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The benefits of a sustainable business

Published 18 March 2024

Sustainability has become more than just a trendy term—it’s now a fundamental principle embraced by businesses worldwide. Today, companies recognise the crucial role of integrating sustainability into their operations, not just for the planet’s sake, but for their own long-term viability. This shift isn’t just about saving the environment; it’s about securing profits, staying relevant and staying competitive.

In the tourism sector specifically, we’ll delve into the benefits of adopting sustainable practices for your travel brand. We’ll also provide practical strategies to help you make your hotel operations more sustainable. Join us as we explore how sustainability isn’t just about saving the planet—it’s also about saving your bottom line.

Sustainable practices in the hotel industry


If you’ve wondered why sustainability is important in business, or what sustainable tourism is, it’s worth understanding the impact the tourism industry has on the world. For example, in 2022, a survey revealed that more than 80% of global travellers prioritised sustainable tourism, indicating a significant shift towards eco-friendly travel practices. This trend has contributed to the remarkable growth of the eco-tourism industry, which now boasts a global market size of 172.4 billion U.S. dollars. This data underscores the increasing importance of sustainability in tourism and highlights the lucrative opportunities for businesses that align with eco-conscious travellers’ preferences.

Sustainability isn’t just a moral obligation; it’s a strategic advantage for businesses and operations. By prioritising sustainable practices, companies not only contribute to a healthier planet but also reap numerous benefits for their bottom line. From cost savings through energy efficiency to enhanced brand reputation and customer loyalty, sustainability initiatives can drive profitability and long-term success.

Benefits and advantages of sustainability


In the pursuit of a more harmonious relationship between humanity and the environment, the concept of sustainability has emerged as a guiding principle. Sustainability encapsulates a multifaceted approach that seeks to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Moreover, the significance of sustainability becomes even more pronounced when viewed through the lens of the tourism industry, where the impacts of unsustainable practices are acutely felt. Overtourism, characterised by excessive visitor numbers that strain local resources, degrade natural landscapes and disrupt communities, has emerged as a pressing concern in many popular destinations worldwide.

In light of these challenges, it’s crucial for the tourism industry to prioritise sustainable practices and promote responsible tourism. By addressing the root causes of over-tourism and implementing effective management strategies, we can ensure that tourism continues to benefit destinations without compromising their integrity and sustainability.

By prioritising sustainability, businesses can not only mitigate the negative impacts of overtourism but also reap numerous benefits.


1. Commercial benefits:

  • Cost savings: Contrary to common belief, sustainability often leads to significant cost savings. For instance, investing in energy-efficient technologies not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also lowers utility bills, ultimately optimising resource allocation and enhancing profitability.
  • Consumer loyalty: In today’s market, consumers increasingly favour companies committed to sustainability. By aligning with consumer values and supporting sustainability efforts, businesses can exceed customer expectations, fostering brand loyalty and gaining a competitive edge, particularly in the tourism industry.
  • Regulatory compliance: Governments worldwide are tightening environmental regulations, placing businesses under pressure to meet sustainability standards. Proactively adopting sustainable practices ensures compliance, helping businesses stay ahead of regulatory requirements and avoid potential fines and penalties.


2. Environmental benefits:

  • Environmental conservation: Operating sustainably positively impacts the environment by reducing carbon footprints through practices like energy conservation, waste reduction, and renewable resource utilisation. These efforts mitigate climate change, preserve natural habitats, and safeguard biodiversity for future generations.
  • Innovation within the workplace: Sustainability fosters innovation by encouraging businesses to rethink traditional practices and develop creative solutions to environmental challenges. Sustainable businesses invest in research to create eco-friendly products and services, while also fostering a culture of innovation that empowers employees to contribute to environmental and social progress.


3. Community benefits:

  • Long-term community protection: Sustainable tourism practices safeguard the well-being and cultural integrity of local communities, ensuring that tourism remains a viable and mutually beneficial economic activity for years to come.
  • Local employment opportunities: By prioritising hiring from within the local community, businesses contribute to economic growth and empower residents, leading to a more authentic and enriching experience for hotel guests while fostering a sense of belonging and pride among locals.
  • Enhanced social fabric: Sustainable tourism initiatives promote community engagement and collaboration, strengthening social bonds and fostering a sense of shared responsibility for preserving and promoting the unique heritage and identity of the destination.
Benefits of a Sustainable Business infographic

Challenges of becoming a sustainable business


Alongside the advantages of sustainability, there are often challenges to overcome too:

1. Short-term vs long-term sustainability

The business case for sustainability, both in the short and long term, is undeniable. Initiatives like the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasise long-term sustainable efforts, which can initially seem overwhelming for businesses seeking a starting point. However, it’s essential to recognise that even small changes can have a significant impact on wider sustainability goals. From ensuring that hotel guests enjoy a pleasant experience based in native ecology to reducing water waste costs, the benefits of sustainability extend to both the environment and the bottom line. Starting small and gradually scaling up sustainability efforts has never been easier, offering businesses a practical approach to making a positive impact while also improving their operations and profitability.

2. Awareness and education

A significant challenge for businesses is the lack of awareness and education regarding sustainability issues. Many businesses fail to grasp the complexities of environmental and social sustainability, including regulatory requirements and best practices.

Moreover, many employees may not fully understand the importance of sustainability or how their actions in the workplace contribute to broader environmental and social goals. Without proper education and training, businesses may struggle to engage employees and foster a culture of sustainability throughout the organisation.

This highlights the importance of employing a sustainability manager, who can identify opportunities for cost savings in the long term by recognising areas where efficiencies can be improved. Additionally, gaining buy-in from the entire hotel staff is critical to success. Every team member should be invested in monitoring and conserving resources, as this collective effort contributes to the overall sustainability goals of the hotel.

3. Lack of tools, resources and expertise

Businesses that want to invest time and energy into their sustainability efforts might not know where to start or have the knowledge to do so. Simple solutions like hiring a sustainability manager and adopting sustainability management platforms are initial steps that businesses can take to make small improvements, quickly.

4. Cost and financial constraints

While the initial cost of implementing sustainable business practices may seem daunting for some businesses, it’s crucial to consider the long-term cost benefits of making these changes. Investments in renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies, such as solar panels, often require significant upfront expenditures. However, these investments can lead to substantial savings over time, as they enable businesses to generate their own renewable energy on-site, reducing reliance on external sources and lowering utility costs in the long run. Viewing sustainability initiatives through a long-term lens allows businesses to recognise the potential for cost savings and increased resilience, making the initial output worthwhile in the grand scheme of things.

How does sustainability fit within your hotel?


Taking the first step to adopt sustainable practices can be daunting, especially if you’re left wondering where to start, or which services to focus on first. By making the initial leap into becoming a more sustainable hotel and business, you can start implementing small changes that can make a big difference. Whether you start by hiring a sustainability manager or assessing your current projects, you can begin making a difference to the way you run your operations, with sustainability front of mind.

Now that we’ve explored the benefits and challenges of sustainability in business, it’s evident that implementing sustainable practices is crucial for achieving long-term financial success. By integrating sustainability into strategies and policies, businesses can not only reduce operational costs but also enhance their overall financial viability and profitability. Additionally, sustainable practices contribute to an improved guest experience within the hotel, leading to increased bookings and higher profits.

So, whether you’re looking to reduce packaging waste or want to start reducing your carbon emissions, learn about how to make changes and become a more sustainable tourism business.

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