The competitive advantage of thinking green

POSTED: 03/18/15 7:03 PM

GREATBAY/THE CARIBBEAN—Several studies show that being green, having a small carbon footprint, is not only beneficial to the environment, but it also provides various economic benefits with a minimal monetary investment. Ecologically conscious tourism can give hotels and tour operators a competitive advantage, increase employee retention and increase customer loyalty.

The hospitality and tourism industries operate in a highly competitive market and where the cost of energy, water and waste disposal are high. Hotel operators that can maximize their efficiency and reduce waste will be more cost-effective than their competitors. If a hotel can reduce its energy consumption by 20-40% without adversely affecting performance, it will have a significant impact on its bottom line. There are many green practices that hotels can implement to save unnecessary costs, such as: Use of compact fluorescent lights – saves energy. Reuse of linens – saves water, detergent, energy and greenhouse gases. Low-flow shower systems – saves water and energy. Local products – save transportation costs. Installation of green roofs – saves energy. Installation of solar water heaters or other renewable energy source – saves energy.

The ultimate result of these actions is a win-win situation; to reduce hotel operational costs and harmful environmental impacts. Over time, green practices in the hospitality industry will become a baseline requirement, particularly as the cost of non-renewable energy continues to rise, regulatory pressure increases, and consumers become more demanding. Therefore, hotels with business models that revolve around green practices will have the strongest opportunity to achieve a competitive advantage by being ahead of the emerging sustainability curve. In order to support our members in this effort to be more environmentally sound, CHTA has taken the following initiatives: CHTA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) recognizing FEE’s Green Key and Blue Flag programs in the Caribbean as well as CHTA’s sustainability initiatives.

Launched a Sustainability Webinar Series focused on addressing the vital issue of sustainability in the Caribbean. The first webinar of this series was provided with the support of our strategic partner OBM International (OBMI).

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