Sustainability in Hospitality & Tourism
Over the past ten years, sustainability and environmental policies have moved to the forefront of hospitality and tourism development and management projects. All over the world, hospitality companies are taking measures to improve the impact of tourism on local communities and environmental resources.
“The majority of the hotel companies are involved in eco-friendly or environmental projects these days, and they talk to our students all the time about it. It is always part of their presentations when they visit the campuses. Students who are going to work in the hotel industry are automatically involved and participate in the environmental programs of their company or hotel. Most hotels have a green committee made of several department members but the base is always the engineer and the head of operations, a lot of these projects can be seen on company websites.”
Dominique Havre, Career Development Officer for Graduating Students
Here are a few examples of sustainability policies in hospitality companies that regularly recruit Glion’s students.
- Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts are planting 10 million trees around the world. See the sustainability page of their website
- Marriott – Spirit to Preserve is the sustainable arm of Marriott’s Social Responsibility and Community Engagement program.
- Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. – This company has an Environmental Sustainability Policy that outlines the five “green” areas on which they are focused. See their Mission Statement.
Initiatives for a Sustainable Future
To prepare students for innovative and forward-thinking policies in the areas of sustainability and environmental management, Glion Institute of Higher Education is actively promoting sustainability, eco-friendly operations and environmental responsibility in a variety of ways.
Glion is also fortunate to be operating in one of the “greenest” countries in the world. According to the 2010 Environmental Performance Index, Switzerland is ranked second in the world with a score of 89.1/100 based on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality.
STARS – Glion is implementing the Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Under the guidance of the internal STARS committee, the academic, operational and administrative departments are measuring Glion’s performance in sustainability and making plans for continual improvements.
Tissot buildings in Bulle meet MINERGIE® Standards – The new residence buildings on Bulle campus represent Glion's commitment to the environment, responding to the Swiss “minergie P” standards. They are the most ecological buildings ever built in Bulle, equipped with solar panels to heat the water and linked to the “remote heating” system for the city of Bulle that generates heat by burning local wood. MINERGIE® “is a sustainability brand for new and refurbished buildings. It is mutually supported by the Swiss Confederation, the Swiss Cantons along with Trade and Industry and is registered in Switzerland and around the world and defended firmly against unlicensed use”(Minergie website, 2011).
Alternative Transportation – Glion was recently commended for encouraging and facilitating the use of bicycles in the town of Bulle, where approximately 680 of Glion’s students live. The institute set up a rental system with price reductions, created a biking safety booklet and installed bicycle parking stations in the campus to encourage students to choose this mode of green transportation. For these efforts, Glion was awarded the “Prix Rayon d’Or de PRO VELO Fribourg” of August 2011.
Green Campus Operations – On both campuses, students are learning to “live green” through the institute’s environmental policies to reduce water and energy consumption in operations, to reduce food waste in the school restaurants and to encourage ecology in all areas of student’s daily lives. The campus provides ample recycling bins in the accommodation buildings and academic hallways to encourage efficient recycling and waste reduction.
Sustainability and Ecology in the Curriculum
Glion’s curriculum incorporates ecology and sustainability in almost all aspects of its education: from the ecological cleaning operations in rooms division, to restaurant practices that reduce food waste, all the way up to business projects concerning sustainable tourism. Here are a few examples of how Glion integrates these essential concepts into the curriculum to help students prepare for management positions that will lead to a greener future.
Hotel and restaurant operations classes enforce the policies of conserving energy and recycling. In the kitchen, students use a recycling site, where they separate metal, glass and china, cardboard and paper. Food waste is collected to be transformed into biogaz. In F&B service classes, students are reminded about separating waste correctly for recycling, and saving water and light in the restaurant. Global warming is addressed during the wine production classes and students learn the definitions and uses of Biological, eco friendly growing techniques and “localvore” production. Paper-free procedures are also mentioned at different steps.
In Semester 4 the Integrated Project requires students to present a sustainable business plan and to demonstrate a corporate and social responsibility throughout all operations for a new venture, so innovation has to be key to their strategy. In the course content, they cover the environmental issues of F&B operations considering waste management and utility management in particular.
Management Policies and Trends
In Glion’s Corporate Finance class, the case study, “Feeling The Heat: Allianz and WWF Pushing an Industry Towards Climate Change Action”, requires students to examine the possibility of creating Green Bank as a new product and service for Allianz.
In Hospitality Real estate Finance course, the “Freitag Container Hotel Project” asks students to develop a concept? a hotel concept developed using the containers which are to be recycled, and to conduct the feasibility study on the developed concept. It is assumed that students are hired by Freitag, the company, based in Zurich, which makes the bags from the recycled truck tarps.
In Sustainability in Principles of Tourism, students begin from day one looking at Ecotourism as Mass Tourism, discussing the different advocacy platforms since 1960's. There is a whole chapter on sustainability issues and impacts of tourism development on sustainable growth of the destinations. Students also view a selection of DVDs: Ecotourism in Amazon, Gorilla tourism in Rwanda, Environmental issues in Nepal.