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Spa Industry Quietly Embracing Sustainable Business Practices

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LEXINGTON, KY—With nearly 100 million active spa-goers globally, the spa community casts a large net. Affecting society, the economy, culture and the environment, spa is synonymous with healthy lifestyles. And the eco-conscious roots of the industry are growing deeper still.

“Environmental consciousness has always been there for the spa community,” says International SPA Association Chairman Jim Root. “Sustainability is in the fabric of spa. Sustainability is based on the very same ideals as the timeless values of spa and Salus Per Aquum. Sustainability is not a passing fad; it’s a deliberate lifestyle for those who work in the industry as well as those who visit spas.”

Everywhere you look, companies are jumping onboard the “go green” concept and are offering sustainable alternatives for the conscious consumer. According to Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS)—a $208 billion U.S. marketplace for goods and services focused on health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living—approximately 16 percent of U.S. adults fall into the category of the conscious consumer.

To demonstrate its commitment to the environment, earlier this year ISPA partnered with the LOHAS 11 Forum.

Setting an Example for Guests

“ISPA encourages everyone to become more sustainable,” says ISPA President Lynne McNees. “Whether at work or at home, just do something simple. Once you start, the opportunities to make an impact are endless. It’s refreshing to see spas and product suppliers that may have started with basic recycling efforts in their offices now passing the message of sustainability to millions of guests.”

Below is a sampling of ISPA members that have incorporated sustainable efforts into their companies:

• New Mexico’s El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa features the “Living Machine,” a water recycling system that is designed to filter wastewater through pools that are rich with fish, plants and other natural filters. The end result is reclaimed water that is used to irrigate botanical gardens and landscaping, including herbs, vegetables and exotic fruits that are served at the property’s restaurant.

• Fairmont Hotels & Resorts around the world have adopted the Green Partnership Program, which is a company-wide stewardship effort that strives to minimize properties’ operational impact on the environment through resource conservation and best practices. In doing so, the properties respect and value the indigenous culture that enhances the guests’ authentic experience.

• With 2,900 properties in the United States and 67 other countries, Marriott International’s sustainable environmental practices include conservation of natural resources, protection of indigenous wildlife, and reducing and recycling waste wherever possible.

• When a spa was added to New York’s historic Mohonk Mountain House, top priority was given to the insertion of a geothermal heating and cooling system. This system provides an emission-free and noise-free alternative to traditional heating and cooling methods. A green roof helps insulate the building as well, and it also provides a habitat for birds and butterflies.

• Mexico’s Rancho La Puerta destination spa launched a cooking school this summer and has had an on-site sustainable garden from the time it opened in 1940. Rancho La Puerta uses soaps without phosphates, recycled paper and recycles greywater (dish, shower, sink and laundry water) through a marshland.

Many ISPA member product companies are also specializing in eco-friendly products:

• Erbaviva was created as a way to offer pregnant women and babies upscale products completely free of all harsh detergents, chemical fragrances and other unhealthy additives. The product line then expanded to include organic skin care products for the whole family. Erbaviva also helps fund a project that benefits the Pwo Karen hill tribe of Northern Thailand and Burma.

• Fianna Spa Fashions’ garments for spa therapists are made from hemp and hemp-based fabrics, which are sustainable and biodegradable.

• Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics are based on micronized minerals and are made without fillers, binders, chemical dyes or preservatives.

• SpaRitual targets the eco-conscious beauty enthusiast. Their vegan nail polishes are free of DBP—a chemical that has been linked to severe birth defects in boys. Therefore, SpaRitual’s products are safe for pregnant women to use.

• Tara Spa Therapy Inc.’s products are packaged in environmentally friendly and recycled materials, and TARA aromatherapy essential oils are exclusively certified organic.

Additionally, the association is “walking the talk” when it comes to preserving the environment. ISPA’s additional environmental efforts include:

• Use of soy-based ink on printed pieces;

• Recycling paper, plastics, cardboard and aluminum;

• Use of recycled packaging materials when shipping; and

• Use of a Forestry Stewardship Council-certified printer for collateral.

ISPA’s Sustainability Statement: To grow our industry toward a deeper connection with the natural laws of nature, we embrace the three pillars of sustainability: planet, people and prosperity.

Go to ISPA.

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