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The Spa Industry Quietly Embracing Sustainable
Business Practices and Green Technologies
LEXINGTON, Ky. – July 6, 2007 - With nearly 100 million active spa-goers globally, the spa community casts a large net. Affecting society, the economy, culture and the environment, spa is synonymous with healthy lifestyles. And the eco-conscious roots of the industry are growing deeper still.
“Environmental consciousness has always been there for the spa community. Sustainability is in the fabric of spa,” said International SPA Association Chairman Jim Root. “Sustainability is based on the very same ideals as the timeless values of spa and Salus Per Aquum. Sustainability is not a passing fad; it’s a deliberate lifestyle for those who work in the industry as well as those who visit spas.” 
Everywhere you look, companies are jumping onboard the “go green” concept and are offering sustainable alternatives for the conscious consumer. According to Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) – a $208 billion U.S. marketplace for goods and services focused on health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living – approximately 16 percent of U.S. adults fall into the category of the conscious consumer. 
To demonstrate its commitment to the environment, this year ISPA partnered with the LOHAS 11 Forum. The inaugural ISPA Pavilion was held at the May event in California. “ISPA encourages everyone to become more sustainable – whether at work or at home, just do something simple – once you start, the opportunities to make an impact are endless,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “It’s refreshing to see spas and product suppliers that may have started with basic recycling efforts in their offices now passing the message of sustainability to millions of guests.”
Below is a sampling of ISPA members that have incorporated sustainable efforts into their companies:
  • New Mexico’s El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa features the “Living Machine,” a water recycling system that is designed to filter wastewater through pools that are rich with fish, plants and other natural filters. The end result is reclaimed water that is used to irrigate botanical gardens and landscaping, including herbs, vegetables and exotic fruits that are served at the property’s restaurant. 
  • Fairmont Hotels & Resorts around the world have adopted the Green Partnership Program, which is a company-wide stewardship effort that strives to minimize properties’ operational impact on the environment through resource conservation and best practices. In doing so, the properties respect and value the indigenous culture that enhances the guests’ authentic experience. 
  • With 2,900 properties in the United States and 67 other countries, Marriott International’s sustainable environmental practices include conservation of natural resources, protection of indigenous wildlife, and reducing and recycling waste wherever possible. 
  • When a spa was added to New York’s historic Mohonk Mountain House, top priority was given to the insertion of a geothermal heating and cooling system; as this system provides an emission-free and noise-free alternative to traditional heating and cooling methods. A green roof helps insulate the building as well, and it also provides a habitat for birds and butterflies. 
  • Mexico’s Rancho La Puerta destination spa is launching a cooking school this summer and has had an on-site sustainable garden from the time it opened in 1940. Rancho La Puerta uses soaps without phosphates, recycled toilet paper and recycles greywater (dish, shower, sink and laundry water) through a marshland. 
Many ISPA member product companies are also specializing in eco-friendly products:
  • Erbaviva was created as a way to offer pregnant women and babies upscale products completely free of all harsh detergents, chemical fragrances and other unhealthy additives. The product line then expanded to include organic skin care products for the whole family. Erbaviva also helps fund a project that benefits the Pwo Karen hill tribe of Northern Thailand and Burma. 
  • Fianna Spa Fashions’ garments for spa therapists are made from hemp and hemp-based fabrics, which are sustainable and biodegradable. 
  • Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics are based on micronized minerals and are made without fillers, binders, chemical dyes or preservatives. 
  • SpaRitual targets the eco-conscious beauty enthusiast. Their vegan nail polishes are free of DBP – a chemical that has been linked to severe birth defects in boys. Therefore, SpaRitual’s products are safe for pregnant women to use. 
  • Tara Spa Therapy Inc.’s products are packaged in environmentally friendly and recycled materials, and TARA aromatherapy essential oils are exclusively certified organic. 
Additionally, the association is “walking the talk” when it comes to preserving the environment.

ISPA’s additional environmental efforts include:

  • Use of soy-based ink on printed pieces 
  • Recycling paper, plastics, cardboard and aluminum 
  • Use of recycled packaging materials when shipping 
  • Use of a Forestry Stewardship Council-certified printer for collateral 
ISPA’s Sustainability Statement: To grow our industry toward a deeper connection with the natural laws of nature, we embrace the three pillars of sustainability: planet, people and prosperity.
(Editor’s note – A listing of ISPA member spas and resource partners that have made the association aware of their sustainable practices may be found on

About the International SPA Association
ISPA is recognized worldwide as the leading professional organization and voice of the spa industry.  ISPA’s membership is comprised of nearly 3,000 health and wellness facilities and providers from 75 countries.  Founded in 1991, ISPA advances the spa industry by providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities, promoting the value of the spa experience and speaking as the authoritative voice to foster professionalism and growth.  Spas are places devoted to enhancing overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit.


Debra Locker
Public Relations Director
International SPA Association
2365 Harrodsburg Road, Suite A325
Lexington, KY 40504 
P 1.859.226.4374


Also See: International SPA Association Pinpoints Spa Industry Trends / February 2007


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