World Panel
Viewpoint24 January 2020

How can sustainability be communicated beyond clichés and greenwashing?

Sustainability in Hospitality

— 31 experts shared their view

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This viewpoint was created by
Franziska Altenrath, Co-Founder at TUTAKA
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Arjan van Rheede
Senior Research Fellow in Sustainability at Hotelschool The Hague

Everyone can picture the ways of how not to communicate your sustainable goals and practices: too often companies communicate and report only their goals and objectives and actions in the future. It is more interesting to learn what have been accomplished already and  how much effort it took to accomplish this!

I am very positive of generic reporting systems such as GRI (Global reporting initiative), but these are obviously not read by your guests. A very important requirement from the GRI standard is to be open on achievements, but also on challenges. Unfortunately this is something that is often overseen. Two good examples of very accessible reports are Tony Chocolonely (linked to GRI) or The Student Hotel (linked to SDG indicators).

Simple message: be Authentic, Communicate and be Transparent. So make sure in your communication towards your employees (who can tell the story to your guests) that they can both present the accomplishments, but also the challenges.

Being able to explain to the 'informed travel' why you still have an menu-item that is not the best available option from a sustainability perspectives, will create a more authentic story that have your employees trained to inform your guest that you comply with this or that standard.
Training your staff member to do this is not a simple task, but will turn out very effective!

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