GREEN TEAMS Part 2: Making the Business Case

May 11


M. Scott Parisi

M. Scott Parisi

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A valuable resource for hoteliers, is dedicated to helping hotels address environmental issues and implement environmentally friendly initiatives. Last month we introduced this new GREEN TEAMS series and briefly focused on green teams and the business value.

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Last month we introduced this new GREEN TEAMS series and briefly focused on green teams and the business value. This month,GREEN TEAMS Part 2: Making the Business Case Articles before we go further into the “how” we will be taking a look at “why” first.


One of the key challenges consistenty raised as more and more hotels “go green” is making the business case for investing resources to support green teams. Does it make sense? Businesses in all areas including hotels are just beginning to quantify the benefits from green teams, therefore at this point, the business case is more intuitive and anecdotal in nature.


Based on a review of case studies and interviews with green team leaders, the business value of green teams includes the following:


Cost Savings

Carrie Freeman, a Corporate Sustainability Stretegist at Intel, commented, “When it comes to looking at ways to reduce our footprint, we very much see a direct coorelation between reducing our costs and engaging our employees.” Be it changing light bulbs, turning off the lights or getting your employees to innovate greener solutions in their jobs, engaging your employees to identify easy, low cost efficiency initiatives can result in significant cost savings. For example, Intercontinental Hotels invested $400,000 to change light bulbs on their properties and saved $1.2 million over four months.


Attract & Retain Best Talent

A green team, when part of a broader sustainability strategy, can give employees an outlet for their personal interests, help raise moral, improve loyalty and help attract and retain the best and brightest talent, who are attracted to companies with an authentic green commitment. Losing and replacing a good employee costs companies between 70% to 20% of an employee’s annual salary, according to Engaged!, a new book on employee engagement. And when the economy begins to heat up, the best talent may be looking for greener pastures. Libby Reder, Head of Environmental Initiatives at eBay, believes their Green Team is an important reason why some employees stay at eBay, and according to their recruiters, it also helps them attract the best talent.


Strengthen Brand & Increase Market Share

Hotels can bolster their brand and potentially increase market share by walking the talk and supporting green teams as a strategy for getting their employees and guests behind sustainability. They can also use employees to identify new opportunities to improve their practices and achieve their sustainability goals. “The engaged workforce will find more opportunities to get lean and identify more opportunities to innovate and create products and services that lower customers’ environmental impacts. All of this work will improve the top and bottom lines,” comments sustainable business expert Andrew Winston, in his recent book Green Recovery.


The National Environmental Education Foundation’s (NEEF) recent report The Engaged Organization Corporate Employee Environmental Education Survey and Case Study Findings stresses, “By engaging employees, companies spark innovative changes in everyday business processes that save money and reduce environmental and social impacts while also inspiring employees to make sustainable choices at home and in their communities.”





Cost Savings

Attract/Retain Best Talent

Strengthen Brand/Increase Market Share


According to a case study by BSR on Intel’s green teams, “It may seem like a distraction in these times of financial instability to focus on employees’ passion for sustainability, but efforts toward employee engagement will strengthen a company’s employee base – which will be a crucial element in recovering from the recession. And maintaining employee loyalty and high productivity will help companies position themselves for success as the economy revives.”


According to eBay’s volunteer Green Team leader in Omaha, “Having a Green Team gives people something to believe in; something that is tangible, visible representation that we are a company that cares.”


Look out for EcoGreenHotel’s June Eco Newsletter as we bring you: Getting Started and Four Emerging Trends.



About EcoGreenHotel

EcoGreenHotel is dedicated to helping lodging facilities address environmental issues and achieve the Triple Bottom Line. is also a great resource for tools, checklists, current news and trends, as well as a marketplace for green products and services at EcoGreenHotel also offers green marketing services for existing green hotels.


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