Avoid ‘Greenwashing’ on Your Green Hotel by Implementing These Steps
In the recent years, people are starting to become aware of the importance of having a healthy life and protecting the environment. With all the environmentalist and their campaign about protecting the earth, many people are starting to raise their awareness on the issue. It also affects the hospitality world. Today’s modern traveller getting more and more passionate into experiencing the real green life a green hotel offers. The guests that environmentally conscious are usually willing to pay higher amount of money in return for experience in the green hotel.
Nearly 60% of travelers tend to choose make eco-friendly lodging, with half of them they would pay extra to stay at an environmentally friendly hotel, based on 2012 survey by TripAdvisor. This drives many hotel to develop their so-called ‘green hotel’.
It is a nudge for hotel industry into making a green hotel and eco-friendly hotel that caters the customer desire in promoting the issues. It become their fertile ground into making money without having to withstand among the tight competition. It’s a chance for hotel to differentiate themselves and have their own market. But the idea of green living is often being mistaken with all of those greenwashing. Many of those so-called green hotels don’t actually serve their initial promise into delivering a green hotel or eco-friendly hotel. At least, that’s what these green hotels said they would do.
By the greenwashing, it’s certainly does pollute the reputation of eco-friendly and sustainable hotel. Sustainability is actually what drives many hoteliers to make an eco-friendly hotel or green hotel in the first place. But sustainability isn’t merely about the environment. The locals and indigenous community are also the part of it. By the greenwashing, not only the guests that are deceived, but also bring harm to the environment and society.
Talking about green hotel might sounds like a rocket science. Some hoteliers think that the concept itself is complicated. Let Caption gives you a little bit of explanation about it. Here we define 5 recommendations on how to avoid ‘greenwashing’ on your green hotel.
1. Define Sustainability
We might directly think about environment when we talk about green hotel sustainability. But there are actually many ways to determine sustainability. Sustainability isn’t just about environmentally-friendly, including toxic and hazardous-free amenities, or recycling and composting. It also includes the sustainability for the local people. Does your hotel support local culture and community as well as promoting local attraction? Are you distributing the profit wisely? Does your hotel considering the energy and water consumption, and its effects on local continuity? Does it use local material for the building? It’s keep going on and on, as the concept of sustainably itself keep changing and evolving together with the technology evolution. These questions can help you to define once again the sustainability a green hotel should implement.
2. ‘Green’ Waste Management and Water Conservation
Are your green hotel bathroom amenities and cleaning agents chemical-free?
To avoid toxic and hazardous waste, from the beginning you should have avoid buying toxic and hazardous products. Yes, hazardous stuff is cheaper and many hotels tend to choose it to save cost. But one of the basic on green hotel concept is to minimize the waste of chemical material. And you can’t preserve that goal when you use hazardous material for your hotel operational. It means that your hotel causing harm to the environment and the local life. On the other hand, your hotel could save up to million liter of water by conserving water .
Your hotel can install low-flow shower heads (6 liter per minute, whereas conventional models spend 9 liter per minute) and low-flow sink aerators (4 liter per minute, instead of 8 to 15 liter per minute for conventional sinks). You could save up to 200 million liter per year. By conserving water, it’s not only better for the environment but also reduce the cost.
3. Fair Trade-Off to the Locals
Does your hotel employ local people? Does your hotel promote local tourism, or using the raw material from around you? Fair trade-off is one of the factors that make your green hotel a real sustainable hotel. Fair-trade off means that your hotel already emphasize the implementation of the eco-tourism concept. This action will totally help local farmers and also their family. It’s not only going to bring a better life for them, but also it will boost a favorable review of your hotel in review sites and also social media. The positive words of mouth will attract more customers, and certainly more green initiatives can be done with larger impacts.
4. Delivers to the Guests by Providing Evidence
Delegate to the guests of the things your green hotel had already done to the environment and the locals. Let the guests know the green practices your green hotel already accomplished. You could also involve your guests to the green practices or activities. You can show the guests how does your hotel manage the carbon and energy use, how does your hotel conserve the water and other resources. Or you can show how your hotel reduce the effects of waste, hazardous and otherwise, on the surrounding environment. You can also make the guests feel that they directly contributing in promoting sustainability for the environment. And also engage the guests into supporting the local community through the program your green hotel provides. You can also provides option for the guests such as: bike rentals and local culture-based activities.
5. Not Only Jargon
If your hotel placed in the middle of a heavy-occupied neighborhood, you’re probably not having a green hotel. Maybe you warn the guests “save the water”, but you can’t actually track that don’t you? It has something to do with the water infiltration and the effects on the local’s water source. You can name it green hotel, but in the same time, your hotel causes harm to the local people, especially on their water source. Some justify that they dig a deeper water source, but eventually, it will affects their water source indirectly. The other examples are facial tissues or toilet tissue products. Many claim percentages of post-consumer recycled goods without providing evidence. Sometimes, several hotel put tags such as “100% natural material” or some sort, on the bathroom amenities.
But do you know that many hazardous material are also considered ‘natural’ because they are also come from the nature? There you deliver white lies to your guests. Using a jargon such as organic, eco friendly, and natural, without actually delivering healthy and environmentally friendly substance should be avoided. There is actually no regulation on using ‘green’ jargon, so it can be widely used by many hotels. But this can be boomerang to your hotel, moreover, if you deliver too many lies to the environmentally conscious guests.
The image of green hotel aren’t always positive. Researchers found that consumers with high levels of environmental concern still felt morally obligated to participate in the hotel’s green initiative, despite realizing its greenwashing tendencies. Many people in other hand, they are not always believe the green claims that is made by the so-called green hotels. Research shows a majority are willing to boycott a company if they misled. Green hotels goes beyond the hotel personalization such as green-decorated hotel and fully planted walls, if your hotel still use toxic chemical material, have bad waste management and harm the indigenous people’s life. You can start to implement this recommendation on your green hotel in order to avoid greenwashing.