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Sustainability in Hotels and Restaurants

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Sustainability in Hotels and Restaurants


Gustav Granberg - 1783748146

Ethics and Responsibility Final Research Paper

“As a student at the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, I uphold and defend academic integrity, academic rigor and academic liberty as core values of higher learning. I attest, on my word of honor, that work submitted in my name is my own work, and that any ideas or materials used in support of this work which are not originally my own are cited and referenced accordingly.”

Lausanne, 19.05.2014

Table of Contents


Environmental Impact of Hospitality        

Steps towards minimizing the environmental impact        

The importance of staff        

Is sustainability profitable?        




This report will examine to what extent sustainability is present in the hospitality industry today. First it will investigate the effect that hospitality has on the climate and what the causes for these effects are. Later, solutions towards these problems will be discussed and how they can be implemented into the industry. The aim of the report is clarify whether sustainability is profitable for ones who practice it or if it is only done to improve the image of such establishments.


The hospitality industry is considered to be one of the most influential and globalized sectors in the world. Every living person is affected by it on a weekly basis and the industry therefore has a responsibility towards society. The total contribution of the industry is estimated to $6.6 trillion, generating over 260 million jobs worldwide and is currently outgrowing the wider economy (WTTC, 2013). In other words, one out of eleven of the world’s total jobs exist within hospitality and the industry is growing at an annual rate of 4.4% (Goodwin, 2011). Regardless of economical situation the demand for hospitality will always be great, which proves its importance.

Even thought hospitality is the corner stone of our modern society and generates 10% of the GDP worldwide, the affects of the industry are not all positive (Industry as a partner for sustainable development: tourism, 2002). To be able to grow at this staggering rate the sector emits great amounts of waste, which affects both local and global climates. One would not directly compare the pollution emitted by Hotels and Restaurants to heavy industries, such as coal or oil. This mistake must not be made twice, because hospitality has since long reached that dangerous level of environmental pollution (Bohdanowicz, 2006).         

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the negative environmental impacts of hospitality and how these can be reduced with the help of the technology and the training available in the industry today. It will also analyze whether sustainability within the hospitality sector is purely commercial or actually financially profitable.

Environmental Impact of Hospitality

The operational phase of the hotel industry is estimated to be responsible for 75% of all environmental impact, for example the excessive usage of non-durable goods, water and energy (APAT, 2002). To understand the different types of excessive usage and their impact more clearly, they will be analysed into further depth below.

Waste management in the hospitality sector is estimated to a minimum of 1kg of waste per day per guest (Bohdanowicz, 2006). This provides a broader understanding of the millions of tons of waste generated every year. The dominant type of waste is solid waste (Food 41%, Paper 14%, Glass 14%, Cardboard 9%, Dense Plastic 5%) (Hawkins, R., & Bohdanowicz, 2012).  The mishandling of this type of waste is the reason for the “seas of garbage”, toxic waste invaded beaches and wildlife contamination (Marine problems: Pollution, 2014). Another sector that has a high level of potential improvement is the food sector where 30% of the food produced is wasted every year (Gustavsson et al. 2011). It is important to point out that best-practices exists in waste minimization and recycling that can limit the waste per guest-night to 50g, avoiding the wildlife contamination and waste of food. (Bohdanowicz, 2005).  It is the responsibility of the players within hospitality to follow these guidelines, although this isn’t always the case.

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