Sustainability Week: EHL students lead the fight against waste on campus
Co-written by by SSR Committee
By Julia Barbey, BOSC 3 student and President of the Student Social Responsibility committee
"We are the first generation to experience global warming and the last one to be able to do something about it." - Camille Etienne.
Hospitality reducing its environmental footprint
Global warming is an issue that the world has been facing for years, and time is running out. Every action we take has an impact on the environment and it is our responsibility to implement sustainable practices into our lives and into our campus.
Being one of the fastest growing industries in the world, the Hospitality Industry has an important role to play in saving the environment. There are many ways through which hospitality companies can reduce their environmental footprint. Examples of what has already been done include, but are not limited to: rethinking the whole process of electricity consumption (from construction to lighting), installing a waste management program, switching from chemical washing to natural products, and raising awareness among customers and staff about water consumption.
If well-planned and managed, sustainability can without a doubt also be economically profitable and form part of the success of any company. It is our role as future leaders to take this challenge seriously and make it our top priority.
What is the Student Social Responsibility committee?
Student Social Responsibility (SSR) is a committee within EHL that was created to encourage the students, and therefore future leaders, to adopt a sustainable behavior in their daily and professional lives. SSR is a group of informed and passionate students that have been selected for their dedication to the environment. Our motto is inspired by the Flight of the Hummingbird parable, believing that we should all "do our bit".
The 'new normal': an opportunity for change
Since the start of 2020, the whole world has been hit by the COVID-19 virus, which has killed over 1 million people worldwide and brought the economy to a halt. The Hospitality Industry has been particularly vulnerable to the restrictions in travel and the various lockdowns across the world. While scientists are searching for a cure, the global population has been waiting and adopting sanitary measures to slow the spread of the pandemic. The pandemic has however brought an immense opportunity for change. As world CO2 emissions have decreased and people have learned to slow down, we must now take action to create a "new normal" aligned with the 2030 Agenda. As Bill Gates has stated: "To understand the kind of damage that climate change will inflict, look at COVID-19 and spread the pain out over a much longer period" (2020).
The consequences of global warming will be felt by everyone, regardless of ethnicity, income level or nationality. These are the reasons why it is essential to take action now to minimize its effects. In the same manner that we are wearing masks and socially distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus, we should all be spreading awareness about what we can do to reduce global warming.
Given the emergency of the situation, sustainable practices should be implemented by all governments, companies and individuals as soon as possible - this should become the new normal. Our committee takes pride in leading change in the hospitality industry and raising awareness amongst our fellow students.
Sustainability Week at EHL
Every year, we organize the Sustainability Week at EHL together with other committed Swiss universities. Through various projects, events and campaigns, we introduce students to urgent and current environmental issues by organizing workshops on topics such as "zero waste cooking", panels on sustainable tourism management and offer alternatives to their current everyday lives. In addition, we rethink the whole food offer during the week to propose more local and vegetarian meals.
We filmed a video to show students how effective some simple actions can be. Avoiding to-go cups, asking for a smaller portion at the food court, turning lights off when leaving, unplugging screens, reconnecting to to nature The principal goal of the video is to show that responsible behavior is the key and that YES, we will have to be an untiring generation.
Given the continuous exploitation of resources, sustainability is no longer a voluntary action, but an essential responsibility for global citizens from all industries. If you are interested in sustainability, if you want to participate in change, if you want a better world - join us! We work better together.
Julia BarbeyMore from Julia Barbey
Phone: +41 21 785 1354