Environmental management in hotels



Tourism is economically, socio-culturally, and environmentally an important activity. The beneficial
and destructive impacts of tourism are increasingly becoming a topic of debate. [1] The sentence describes to the fullest what tourism is today. Not only that it makes huge profits and has an educational and leisure purpose but it also affects our environment in a big way.


Environmental management system (EMS) refers to the management of an organization’s environmental programs in a comprehensive, systematic, planned and documented manner. It includes the organisational structure, planning and resources for developing, implementing and maintaining policy for environmental protection. [2]
Environmental concerns have been increasing in the travel industry. However, most hotels are unwilling to develop an international environmental management system (EMS) probably due to a lack of resources and knowledge. In order to encourage more organizations to take part in the EMS, three cases adopting international EMS are investigated to ascertain the ways to support the formation of EMS. Based on their experience, hoteliers are encouraged to team up with green members to apply for research funding for the investigation and implementation of EMS. Also, “energy performance contracting” methods to finance environmental improvement projects in hotels were also discussed. [3]
This paper addresses the factors that determine the deployment of environmental management practices and its effects on firms’ financial performance. Empirical evidence supporting this investigation is gathered from the Spanish hotel industry. Our results find support for the notion that age of facilities, size, chain affiliation, stakeholder environmental pressures, and their use of operations management techniques exert a lasting influence on the degree of implementation of environmental management practices by hotel firms. Moreover, our findings show a positive relationship between environmental management practices and firms’ financial performance. [4]
A postal survey of hotel managers in Edinburgh was designed to test associations between characteristics of the hotel (size, ownership and classification) and attitudes towards environmental management. It was found that there was no association between the characteristics of the hotel and the presence of a written environmental policy. In general, managers felt that the most significant benefits were related to improved public relations and better relationships with their local community. However, hotels with a written policy saw the greatest benefits in relation to financial and marketing benefits, indicating that those managers who had made a commitment to environmental management saw real commercial benefits. This was supported by the results of a binary cluster analysis, which demonstrated the presence of a natural grouping of those hotels with a written environmental policy that, in the majority of cases, held positive attitudes towards the environmental management. [5]
The moral, ethical, social, and political arguments for taking action on environmental issues are becoming more persuasive and more widely accepted. The hotel industry is also taking various initiatives for the sake of the environment, for economic reasons, or to build a positive image. Some hotels have gone one step further and adopted the internationally-recognized ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard. By applying the predictive model developed by Quazi et al. (Int. J. Manage. Sci., 29(6) (2001) 525), this study investigates and identifies a number of variables to predict the motivation of hotels in adopting the ISO 14000 standards. Of the 1097 questionnaires mailed to hotels in the Hong Kong SAR, Macau, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou in China, 164 were returned. Using LISREL analysis, Quazi et al.’s (Int. J. Manage. Sci., 29(6) (2001) 525) model was found to not have a good fit with the sample data obtained from the hotel industry. An exploratory factor analysis was thereafter employed to identify interpretable orthogonal factors, resulting in the identification and interpretation of eight factors. By using a stepwise discriminant analysis, a predictive discriminant function was developed. Only two out of the eight variables were included in the model for the hotel industry. They were (1) corporate governance and (2) legislation. [6]
Analysis is based on comparison of hotel managers operating with an environmental policy and those managers operating without. Tentative conclusions drawn would indicate that although a number of companies have adopted an environmental policy, in general, the hotel sector is not taking a proactive approach to environmental concerns. [7]


It was proven that the environmental management in hotels has multiple benefits. It improves public relations and better relationships with the hotels’ local community and it has a positive relationship with firms’ financial performance. With a bit more informing of hoteliers the whole idea should be easily and successfully implemented all over the world.


[1] ‘A Survey of Environmental Management by Hotels’ by E. Saskia Faulk
[3] ‘Hotels’ environmental management systems (ISO 14001): creative financing strategy’ by: Wilco W. Chan and Kenny Ho
[4] ‘An analysis of environmental management, organizational context and performance of Spanish hotels’ by: M.J Álvarez Gil, J Burgos Jiménez, J.J Céspedes Lorente
[5] ‘Attitudes to environmental management held by a group of hotel managers in Edinburgh’ by David Kirk
[6] ‘Motivations for ISO 14001 in the hotel industry’ by: Eric S.W. Chan and Simon C.K. Wong
[7] ‘Environmental policy in the hotel sector: “green” strategy or stratagem?’ by: Margaret Brown



AUTHOR: Josip Ivanovic