Return on Investment: Corporate Sustainability
Written By Chris A. Maslin
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a hot topic, and critical to Biltmore’s core value of community service. Specifically, we seek to also be force for sustainability in our local community and world. Corporate sustainability may be a current buzzword, but it has been part of the Vanderbilt legacy from day one and we pursue it still today. In fact, Biltmore received recognition for these efforts in by winning the “Triple Bottom Line Award”.
As the general population becomes more educated, aware, and action oriented about environmental issues, many customers are seeking out businesses with a strong environmentally responsible track record. Patrons want to know whether their companies are actively seeking to reduce their carbon footprint or if are they sticking to the wasteful ways of the past. If they find they later is true, they will take their business elsewhere.
In the hospitality industry exceeding expectations of the guest is the goal. However, as guests behavior changes, so do their expectations. Exceeding guests’ expectations once meant fresh towels and linens daily or an endless supply of water bottles in the mini- fridge. Today, exceeding environmentally conscious guests’ expectations means something much different. There are many little things that can be done to make a difference and save our precious natural resources. Below are some ideas we implement at Biltmore that can help make your organization more sustainable.
- “Green Teams”: Utilize employee teams from various departments to analyze ways to improve operations and reduce your environmental impact.
- Provide Recycling Receptacles: Make recycling easy for your guests. Where ever there is a trash can, provide a recycling option right next to it; in rooms, restaurants, public areas, restrooms, etc. They will think twice about throwing away that paper bag or plastic bottle.
- Rethink To-Go Boxes: Eco-friendly to go boxes may be a bit pricier, but your patrons will appreciate you taking the initiative.
- Donate un-served food to a local food bank: As a hospitality operator, you may not be able to serve food to your paying guests, but someone out there could really benefit from a meal. Food banks and local shelters are always happy to accept donations.
- Composting: many commercial composting operations are popping up around the country. Explore your options to decrease your waste and your waste removal bills. Most hospitality companies will recognize a 20% savings by implementing a composting operation.
This is just a start. From energy efficiency to waste reduction, an investment in corporate sustainability can boost margins, while appealing to both customers and employees. Consider ways you can revise operations to become more sustainable and deliver ROI.
Chris Maslin, SPHR, is the Director of Staffing and Professional Development for the Biltmore Center for Professional Development and the Biltmore Company. The Biltmore Center for Professional Development offers programs that can take your business to the next level of success. For more information or a list of programs, visit us online or call 828-225-6158