Is Your Sustainability Program Sustainable?

Where the Green Spa Network can help

If you’re an advocate for sustainability you’ve probably been on a “green team” at your spa or hotel.  Maybe you’ve even led it.  If your experience is like mine, meetings get scheduled, discussions happen, projects are decided on, tasks assigned and then reasonably little progress is made until the next meeting.

In general this is because these initiatives are usually driven more by passion and less by objective data.  Without this, most green teams spend their time doing things that seem obvious and “easy” like improving recycling, diverting surplus product to people in need or changing light bulbs.  As easy as these things sound, implementation often get bogged down in the reality of changing the way people behave.  Awareness campaigns, staff training, and often personal time off the clock to deliver skin care products to the nearest shelter become the focus of the program’s actions. These things are a really great start but it’s challenging to keep motivation up when there’s so much more that can be done. Over time the lack of measurable results compared to the energy put in leads to frustration… I could digress, but I think you get it; as ironic as it is, most greening programs are not sustainable.

One of the initial challenges is establishing a baseline against which to measure the progress you make. It’s difficult to measure and grade “greenness”. This has been a fact of life in the sustainability movement since the beginning.  Not only does the landscape of what to measure and how to measure it change but understanding what area of action (conservation, energy, waste, management, etc.) will have the most impact on your business and bottom line isn’t as easy as it sounds.

This is where the Green Spa Network comes in.  We’re here to balance this equation for spas and make grounded evaluation, planning, and execution of sustainability efforts in your business easier.  In simple terms, GSN members are committed to investing in sustainable business practices and our goal as an association is for spas to spend less time figuring out what to do and how to do it and more time doing it.

We’re getting close to the official launch of our first generation Strategic Assessment Tool.  Like all things sustainable, it’s not perfect but it is based on information gleaned from real world experience in our business sector and we are constantly improving it. As more spas use the simple survey and toolkit  to empower their green team’s efforts we will really begin to change the game for our industry.

That’s pretty exciting if you ask me.

I look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Paul Schmidt