Going on holiday is everyone’s wish but of course not everything about holiday is eco friendly. According to the United Nations, the hotel industry contributes to 1% of global emissions, a number that is a lot more impactful than it sounds.
So, we try our best to keep the environment safe while doing it. One of the ways to do it is by staying at hotels that have initiatives to cut down on waste and emissions. Although, it’s quite challenging for us to know if a hotel is eco friendly or not. For our convenience, Environmental Media Association (EMA) has established the EMA Green Seal for Hospitality.
EMA Green Seal already exists in the field of Production (for TV, films, events). The new Hospitality seal will honor “hotels and resorts that are joining in the fight to preserve our planet for future generations.” the non profit organization plans to launch Fitness and Fashion seals in the future.
The purpose of the EMA Green Seal for Hospitality is providing a transparent way to measure what hotels and resorts do to lessen and reduce their environmental impact. The practices will result in water and energy savings, a reduction of toxins and role modelling for property guests and employees.
With the new Green Seal for Hospitality EMA hopes that the seal will become a standardized way to measure the efforts hotels are making to reduce their environmental footprints. Additionally, perhaps the new standard will inspire other hotels to lower their impacts.
The Executive Director of EMA and lead on the EMA Green Seal for Hospitality program Paul Sposare said, “Having worked in the hotel industry for over 30 years, it has become apparent that travelers want to make lodging choices they can feel good about. 33EMA is here to assist our hospitality partners in providing their clients with that choice.”
“In today’s world, what we do locally can create a positive impact on a global level,” said Debbie Levin, CEO of EMA. “The EMA Green Seal inspires businesses, from production companies to hotels and resorts, to set an example for change because we all care for our planet, our health and our next generation. Our goal is to have the EMA Green Seal as the global standard for sustainability in many sectors.”
Basically, Hotels and resorts looking to be awarded the EMA Green Seal will be evaluated based on a point system, with at least 115 points needed to receive the basic seal. Any hotel or resort that hits 200 points will be promoted to the EMA Gold Seal.
These points can be scored by achieving eco-friendly standards in various elements of the business, including: “Staff Engagement, Biodiversity Conservation, Waste Management, Water and Energy Efficiency, Paper Products and Disposables, Chemical and Pollution Reduction and Sustainability.”
These elements might sound heavy, but they’re actually easily achieved. Hotels or resorts could include bike racks, preferred parking for electric vehicles, employee incentives for carpooling or biking to work, and no idling areas in roundabouts.
“One way a property can make a big impact is to eliminate plastic bottles of water with your logo on them. Today there are so many other options, such as refillable water bottles as amenities, refill stations throughout the property, or simply using a better packaging option such as just water,” said Sposare.
Aside of going green and doing all the eco friendly standards, EMA also recommend the hotels and resorts to form an environmental impact committee. “This is an employee driven group that will ensure best practices are followed and new ideas are shared with the rest of the employees. This encourages support and buy in by all so that the practices can effectively be communicated to guests and employees,” added Sposare.
As of now, EMA has already presented a Gold Seal in Hospitality to a few locations. Montage Beverly Hills was the very first location to receive the seal. There are also five other Montage Hotels & Resorts properties and two Pendry Hotels & Resorts properties that got the gold seal
Alan J. Fuerstman, Montage International founder, chairman and CEO, commented, “We have built an incredible partnership with EMA over the years. I have always been a firm believer that luxury and sustainability can coexist, and I am so proud of our teams across the company for achieving the EMA Gold Seal certification.”
For around 30 years, EMA has been trying to use the power of the media and entertainment communities to try to move people into doing things that will save the environment. As briefly mentioned before, EMA previously play a role in helping studio and production companies minimize their footprint on Earth with initiatives that ranged from recycling bins to hydration stations to paperless sets.
EMA Green Seal for Production, which was created in 2003, has been awarded to over 1,000 productions, including film and television shows from Disney, Warner Bros., Amazon Studios and FOX, among others, independent and commercial productions as well as live events such as the SAG Awards.
When asked about how this program came to mind, Sposare said, “In 2009, I opened a hotel that was LEED Platinum certified and it made me realize that there were limited options in place to help hotels on a day to day basis to educate employees and customers on lessening their impact on the environment,”
“There are a lot if resources for building a new property but once you open there was little support on what can be done daily. EMA has been around for nearly 30 years advising television and film productions as well as events such as the SAG Awards and more in green practices with our EMA Green Seal for Production,”
“EMA has mastered the art of environmental messaging through storytelling, education and entertainment. Moving into the Hospitality sector was a natural migration. We are excited to use our voice to amplify the positive message of sustainable practices these properties will put in place,” the executive director of EMA explained.
Why hotels and resorts should get this seal
Property owners might think or question about why they should get these seals. In today’s world, travelers and consumers are getting more and more aware of environmental issues and they keep looking for places which are more sustainable or eco friendly. In other words, aside of helping the environment, green hotels would attract more occupants.
Sposare argued, “In the Impact Travel Alliance Bringing Sustainable Tourism to the Masses Survey, 35% of respondents found it difficult to travel sustainably and 50% said they didn’t know how,”
“Additionally, 40% of those surveyed said they would pay more to use travel service providers that demonstrate environmental sustainability. There seems to be a market for people who want to support hotels and resorts that are making an effort to operate in a way that will minimize their impact on our planet.”
Unfortunately it’s still unclear as to how EMA will measure these factors so far since the program has just launched and the industry is still responding to it, but maybe as time progresses and they’ve established the programs well, the organization can show it to us.
But even so, EMA has received positive feedback from hotel owners and general managers. Sposare said, “They all agree they want to do more for our planet but simply do not have the resources, time or budgets,”
“EMA helps to solve these issues by giving properties an easy to understand guide that can be implemented with little resources. Our goal at EMA is to provide these tools, help to educate the teams, promote the program by leveraging our social reach and hopefully fill some rooms at the same time.”