Having an environmental management system, which includes policy, training, objectives, and corrective actions, enables to have a structure in place for your sustainable activities. It also gives direction and an understanding for everyone working in the facility and outside the organisation of the actions your business wants to implement. Lastly, it will also allow you to keeping records of the initiatives in place and drive continual improvement within your organisation.
Before starting to take actions, it is important to identify the main impact of your business, for instance waste, water, or energy consumption. You should measure these impact (e.g. how much energy was consumed in a month), and set priorities on what to address and then take actions.
As it is the case for other tasks, defining responsibilities for environmental management will allow to setting accountabilities if actions are not implemented and ensure that the tasks are taken seriously. It could be you or someone else in the hotel responsible for the overall sustainability strategy, and other people responsible for each impact area (waste, water, etc.).
For each impact area, it is recommended to define targets and deadline (e.g. reduce food waste by 20% by the end of the year). These targets enable you and the staff to have a tangible direction and focus your efforts on reaching the objectives.
After setting the actions and targets, you should draft an environmental policy. This will allow to communicating inside and outside your organisation the actions that your business will take. It is important that the policy is signed by the top management to ensure its commitment.
Then, it is paramount to train your staff on your business’ sustainability strategy and the initiatives that will be taken. It is important that they understand why they need to take such actions and how they are supposed to do it. Training should be given regularly (e.g. once per year)
You could also communicate to your guests about gestures they could take both inside and outside your facilities. For instance you could make it clear for them to separate waste in their rooms, use the refill station, or use e-bikes.. You can also ask them for feedback on your green actions at the end of their stay.
It is necessary to monitor the area of impact (plastic waste, food waste, etc.) and check them against the targets after a period of time (a year). If the targets have not been met, you or the person responsible would need to find out why and implement corrective actions. Or implement additional actions to reduce your impact if the targets have been met.
Keeping records of performance, trainings, targets, initiatives taken, corrective actions is important to see how your actions are evolving with time and keep track of mistakes made and improvement areas. It will also be useful if you want your business to be certified as they will require these documents.
Don’t forget to recognize the efforts made! This can be done internally via emails, celebration as well as externally through social media, newsletter, and publication on your website. You can also share the news with us and we will be more than happy to communicate about it on our website and network.
If you want further information on management systems and policy, check out here the detailed manual by Green Hotelier.
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