In 2016, Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research published a critical report outlining key sustainability benchmark figures. Considering this report, Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index 2016: Energy, Water, and Carbon, hotel operators, now more than ever, need to go beyond their CSR policies and integrate conservation initiatives with their business strategies. Premier hotels like the Proximity and the Bardessono are already using renewable resources to reduce energy and water consumption.
However, achieving environmental sustainability and meeting compliance requirements on such a large scale requires a data-driven structured approach. Analytics can play a crucial role in enabling operators to stringently evaluate their environmental, health, and safety (EHS) practices.
Roadblocks to Overcome
The pace at which the hospitality industry has been adopting EHS is impeded by a marked lack of standardized corporate environmental sustainability expectations and defined conservation goals. Without a proper framework in place, investments are largely routed to fund disjointed programs that fail to measurably align with the overarching business goals. The absence of a central procurement unit for green technology and the reluctance of property owners to overhaul their existing infrastructure further exacerbate the problem – leading to more discontinued services and retrofit projects which add little to no value. The present operating model tries to bring about a semblance of coherence by bringing together facility operators and design teams for developing an effective EHS management system. However, with no proper training programs in place, its capabilities remain limited.
Reimagining EHS Management
Ideally, a robust EHS management system needs a strong foundation of consumption, cost, and emission monitoring and tracking functions. This requires an IoT-enabled infrastructure for capturing data that can be leveraged by analytics to reveal gap areas and deviations from established KPIs. With a sharp focus on implementing viable resource optimization plans, analytics can be further utilized to identify conservation opportunities, develop forecasts, and define a sustainability roadmap in line with expected business outcomes. Moreover, learnings from an isolated operating unit can be shared as best practices, allowing companies to replicate the success across centers and supply chains.
A comprehensive EHS solution must also allow creation and continual revision of material safety data sheets (MSDS) – a cornerstone to building a comprehensive health and safety program. All of this can be tied together and further augmented through an integrated reporting system that alerts stakeholders in case of non-compliance and digression from conservation goals.
Not too long ago, Hilton Worldwide became the first hospitality company to be certified under the Superior Energy Performance by the US Department of Energy. Over the years, the firm has extensively invested in developing proprietary technologies that can monitor and analyze utility usage across sites. Having implemented this system, the hotel chain has diminished energy consumption by 14.5%, waste output by 27.6%, water usage by 14.1%, and carbon output by 20.9%.
An effective EHS management system can also help hotel operators align their brand image with consumer sentiments—something that may have gone unnoticed in the past. Adhering to established green practices can not only cement an enterprise’s reputation, but also ensure long-term profitability and cost efficiency.
What other strategies can hotels implement to enhance their EHS program? Please tell us in the comments section below.