Sustainability education – a path to modern “business as usual”

Sustainability is an ever more important business driver for hotels. Lately, we have seen hotels embark on energy efficiency initiatives that transcend even the popular “re-use of bathroom towel” by hotel guests. Statistics have shown hotels have driven down the consumption and cost of water and electricity even by over 40% by adopting these baby initiatives. How about bolder steps?

At the centre of trending energy initiatives is the tracking and management of hotel sustainability data via smart applications that lets managers measure their efforts and at the same time provides hotel guests the information they are looking for about the sustainability of a hotel. Ecompter - a Finland-based company is making this easier by providing ‘Sustainability as a Service’ i.e. a cloud-based sustainability application that enables hotels measure, implement and communicate their environmental performance. However, as posited by Ville Valorinta, “making this transformation requires more than just installing an application or any other initiative. Hotel staff needs to capture the essence of sustainability as well as get the right knowledge and skills required to apply them”. Employees who know how to link sustainability to their daily tasks certainly have an advantage over others that are yet to learn about it. This is not only about protecting the environment but also about contributing to the profit and knowledge of the organisation.

This is why the company has launched environmental sustainability courses in partnership with Eliademy, a global cloud-based MOOCs platform. Taught by Matti Korhonen, a sustainability and carbon footprint measurement expert within the hotel and hospitality industry, these courses educate hotel professionals on how to improve environmental performance to gain true win-win between the environment and their business. The course is a mix of 16 video lectures covered in 8 weeks; interaction with other professionals; a course final project; and a certificate of completion. There are two versions of the course: A basic course for front-line professionals and premium course for Managers that also provides access to the Ecompter sustainability application.

These courses do not only teach the basics of sustainability and e.g. carbon footprint calculation, but also how your hotel can use sustainability as a business driver.

With the right knowledge and ability to measure our sustainability efforts, we will be able to manage and tell stories the society needs to know that 21st century hotels are committed to the new “business as usual” and are hence adding value to the society.