The first green hotels appeared in China in 2003 with the publication of China Hotel Association’s standards for green hotels. China set a target to develop 10,000 green hotels by 2010. In 2007, 1,500 of China’s 13,000 star-rated hotels that met CNTA (China National Tourism Administration) guidelines, gained either a gold or silver leaf.
In Japan, an organisation that is promoting green hotel development is Eco Challenge. The organisation provides eco-friendly hotel guidelines and green performance ratings for member hotels. Eco Challenge had 288 member hotels in 2008.
ISO 14001 was developed primarily to lessen the impact companies have on the environment. But some companies have realised the economic benefit of obtaining such certificates. By increasing efficiency and reducing waste, firms can minimise regulatory fines and reduce operating costs. Additionally, the gradual push towards more stringent environmental policies has created a greater need for companies to obtain an environmentally friendly pat on the back. In the long term, possession of such a certificate could prove very handy.
Certification can also help improve the perception consumers have of the company as commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility are becoming growing areas of concern worldwide. – KV