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Triple Bottom Line and Eco-Efficiency: Where to Start? By Susan Patel
Eco-Efficiency, also generally termed “green,” is based on the concept of creating more goods and services while using fewer resources and creating less waste and pollution. In other words, it means doing more with less.
Triple bottom line, sometimes called the TBL or 3P approach – People, Planet and Profits, requires thinking in three dimensions, not one. It takes into account ecological and societal performance in addition to financial.
Today, quantifiable environmental impacts include consumption of finite resources, energy usage, water quality and availability, and pollution emitted. Social impacts include community health, employee and guest safety, education quality and diversity.
Why should you consider adapting such an approach?
For one, diverse businesses are learning the benefits of corporate sustainability. Take for example well-known companies such as Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Staples, Bank of America, GE, Home Depot, Anheuser-Busch, Honda, and Dell. It’s simple, factoring these impacts into their overall balance sheets will make these companies more successful because it delivers greater efficiency, makes them more competitive and sparks innovation – all drivers of profitability.
Need even more reasons? A study by A.T. Kearney, Inc, found that in 16 of the 18 industries studied, companies committed to sustainability outperformed industry averages by 15% over the six months from May through November 2008.
“Our study indicates that the market rewards specific companies,” said Dr. Daniel Mahler, author of the study. “We find common characteristics among the leading companies that show that sustainability goes far beyond the narrow definition of being environmentally friendly.”
At the end of the day, in plain English, eco-efficiency equals cost savings that translates directly to the bottom line. Intuitively, doesn’t it just make sense?
Ways to Become Eco-Efficient?
Transforming your hotel to be “green” doesn’t have to be at the expense of financial objectives - rather sustainable businesses are becoming more efficient, more innovative, more connected, more profitable, and more competitive.
However, just like all things, businesses go through phases. The best would be to consult a professional who understands the hospitality industry and sustainable solutions. It’s very easy to find solutions, but does it make sense for your hotel – that is the key factor.
To start, the following points should be incorporated into your hotel’s business strategy – as many are already forced to do given the dizzying energy costs. Let’s try to be proactive by:
Reducing energy usage
Enhancing recycling possibilities and options of all materials used
Utilizing new technology to reduce energy and water consumption
Recycling more and reducing toxic chemical use
Maximizing use of renewable and recycled resources
Purchasing environmentally friendly products, especially for housekeeping
You should also benchmark your hotel to determine your current situation. I have noticed many hotels striving for an Energy Star Certification and, on the flip side, guests seeking hotels that demonstrate green initiatives through certification. This program allows hotels to quantify and track energy and water usage and savings over time.
Wouldn’t you love to cut your energy bills 5-20% immediately?
Bottom line of eco-efficiency is: completely integrate it into your business strategy – before natural resource prices sky-rocket. I believe the triple bottom line thinking and sustainability are unavoidable.
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A valuable resource for hoteliers, EcoGreenHotel.com is dedicated to helping hotels address environmental issues and implement environmentally friendly initiatives. It is a marketplace with plentiful amounts of information ranging from green products and services, industry "green" news, basic environmental overview to other tools like checklists, green project ideas, book lists, and resourceful links for a more sustainable hotel.