When you examine the topic of sustainability, it becomes clear that despite our best efforts to focus on it, real progress has taken too long. Specifically, when you look at efforts in the hotel industry, it’s clear that companies such as Fairmont Hotels & Resorts have been leaders in this field for quite some time — dating back, in fact to its previous iteration when the company was part of Canadian Pacific Hotels & Resorts. And, while many other hotel companies have followed suit in recent years, introducing various greening initiatives along the way and making great inroads, we can’t attain a true measure of success at the hands of a few companies — to truly make a significant impact, we have to be all in.
While the simple mantra of the three R’s: reducing, re-using and recycling apply more today than ever, we need to become comprehensive in our efforts. To truly be sustainable, we need to focus on all elements of our infrastructure — from transportation, to the energy we use, to our water supply, to waste — not just food waste but also water and energy waste right down to the design of the hotel. We need to focus on the products we use in every hotel department, we need to ensure that we reduce our carbon footprint and we need to treat our oceans and lakes with the respect they deserve. The only way to accomplish these goals is to ensure your business has a sustainability strategy in place and to provide practical steps that are easy for staff to follow while partnering with like-minded suppliers who will help you in your quest.
Not only is going green the right thing to do, but as columnist Cayley Dow so aptly explains in this month’s column, “Companies that prioritize corporate governance (ESG) are more successful in attracting and retaining great talent,” which is more important than ever given pervasive labour shortages. She cites a report from Mercer that found that one in four employees admit they would quit if their employer had a poor sustainability record. In fact, Dow states that more than 40 per cent of Canadian youth between the ages of 16 and 25 report that climate anxiety is affecting their daily functioning, and therefore employees are increasingly looking for aligned companies that are actioning a sustainable future.
But let’s not forget that to succeed on the sustainability front, we need to better understand that the word has taken on a broader context. Granted, to be true environmental stewards, it behooves us to care about the planet to ensure its survival and to succeed we need to focus on all the points cited above. But equally important is paying staff living wages so they can have a sustainable future, treating them equitably, being inclusive, and giving them a voice.
NB: After several years of hiatus, Kostuch Media Ltd., is proud to once again present its annual Green Leadership Awards at our Top 30-under-30 Leadership Summit, scheduled for June 13th at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.