By Justine Gentinetta

In recent decades, consumer awareness of social and environmental issues has increased markedly. Companies are progressively integrating sustainable development into their growth strategies for both ethical and profitable reasons, especially if they are to continue attracting the younger, socially active customer.

Impact on hospitality industry
Environmental policies are on the agenda for all businesses and rethinking hospitality as a sustainable practice is becoming an increasingly urgent matter. Indeed, the hospitality sector is known for its outsized environmental impact.

Thus, hoteliers have shifted their focus to sustainability and its challenges, as they begin to realize that making greener choices will benefit them because meeting their customers’ appetite for a more “conscious consumerism” is simply good business.

This is why Corporate Social Responsibility has emerged as an indispensable priority for business leaders around the world. CSR means that a company is implementing socially responsible practices into its business and is responsible for its actions related to society, based on a triple bottom-line approach: people (community), planet (environment) and ethics. The crux of CSR includes environmental concerns, respect of local communities, technology use and energy consumption.

The purpose of this article is to shed light on several companies that have shifted their strategies to cater to a younger generation of more environmentally and socially active customers, and to encourage other companies to take similar action.

Contribution to a specific issue
The negative environmental and social impacts of the hospitality industry must be mitigated if companies are to be sustained and profitable in the future. It has been proven that CSR initiatives improve service quality. Indeed, a socially responsible activity has a positive impact on customer satisfaction, leading to retention and loyalty.

CSR’s main goal is to create a positive image of the industry, do business in a sustainable and ethical way without compromising comfort or quality for guests, while always striving to improve their experience.

CSR view on ethical issues
A company should ensure it abides by the strictest ethical and moral standards so all stakeholder groups (e.g., management, employees, shareholders, and consumers) are on board with its strategy and practices.

CSR view on environmental aspects
A company should use its resources while minimizing its impact on the environment, and have projects that reduce its footprint – otherwise the company could attract negative publicity.

CSR view on social aspects
A company should not have a negative effect on the values – or any other social aspects – of the communities in which it operates.

CSR view on economics
Firms should invest in better standard operating procedures and emerging environmental technologies to cut operating costs.

Below you will find 11 examples of CSR practices in the hospitality industry. We put an ‘X’ according to the information shared on companies’ website about the focus on the different dimensions.

Impact on hospitality industry
We believe that examining this topic is particularly relevant in the hospitality context because hospitality operations have a substantial environmental impact. “Green thought” is evolving in today’s society, and as hoteliers’ main priority is to provide their guests with a memorable experience, they need to implement sustainable principles and policies. Indeed, companies with sustainable business practices are more likely to have a better reputation, improve their brand image, enhance their guests’ experience, and boost both their revenues and customer loyalty.

If hospitality organizations adopt and integrate CSR into their organizational strategies, they can facilitate innovativeness, increase and/or improve their organizational competitiveness, while at the same time contributing to solving problems in today’s world. In conclusion, CSR will translate into better profits in the long term.