The role of Sustainability in a company and the ìgreen turn of the Information Technology
The word “sustainability” is increasingly popping up in our conversations and represents one of the major trends of the moment, confirmed by a recent change in consumer habits. The new trend becomes a determining factor in purchasing behavior, leading to a general change in the way of living. The concept of sustainability and its intrinsic value are reflected in a multitude of areas: from food to fashion, to transportation, travel, and tourism.
Recent data shows that more and more people are paying attention to ecology and environmental issues and then try to translate this sensitivity into their own consumption choices. For this reason, companies can and must change their behavior by adopting new business models that are able to reduce environmental impact, in line with and in tune with their target customers.
Companies that are able to reflect the values and needs of their consumers, while respecting the environment and the ecosystem, will significantly strengthen their added value and, consequently, enjoy undisputed benefits.
The first results will be in terms of profit, as resource optimization certainly translates into greater commercial earnings thanks to achieving efficiency, cost savings, and improved resource allocation. In the face of greater sustainability, consumers are willing to spend more, and this could represent a possible increase in revenue for the company that chooses to adopt green practices and value chains.
Moreover, the benefits can also include intangible values such as consumer trust and loyalty, a better reputation, or a valuable market positioning that guarantees rewarding differentiation from competitors. These advantages, defined as “soft,” are particularly valuable and linked to the long term because they are closely related to how the company is perceived externally by the end consumer.
For all these reasons, companies are increasingly interested in green issues, developing sustainability plans and integrating their business models with ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) government policies.
In order to make their company greener and more efficient, possible courses of action are undertaken on several fronts: reducing their environmental impact, avoiding waste, using energy efficiently, investing in the circular economy and resource optimization, reusing waste and recycling thanks to separate collection.
What are the green trends useful for the hotel industry, with a strong impact on sustainability? Recent surveys have highlighted the following areas for a hotel structure with the highest environmental impact: water consumption, waste, and energy consumption.
Trend 1: Reducing consumption
Reducing water pressure in showers, installing a system to detect water leaks and collect rainwater, minimizing water usage for laundry, and encouraging guests to be more mindful of towel usage. Many of these changes may seem seemingly easy to implement, but they are certainly very significant in terms of savings – just consider that the use of low-flow toilets alone can lead to a 15% reduction in water consumption.
Another area of interest in terms of waste reduction is that of food service. The waste of a third of the global food production actually involves the use and expenditure of precious resources, without any reason. How can the hotel behave in this regard? Some options are: preferring to purchase food supplies from local producers, reducing plate waste, and finally increasing the plant-based offering on the menu.
Trend 2: The use of technology
The pandemic has greatly accelerated the use of technology in hotels. Contactless check-ins, keyless room access, not to mention messaging platforms for guests, essential to ensure safe accommodation. In terms of convenience, online apps offer guests simple and fast ways to order room service, book spas and request extra services without having to call or complete unnecessary documentation.
Digital technology then entails important advantages in terms of sustainability, the very first is the reduction of paper and plastic. A study found that a single hotel guest generates about two kg of waste per night, and paper, plastic, and cardboard account for half of this waste. Switching to a digital tablet available in every room can produce immediate benefits, eliminating the need for paper menus, brochures, and informative leaflets.
An example is that of Hilton Hotel which uses a high-tech system, Connected Room, which allows guests to customize and control every aspect of their stay from their smartphones. This provides the ability to monitor energy consumption when guests are not physically in their rooms (typically about 70% of the time), hotels can turn off lights, TVs, heating, and air conditioning, thus drastically reducing energy consumption.
Trend 3: Measure and manage
Mobile technology allows hotel staff to engage guests in sustainability initiatives. For example, real-time monitoring and reporting solutions provided by the Aguardio system allow customers to measure their water usage and encourage them to reduce consumption.
As management tools, digital platforms like Fluttr and Con-Serve created by Considerate Group help hotels understand, measure, and manage energy consumption, contributing to reducing the use of electricity, water, fossil fuels, and CO2 emissions.
A recent Google survey found that technology is the “engine of sustainability,” providing companies with various platforms and software that can estimate the level of sustainability at a corporate level, including:
These are just some of the technological levers available on the market today that can make hotels more environmentally friendly. At ExWorksMilan, we strongly believe that a sustainable shift is fundamental in the hospitality sector, globally, as a proper business management system, with a clear sustainable intent aimed at innovation.