ISHC - The International Society of Hospitality Consultants |

Sustainability can pump profits | By Brita Moosmann ISHC, Kit Cassingham ISHC

19 November 2009

Sustainable hotel operations are responsible and profitable hotel operations. How so, you might wonder, since it is a common myth that sustainable also is more expensive? Responsible operations means you and your organization are doing what you can to make the bottom line better for all stakeholders—making it profitable for all concerned. You continue to run the hotel with the basic business principles of minimizing costs, increasing productivity and profitability, deleting waste and obtaining access to capital at a lower cost because those principles are also basic to sustainability. But sustainable development goes further and deeper; it becomes a value-creating model if it is planned and implemented well and suitable to the realities of the individual hospitality operation.

Sustainable development is an overlap of business and stakeholder interests. By managing according to principles that will strengthen rather than undermine the hotel's roots in the environment, social fabric and economy, sustainable development makes your hotel viable for the long term instead of being in survival mode in the short term. The concept of the Triple Bottom Line—also known as the 3Ps of people, planet, profit—is a model for attaining and measuring the impact of sustainable operations. Though it looks like an accounting term, and possibly should be, the principles outlined in the book of the same title by Andrew Savitz help you remember that all three elements are necessary in a successful operation: Profit (economic prosperity), people (social responsibility), and planet (environmental protection) will strengthen each other in the right mix and constellation. The following diagram shows the interconnectedness of the three elements:

Where social, economic and environmental considerations overlap is where sustainable profit for all stakeholders will be greatest in the long run. That’s your sweet spot of operation.

In this context, sustainability is more than the green or environmental movement of "reduce," "reuse" and "recycle." It goes beyond that to include "rethink." Being sustainable requires rethinking where you generate waste in your procedures so you can plug that leak, as you would a leak in your plumbing. It also requires considering the consequences of all business actions on the social environment and on all stakeholders, including owners and investors. It sometimes requires thinking outside the box to find better ways of doing things, better ways of using your resources, better ways of communicating and measuring. Rethinking your operations can lead to greater efficiency and thus greater profits and sustainability.

Brita Moosmann, (, a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants, is principal of Vesta Consulting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kit Cassingham, (, a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants, is chief sustainability officer of Sage Blossom Consulting in Ridgeway, Colorado.

The International Society of Hospitality Consultants, ISHC, is a professional society of 200 members in 22 countries who are leading consultants in the hospitality industry. The Society is dedicated to promoting the highest quality of professional consulting standards and practices for the hospitality industry. Membership is by invitation only. ISHC as an organization represents a one of a kind collection of experience and expertise in the hospitality industry. ISHC members have expertise in over 30 different specialty areas in the hospitality industry and collectively have experience with over 50 hotel companies and nearly 100 brands worldwide. Additionally, ISHC members represent numerous prominent independent hotels throughout the world. ISHC members' clients include domestic and international, public and private hotel owners and investors, many leading financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, food and beverage service firms, airlines, cruise lines, time share and vacation ownership companies, universities, state, national and international convention, hospitality travel and tourism bureaus.

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Vesta Consulting
1070 - 1200 West 73rd Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6P 6G5
Phone: 604-723-6904
Fax: 775 239.1577

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