It is the start of a new decade! And 2020 will become the starting point of a change within our industries, towards a future that, hopefully, will have less impact in the Environment. The Hospitality & Tourism industry shall be not left behind, it is time that we, as Managers of the industry, strive to start implementing small changes that will result on a reduction of our utilities, our Carbon Footprint and our bills.
Contrary to the general perception out there, running a Green business CAN SAVE YOU MONEY. To me, greening your business means taking control and reducing your use of water & energy and production of waste, which in turn, reduces your Carbon and saves you money, it is a win-win situation for a tourism business.
One of the questions most of my potential customers ask on our first discovery call is “How do I get started?”. The answer is simple, it starts by choosing a winning Green Team.
This might be yourself, or someone of authority within the organisation. Preferably someone that is respected and listened too by all members of the team. Your Green Manager will be in charge of:
You should allow your Green Manager to spend at least half a day a week, and if possible, a full day every week, to work on the Greening of your business. Staff need to be allowed the necessary time to implement changes, and this can only come from top level management, making a conscious decision to change, starting with allocating working hours to your Green Journey.
A strong green culture across your entire team will determine the success of your efforts. Younger people are, in most cases, more conscious of sustainability than we are. The Climate Crisis concern has escalated in the past couple of years and it is the younger generations that care most about the environment.
Fortunately, for the Hospitality Industry, there is an abundance of young staff that spend their summers or the first few years of their adult life working in hotels and restaurants around the country. Utilise them!!
Your Green Team, should include people from all your business departments, your Heads of Department can become leaders of your sub-teams, but make sure you also include your Junior younger members into each sub-team. This will ensure that your Green Team does not become “something management does” but rather “something that everyone is involved in”.
Call a staff meeting; involve as many staff as you can. Tell them of your plans to green your business, tell them what your green vision is, how do you want your business to perform in terms of Carbon Footprint in the next 12 months, what is the overall goal.
Ask them for their opinion, ask them to get involved, ask them for suggestions.
Set up a Green Suggestion box in your staff area, and encourage them to put Green ideas for your business. After all, they work 40 hours a week (at least!) in your building, they walk every corridor, they enter every room, they know how everything works in the floor, so the best suggestions will come from them.
Every month, open the suggestion box and read all suggestions, the ones that are good should get a little reward, it does not have to cost a fortune, a voucher or a meal for two at your business would be a nice reward to those that took the time to think of an action you can implement.
Further more, allow that staff member to be involved in the action or project they suggested, make sure you allow them the necessary time during working hours to put the plan into action. It will generate a culture of pride and achievement amongst your team.
Your managers and heads of department are the closest to the floor staff and it is important that they are all involved in your Green Team. Like with any task, you should set up clear targets for them, targets that are clear, measurable and achievable. For example, if your Head Chef is the leader of the waste team, his target could be to reduce food waste production by 20% in the next 6 months. That is something tangible, measurable and achievable.
Allocate each head of department to the environmental section that makes the most sense based on their daily jobs, for example:
Community and CSR:
Set up quarterly Green Team meetings at a minimum, that is only 4 meetings a year, if you can make them bi-monthly, all the better, the more often you meet to talk about sustainability, the more you will embed a Green culture within your organization.
Ensure your Green Manager receives the appropriate training, that will give them the knowledge and the tools required, to set up an Environmental Management system that will control and reduce your business utilities.
Don’t wait till the season is on top of you again, make a plan and start changing TODAY. If you take this seriously, 12 months from now you will have saved a lot of money on your utility bills, you will have reduced your impact to the environment, your business will be eligible to win Green Awards, and your customers will appreciate your efforts.