March 28, 2023

Time Of Transition To Green Hotels

Over the years, tourism has experienced increased development and expanded diversification; thus, maturing to one of the fastest developing financial sectors around the world. Currently, in today’s world, tourism is widely recognised as a key roleto achieving the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals also referred to as SDGs as seen in figure1. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation(UNWTO) assists the tourism sector in advocating responsible tourism and promoting tourism as a driving force towards inclusive development and environmental sustainability as well as economic growth (Click here to read more about the 17 UN SDGs, Sustainability in the hotel sector focuses mainly on two points:

  1. Environmental Sustainable practices and,
  2. Social Sustainable practices.

Environmental Sustainable Practice:


The rapid growth of the hotel industry contributes significantly to the degradation of the environment globally. This is due to the large amount of consumption of energy, water, cooling, and lighting as well as waste. Environment sustainability practices within the hotel industry include other practices such as:

●     Furnishing rooms with environmental friendly materials (FSC, PEFC),

●     Water saving toilets and sinks in bathrooms with low flush and flow rates,

●     Recycling cooking oil,

●     Implementing energy saving programs, one strategy is the use of censored LED lighting,

There is a great interest in implementing sustainable development practices in the hotel industry to reduce environmental impact and continuous pressure from the media, government and customers are demanding the hotel industry to implement sustainable practices that are environmentally friendly. Based on a survey conducted by TripAdvisor, around two thirds (62%) of travellers/customers consider environmental issues when deciding to stay at a hotel. When a hotel implements sustainable practices, the hotel benefits from two perspectives :

  1. Implementing sustainable strategies and practices leads to improvement of resource efficiency, and savings related to energy and     water consumption.
  2. Functions as a marketing tool for attracting customers interested in sustainability.


The hotel industry has launched various initiatives to show their support and willingness to adopt sustainability such as putting eco-labels, implementing sustainable practices and adopting environmental management systems. If the hotel industry does not in corporate sustainable practices and conservation of resources within the core of it’s business culture, the industry will struggle or not be able to survive in the future as climate change and pollution can damage the basis for further industry development.  


Here are a few examples of implementing sustainable practices within a hotel:

●     Installing energy-efficient appliances and implementing renewable energy programs,

●     Reducing water consumption by installing water efficient devices and equipment and implementing a towel and linen reuse program,

●     Waste management and reduction by implementing recycling programs and using durable items rather than disposable ones.

Social Sustainable Practice:

Social sustainable practices include:

●      Investment in training and employee development,

●      Listening to employees’ suggestions and feedback

●     Encouraging employees to take parti n various kinds of social events,

●     Providing guests with high quality services and a safe environment

●     Paying hotel’s suppliers for their services on time.


The benefits of implementing sustainability practices allow positive effects on the performance of the organisation at various levels, such as employee satisfaction, company reputation and image, and loyalty of key stakeholders which in turn provides long term competitive advantages as seen in figure 6. Managers invest in the environmental development of their hotels to improve public relations and promote better relations with the local community. Environmental practices in the hotel sector increases profitability by improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Increased profitability is associated with increased demand for green products and services in the global market.

According to the United Nations, the hotel industry contributes to environmental degradation and it is necessary to to implement sustainable development and practices within the industry in order to achieve the UN SDGs for a sustainable future.Implementing sustainable strategies also benefits the hotel industry in the long run as Trip Advisor conducted a survey which showed that 67% of customers would choose to stay at a sustainable hotel rather than a traditional built resort. Applying sustainable practices also allows better employee development and satisfaction as well as better customer satisfaction by creating a safe and healthier occupancy comfort. In conclusion, the transition to green hotels is for a sustainable future.


Quote: “Sustainable development is the masterful balance of meeting our own needs without jeopardizing the future generations’ ability to do the same.”  

Written by
Sanjeewa Jayasundara