Sustainability accreditation with Lucy Agace

Sustainability accreditation with Lucy Agace

Lucy Agace

We are now in the thick of the summer season and hopefully some of you were able to gain some useful tips in the last issue on how to prepare and enhance your garden or outside spaces to be more child and nature friendly.

Being proactive in the area of sustainability, in this climate and showcasing your initiatives, can only help attract the eco-friendly guests.

I work with large and small hotels across the UK, helping them achieve recognised standards of ESG (environmental, social, governance) and net-zero targets in the hospitality sector, culminating in the award of a prestigious eco-accreditation.

These kinds of awards set out strict criteria with a minimum acceptable number of compliances that need to be met in the first year and then gaining a deeper level each year.

You might think that this kind of commitment is reserved for bigger accommodation businesses, however this is not the case, and whilst this month’s article might seem like a huge plug, it is not. In our business of accreditation and sustainability guidance, getting certified for your commitments to running a ‘greener, more socially and environmentally aware accommodation product’ is now the biggest growth area in hospitality.

I am sure you are already aware that publishes a yearly customer satisfaction and feedback report which is available to read here

In particular Sustainable Travel Insights say that 81% of travellers surveyed say they want to stay in sustainable accommodation and the top measures for indicating this are these

  1. Recycling and excess waste
  2. Limited use of single-use plastic
  3. Energy efficiencies
  4. Easy identification of responsible/sustainable accommodation

Identification by travel operator marks can be obtained in a number of ways, here are a few:

  • Travel Proud
  • TripAdvisor scheme Green Leaders
  • AirBnB Green Stays

Each of these provide different depths of responsible practices and although most have not been checked by an onsite visit, they are a great start on any journey to becoming an environmentally responsible business.

I also provide a fully onsite checked green certification service and supply a list of 30 compliance criteria which I’m happy to share if you dm me.

So what has motivated me to point out this area in the hospitality sector?

Apart from working in it every day, I see people who remain oblivious to their impact on themselves, their neighbours, the wider community and globally.

In essence we are all connected and maybe now, since the Ukraine war has had a seriously negative impact on all of us in many different ways, we begin to see that yes, we are all connected.

How can we really make a big positive impact?

There are an estimated 25,000 B&Bs across the UK.

It is also stated that there are approximately 250,000 Airbnb listings, and although there may be double counted numbers here, that still represents a huge amount of people who impact local communities and their surrounding environments.

If 250 thousand properties engaged with sustainable practices and were transparent about how they have achieved this to every guest, imagine how many people it would reach!

It would have to be near the million mark surely?

For so many years we have taken travel for granted, be it via air, train, car, bus or other means of transport, we have spent years exploring our beautiful world with little or no thought for the impact we have. We have, including myself, experienced everything the planet has to offer – until now.

We now have a responsibility to make sure there will always be a world worth experiencing. A world for our children and grandchildren to explore and enjoy as much as we have.

Getting a certification might seem like a strange idea but years ago no-one had heard of the MCS or FSC logos identifying trusted sources.

In the hospitality industry, certification adoptions are moving quickly and now is the time to be part of the leadership movement, get ahead of the competition and commit to positive change for the good of all.

I simply want to make you aware that the future is something we need to take into consideration in everything we do in our lives and even more so when we run a business.

In fact, to my mind it’s even more important to make sure our businesses are run in a sustainable way.

The hospitality industry first realised exactly 30 years ago that the industry needed to change because they realised that in many cases, hotel operations were having a largely negative impact on the local communities, environment and infrastructures.

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