Monday, February 23, 2009

Put Someone in Charge of Sustainability

Increasingly, hotel companies are creating corporate level positions for the purpose of leading and managing sustainability programs. This has happened at Carlson Hotels Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Worldwide and numerous other companies. At the property level, it is quite rare for a hotel to employ someone whose sole responsibility is to manage an environmental program. The Grand Hyatt New York is one example of a hotel that does have its own environmental development manager. Maybe more properties should have someone leading sustainability efforts?

According to new survey by human resource firm Buck Consultants, employee involvement in green programs dramatically increases when organizations appoint an individual to lead the efforts. For companies with at least three-quarters of their employees actively involved in green programs, 71 percent have appointed individual leaders whereas only 29 percent do not have such a leader.

Incentives programs help too, the survey found. Among companies that provide rewards to encourage green behaviors, 77 percent provide special employee recognition, 36 percent give prize incentives, and 14 percent offer a monetary reward.

"Many employers now recognize that green programs in the workplace can promote social responsibility among workers and help retain top talent," says Don Sanford, managing director of Buck's communication practice. "But there is still much more that organizations can do. We expect to see future growth in green training programs, environmentally responsible investment options, and recruiting employees with green skills."


Lisa S. said...

That is so cool - I never realized that these hotel chains actually had created corporate positions just for sustainability programs! There's lots of these branded hotels listed at - now I think I understand why! These chains obviously must be committed to environmentally friendly efforts if they actually have somebody overseeing the policies that have been implemented and still try to come up with more ways, better ways to be good stewards of this earth.

Kudos to you for writing this article - it shed some light personally for me, making me say "Aha!".

Diana said...

A corporate level position in sustainability is essential now a day for all businesses of our industry. On a property level I would also say the same. It brings a new wind to all employees as they get to increase their participation and see the more human side of the place they work in. In my experience, the sustainability program helps our employees connect more to the environment and community- it brings awareness home to people.

David said...

What I have found with Hotels is the sustainability director needs to be the Director of Engineering. Energy reduction is the largest cost saving effort that a proerty can do. The savings incurred through energy conservation can drive the rest of the sustainabilty program costs such as food composting, biodegradable food containers and recycling. By installing an energy management system, variable frequency drives, LED lighting and Laundry Ozone System you can reduce your energy consumption by 25 percent. That is a lot of money.