Reducing our industry’s environmental impact takes teamwork and making best practices easily available so that those who are not as far along the green path can copy and improve upon what has been done. That is the message behind the announcement this past week by AHLA to launch Responsible Stay, an industry-wide commitment to make meetings, events, and guest experiences in America’s hotels more environmentally and socially responsible. (See article on Green Lodging News.)
The Responsible Stay website details the program’s principles and areas of focus, provides examples of what more than 20 companies are doing, features company success snapshots, and provides access to resources one can download—posters and table tents, for example. I learned a lot from the site and will use it down the road as I generate content for Green Lodging News. Be sure to check out the Responsible Stay site.
In a nutshell, Responsible Stay is focused on prioritizing hotels’ environmental sustainability efforts in four key areas:
- Energy efficiency: optimizing energy efficiency through operational improvements and adoption of clean energy technologies;
- Waste reduction: investing in waste reduction programs and new, innovative alternatives to reduce, reuse and recycle waste across properties;
- Water conservation: ensuring the reduction of water usage by implementing water-efficient practices in core areas like laundry, food and beverage, and landscaping; and
- Responsible sourcing practices: sourcing responsibly and prioritizing sustainability in supply chains to prevent harmful environmental and social impacts.
“The hotel industry has shown a longstanding commitment to sustainability, and many of our member companies have been on the leading edge of these efforts. We’re thrilled that the industry is committed to this critical issue that will shape how we travel for years to come,” said Chip Rogers, President, and CEO of AHLA. “The launch of Responsible Stay is the next step of our industry’s sustainability journey, and we are uniting as an industry to provide a responsible stay for our employees, guests, communities and our planet.”
As our industry’s leading hotel association, it is critical for AHLA to take a leadership role when it comes to corporate social responsibility. Responsible Stay builds on the following efforts already undertaken by AHLA:
- AHLA’s Sustainability Committee, comprised of industry leaders, communicates, educates and advocates on behalf of the lodging industry to showcase environmental efforts and elevates environmental sustainability and resilience;
- AHLA’s new partnership with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance works to amplify, collaborate on and support hospitality sustainability programs and solutions;
- AHLA’s long-standing partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and the Hotel Kitchen program, which uses innovative strategies to engage staff, partners and guests in curbing food waste from hotel kitchens;
- AHLA’s ongoing partnership with the Department of Energy Better Buildings Initiative highlights energy efficiency and drives leadership in energy innovation in the hospitality sector by accelerating investment and sharing successful best practices; and
- AHLA’s newly formed research initiative with GreenView helps quantify and benchmark sustainability practices across the hotel industry in the United States, which will allow for better insights, best-practice development and sustainability progress tracking over time.
Kudos to AHLA and all Responsible Stay’s supporters for contributing to this new program and website. In the article posted on my site you can read many comments from our industry’s leading executives about the launch of Responsible Stay. In those comments you will learn some interesting facts. For example, did you know more than 200 of Highgate Hotels’ properties are powered by 100 percent renewable energy? Or, that Host Hotels & Resorts is aiming to be a net positive company by 2050?
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