Home Personnel Profile Tedd Saunders: One of the First ‘Green Hotel’ Innovators

Tedd Saunders: One of the First ‘Green Hotel’ Innovators

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Name: Tedd Saunders.
Title & Company: President, Boston-based EcoLogical Solutions Inc. and co-owner of a number of hotels including The Lenox Hotel and Comfort Inn & Suites Boston/Airport.
Primary responsibilities: “I focus most of my time on environmental initiatives within hospitality and in the environmental field. I am helping to expand the environmental programs at the Lenox Hotel and Comfort Inn & Suites Boston/Airport.
What keeps me motivated: “The urgency and scope of the climate change issue keeps me humming along. Our world has massive issues to deal with in regard to energy consumption. We are trying to do our part to lead the industry toward a more sustainable future.”
Why I am hopeful: “There are some major changes going on in the leading companies. They have all begun embracing sustainability issues.”
What advice I would give to a hotel company considering going green: “Pursue sustainability. There is so much evidence that it is a smart way to do business.”

BOSTON—Anyone who has followed the progression of the sustainability movement within lodging has heard of Tedd Saunders. One could say he is a green hotel “Founding Father.” One part of the Saunders family that has run hotels in the Boston area since 1940, Tedd has set an example for other hoteliers to follow since 1989. It was then when he began implementing environment-friendly practices at his family’s hotels.

Towel and linen reuse programs are common today but the Saunders Hotel Group was the first company in North America to establish this type of program. It was also the first to implement bulk amenity dispensers and the first in the world to offer carbon neutral accommodations.

As president of Boston-based EcoLogical Solutions, Saunders has helped to implement positive change both inside and outside of the lodging industry. His consulting company has focused on “beyond compliance” initiatives in hotels since 1992. The company has since worked with The Prince of Wales’ Business Leaders Forum, Harvard University, Taj Hotels of India, and Choice Hotels International, among others. Saunders is now helping to green the City of Boston, and working to develop a national green hotel standard as part of his work on the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Engineering & Environment Committee.

Honored for His Efforts

Saunders’ environmentally responsible business approach has won media accolades and many awards. Former President George. H. Bush awarded him a Presidential Gold Medal for Environmental Excellence. The Saunders Hotel Group was named EPA’s Energy Star Partner of the Year, and also earned British Airways’ Tourism for Tomorrow Prize.

Using his families’ properties as a proving ground, Saunders has demonstrated that common sense actions reduce environmental impact and save hotels significant money. They also maintain quality and service while building customer loyalty.

“What excites me about green programs is the opportunity to exceed guests’ expectations,” says Saunders, whose book, The Bottom Line of Green Is Black: Strategies for Creating Profitable and Environmentally Sound Businesses, was published in 1993.

Measurable Results

At the Saunders Hotel Group’s 212-room Lenox Hotel in Boston, Tedd’s work is clearly evident. The property saves 1.7 million gallons of water each year, conserves 110,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, removes 37 tons of trash from the waste stream, saves 175 trees through paper recycling, and relays its green message to more than a third of a million guests. The environmental program at the Lenox, as well as at the Saunders Hotel Group’s other hotels, includes more than 95 green initiatives that significantly lessen the company’s environmental impact.

Saunders says that when he first began implementing green measures at his family’s hotels in 1989, he had no idea it would lead to a career focused on helping others to do the same.

“There is so much opportunity to create change beyond our hotels,” he says.

Seventeen years after seeing “green” for the first time, Saunders is still as strong an advocate of sustainability as ever.

“Can you name any other business approach that can create so many valuable benefits simultaneously?” he asks.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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