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Sustainable practices, initiatives vital for greening the hotel industry
According to Michele de Witt, director of Horwath HTL South Africa, implementing sustainable thinking practices is necessary in the hospitality sector and vital to driving operational efficacy and boosting cash flow.
“Sustainability initiatives should extend far beyond the hotel’s in-house operations. Participating as a responsible citizen in developing a sustainable destination, which in-turn ensures the destination’s attractiveness in the future is also imperative,” says De Witt.
Executing sustainable practices in this sector is not straightforward. It requires a thorough understanding of the hotel’s operation – placing energy and water conservation, as well as waste and environmental management at the top of the list, according to De Witt, requires a ‘deliberate, robust effort’ from establishments, guided by a well-formulated policy and framework and calls for ‘commitment from everyone in the business’.
“Staff training and awareness on the sustainable policy, why it was established, when it will be activated and how it will be maintained and monitored is important and will determine the degree of buy-in from team members and their continued motivation to adopt new green practices,” adds De Witt.
De Witt explains that sustainable practises and initiatives should include ‘greening’ the hotel’s supply chain, and taking a more responsible leadership role by maintaining a 'sense of place' that supports geographical location and environment in which the hotel operates. “Sustainably implemented initiatives could result in immediate operating cost saving, reflected in an improved bottom line and optimised asset value.”