Hotels in Spain have shown that those with certification to the ISO 14001 environmental management standard are more profitable than those without. This news comes for a recent study from Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR).
Over 2,000 Spanish hotels took part in the study; those that have achieved certification to ISO 14001 recorded both stronger sales and earnings.
“Our findings challenge the often-heard contention that adopting sustainability programs will diminish hotels’ performance. Instead, these data show the reverse to the case,” said co-author Rohit Verma, professor at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and CHR’s executive director.
The study was co-authored by María-del-Val Segarra-Oña and Ángel Peiró-Signes, CHR visiting researchers from Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain.
Tourism is a resource-intensive industry that leaves a big footprint on the environment, the researchers noted. However the hotel industry is still seeking consensus on how sustainability can be measured and managed. One standard that provides both measurement and policies for sustainability management is ISO 14001, which is being adopted by a growing number of hotels, although it is less common in the United States than in Europe, the researchers said. Worldwide, there are more than 250,000 users of the standard.
For the study, the authors surveyed 2,082 hotels in Spain that had earned three stars or higher. They analysed the hotels’ ISO certification status, performance indicators such as net sales, and potential moderating factors such as company size and the market segment in which the hotel operates.
One implication of the research is that implementing ISO 14001 is worthwhile for hotels – something that most hoteliers had previously sensed in an informal way, the authors said.
“These data explain why the number of certified hotels is increasing and also why some of the most important hotels are adopting ISO 14001 certification in all their establishments, especially in Europe,” Verma said.
Upon hearing the news, Robert Fenn, Director of Marketing at The British Assessment Bureau commented;
“For many, ‘going green’ is deemed as an unnecessary, inconvenient expense. As this survey has shown, the opposite is in fact true. Becoming green isn’t only good fpr reducing environmental impact, but for the bottom line too. ISO 14001 helps to reduce unnecessary consumption, re-work and waste, which can only result in cost savings. In the current financial climate, ‘going green’ has never made more business sense.”
To read the full results of the survey, visit: