Sustainability – The Key to a Successful, Resilient Business

In this day and age, sustainability is essential to the success of any business or enterprise. Has it been on your mind? Well the time is ripe for pausing to reflect to find out if incorporating sustainability into your business model might drastically improve your success rate. Here are some questions to ask yourself and explore through analysis if the answer is, YES.

“Is it the right thing to do?”

“Is it the financially rewarding thing to do?”

“Will bad things happen if we don’t do it?”

The Ultimate 10 “Whys” of Sustainability

To best answer these 3 “Whys” regarding sustainability, the Ultimate 10 “Whys” identified by Bob Willard author, speaker, and founder of Sustainability Advantage, must be explored.

  • Purpose activation: Will our company purpose, mission, and values be achieved if we improve our sustainability performance?
  • Revenue growth: How much will our revenue grow if we improve our sustainability performance?
  • Expense savings: How much will our carbon, energy, materials, water, waste, and other expenses be reduced if we improve our sustainability performance?
  • Employee hiring and retention savings: How will employee hiring and retention expenses be reduced if we improve our sustainability performance?
  • Employee productivity and engagement: How will employee productivity and engagement be improved if we improve our sustainability performance?
  • Bottom-line profit improvement: How much will our profit improve if we improve our sustainability performance?
  • ROI strength: Will the ROI meet our normal hurdle rate and payback period norms and by compelling enough to choose the sustainability initiatives ahead of other projects?
  • Balance sheet strength: Will the company balance sheet be improved if we improve our sustainability performance?
  • Stock market performance: Will company market valuation be improved if we improve our sustainability performance?
  • Risk avoidance: What will the financial risks will we incur if we don’t improve our sustainability performance?

On the journey towards sustainability, these questions are a resource to guide you towards building a more sustainable business venture. They will assist in the monetized assessment of all potential tangible and intangible benefit areas for each sustainability initiative and clarify how to best take the first step.  Business entrepreneurs face so many unknowns in this world, from changes in staffing, fluctuations in the economy to social and political upheaval in parts of the world.  Sustainability can be the framework to build and grow a business that is adaptable and resilient as well as one that not only generates profit but benefits people and the planet.

So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of this resource and go forth with making change for the “good of business.”

Source: Sustainable Brands

Hotel ‘Greenwashing’ Dirties Eco-friendly Reputation

Hotels across the globe are increasingly encouraging guests to embrace green practices. Yet while guests think they are supporting the environment by shutting off lights and reusing towels, they may in fact be victims of “greenwashing,” a corporation’s deceitful practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs while hiding ulterior motives.

Greenwashing practices, such as a sign that reads “save the planet: re-use towels,” coupled with claims of corporate social responsibility, have soiled the trust of American consumers who are increasingly recognizing hotels’ green claims may be self-serving. This could cause hotels to lose valuable repeat customers.

Writing in the Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Washington State University hospitality researchers Imran Rahman, Jeongdoo Park and Christina Geng-qing Chi investigate the consequences of greenwashing in the lodging industry and suggest ways hotels can establish credibility in consumers’ minds.

Their paper, “Consequences of ‘Greenwashing:’ Consumers’ Reactions to Hotels’ Green Initiatives,” comes at a time when as many as 79 percent of travelers worldwide agree that implementing eco-friendly practices is important to their choice of lodging. Research shows a majority are willing to boycott a company if misled.

Causes of consumer skepticism

The researchers surveyed over 3,000 consumers to see whether recognizing a hotel’s hidden motive of profit caused them to be skeptical about the hotel’s environmental claims and if it influenced their intention to engage in a linen reuse program or to revisit the hotel.

Since environmentally conscious guests are often willing to pay higher premiums for green hotels, the researchers also examined whether their sense of moral obligation would override skepticism and willingness to participate in a linen reuse program or revisit the hotel.

Results indicated that recognition of a self-serving motive indeed made consumers skeptical and unlikely to participate in the green practice or revisit the hotel in the future.

However, researchers found that consumers with high levels of environmental concern still felt morally obligated to participate in the hotel’s green initiative, despite realizing its greenwashing tendencies.

“We were surprised to discover consumers with high environmental concern don’t have an ‘all or nothing’ attitude,” said Chi. “Our results showed when ecologically conscious consumers know a hotel is not truly green, they will still use the linen reuse program but they will not revisit the hotel.”

In addition to recognizing self-serving motives, the researchers suggest several reasons why consumers may balk at believing hotels’ green claims. Chi said hotels that fail to integrate green practices throughout their establishment – for example, advertising a linen reuse program but not having recycling bins available – might easily make consumers skeptical, especially if the consumer’s comfort is sacrificed in some way.

Consumer skepticism also may build when hotels engage in simple practices, such as discarding disposable toiletry containers, changing the bedding and towels less often or asserting they are green by simply hanging a sign that says they are green. Additionally, if consumers realize hotels have joined commercial green marketing and central reservation associations that don’t inspect the credentials of the applicants, they may view this action as unethical, deceptive or even corporate hypocrisy, said the researchers.

Establishing credibility

The researchers suggest several steps hoteliers can take to develop a positive image of their hotel and reduce consumer skepticism. They said the single most important thing is to become certified by independent and credible agencies such as Green Seal and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), the two major certification programs in the lodging industry.

“Having a comprehensive green program, certifications by independent and widely accepted green agencies and communicating the message to customers are key strategies hotels can use to appear more credible in the eyes of consumers,” said Chi.

Additionally, the researchers suggest hotels use positive word of mouth to attract customers by posting favorable reviews on websites and social media channels and by training staff to follow the establishment’s green practices and be able to inform guests about them.

“Today’s consumers are not always buying the green claims made by hotels,” said Chi. “It is imperative that hotels go the extra mile in integrating environmentally friendly practices to develop credibility in consumers’ minds.”


2 Musts For Getting Your Message Heard

Never before in history has it been more challenging to get your message out there. We’re smack in the middle of mobile madness and everyone’s got something to say. There are over a billion people on Facebook chatting away about their love life, their dog or what they had for breakfast. So how can your brand be broadcasted in a way that is meaningful to your potential customer? Before you go out and buy the next piece of software that promises to do that, let’s get back to basics.

Distill it

The most memorable brands in the world didn’t just happen. They dove deep into the core of their business. What they stand for. How they serve it up. Why their fans (customers, advocates, etc.) just love them. And why others don’t. Then they take all that juicy information and distill it down down down into a simple, super tight, highly memorable phrase that says it all. That’s called a branding line.

This Bud’s for you

We bring good things to life

Coke is it

The Ultimate Driving Machine

Please don’t squeeze the Charmin

They’re Grrrreat!

Remember these?

Moral of this message: Do the in-depth, hard work of knowing who you are and what you stand for. It will pay off in spades.

Fulfill it

Now after you get your brand tight, you have to repeat your message over and over and over again. I promise you will get so sick of it and that’s a sign of a job well done. Consistency is the name of the game. But make sure (this is important) that everyone in your company or organization is crystal clear about your brand message — and drives it in all their communications, in all departments. Mixed messages get neutralized — as if there are no messages at all. So get everyone on board.

Moral of this message:  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. But make sure everyone knows what you are repeating.

Now, that’s how you get heard. 


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