...
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