As more businesses work to do a better job at reducing their environmental impact, they are looking at the impact of meetings that they hold, including the venues like hotels that are used for offsite meetings and travel. More and more hotels are actively seeking to reduce their environmental impact, to save money, do the right thing, and attract business. Kit Cassingham writes and consults about the hows and whys of greening of the hospitality industry, helping businesses do a better job at being environmentally sensitive. She has been involved in the hospitality industry since 1985, and the environmental arena since 1972. She founded Sage Blossom Consulting in 1989 to consult with the bed and breakfast industry and in 2004 she actively merged her environmental conservation and hospitality backgrounds.
To help people find eco-friendly venues and places to stay during travel, a great starting point is a resource that Cassingham has created at Environmentally Friendly Hotels. Her database includes over 3000 hotels that are ranked according to a variety of parameters, including their efforts to conserve energy and water, use renewable energy, reduce waste, serve organic food products, and to use eco-friendly products.
Many hotels don’t actively promote green efforts, so you might have to do some asking to find out about the efforts sites are making behind the scenes. To narrow down your list when you are looking for a hotel, Cassingham suggests a checklist of the green issues that matter to you so you can ask questions about environmental practices such as:
– Do you use only durable serving items; plates, cups/glasses, flatware,
– Is your food locally sourced and organic?
– Do you compost?
– Do your recycle, and if so, what?
– How much of your electricity is from renewable energy?
– Do you have a sheet and towel reuse program?
– Do you have bulk amenity dispensers in the guestrooms?
– Can your attendees opt out of having a newspaper delivered?
– Do you recycle, and if so are their recycling bins in the guestrooms?
– Do you donate to charity?
– Are you sheets and towels made of cotton or other natural fibers (as opposed to polyester blends)?
“Leave smaller footprints when you travel. Be conserving away from home too,” Cassingham advises. Many small steps like these can add up to make a big difference.