2018 has ushered in a new focus on a hotbed of environmental concerns, which, while present before, have been brought front and center as pressing issues. Getting businesses to participate is a critical step to making changes of a size and scale necessary to reverse some the damage and prevent the planet from suffering further.
With a reported 55% of consumers being willing to pay more for products and services that meet ethical and environmental standards, corporate social responsibility can both save the planet, and help improve the green that corporations really care about – the balance sheet.
How do we highlight responsible corporate citizens? For the hospitality industry, the Green Key rating system is fast becoming the new standard.
What is the Green Key Rating?
With more than 2600 establishments in 56 countries attaining the Green Key rating, Green Key evaluates properties on a scale of one to five Keys, with five Keys being the highest ranking based on a series of stringent criteria. These range from staff involvement with green issues, to water, food and beverages, energy, and guest information on green issues. While some criteria may be more challenging than others, a high corporate social responsibility rating is worth its weight in PR gold.
Customers that are willing to spend more to be environmentally responsible desire a third-party rating system that gives them the confidence they need to spend their hard-earned money on eco-friendly businesses.
Which businesses can request to be evaluated for a Green Key rating?
Eligible companies include: attractions, conference centers, restaurants, campsites, holiday parks, and accommodations (i.e. hotels, hostels, and smaller guest accommodations). The Green Key is a global standard – allowing companies in any country to request a rating. While the rating criteria are best suited to institutions that offer overnight stays, tourist attractions are also eligible to win the award.
Many Are Businesses That You’d Expect…
The nature of the award means that certain businesses are more likely to achieve the award. For example, Wales has a series of conservation centers and ecological accommodation sites, including the Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, Castell Henllys Iron Age Village, and Glan Llyn Farmhouse, that have attained the rating. As the sites themselves are conducive to the factors of the award, it’s no surprise that they have achieved the eco-label.
…And Some Are Businesses That You Wouldn’t
Fifteen of the casino resorts operated by MGM Resorts International have achieved the prestigious Green Key rating for environmental conservation so far, including Mandalay Bay and ARIA. This shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the competitive nature of the gaming industry. And eco-certifications offer a translatable way to showcase forward thinking business ethics. This is no surprise, given that the eco-label is asymptomatic of the future and forward thinking, and explained by Betway the history of casinos shows that they have always been at the forefront of technology, such as harnessing live streaming technology and OCR before they were more widely used. Creativity counts, and eco-labeling is one way to really standout in a competitive space. According to the articles, casinos have always been at the forefront of technology; for example, they harnessed live streaming technology and OCR long before the rest of the corporate world.
Hotels are Leading the Way
Certain hotels have also been urged to enter as part of their initiatives. For example, Marriott has a “Go Green” initiative. This allows them to chase different certifications, as well as appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
And Marriot isn’t the only one. Throughout the world, more than 80 Park Inn by Radisson hotels have been awarded the eco-label, and more than 200 across the entire Rezidor group of hotels. As hotels handle a prolific amount of washing and cleaning cycles, consume a ton of energy and water, it’s important that the market continues to incentivize these types of awards.
This truly is a global push. Other hotels come from as far away as the Island Pacific Hotel in Hong Kong, to the Hotel Haikko Manor and Spa in Finland. Each have different challenges in tackling the criteria of the award, depending on their immediate operating environment. This require the Green Key standards to be well-suited for a global audience.
Environmental Education for the Future
Green Key also works on educating for the future of environmental protection and conservation. Membership works almost like attaining scout badges, as prospective members have to work through educational toolkits in order to accomplish each objective. The onus is on businesses to educate and change from within and keep the educational chain for the customers.
By training staff on environmental issues, the trickledown effect creates a better global understanding. The eco-label can also act as a beacon of differentiation for hotels and attractions for those travelers who wish to travel with the planet’s future in mind.
The Green Key rating challenges businesses at their own game – that of competition. A business only succeeds in a saturated industry through innovation and perseverance. Having an environmental award available to both improve PR through corporate social responsibility and communicate to consumers exactly where the company stands on environmental sustainability is a huge win for mother earth.