Identifying areas for meaningful sustainability

Online since 5.09.2017 • Filed under Environment • From Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018 page(s) 38
Identifying areas for meaningful sustainability

Business owners have a responsibility to not only keep the environment clean, but also to help marginalised societies. The concept of sustainability in the business environment has been around for a while but it’s still not being embraced enthusiastically by all, despite the consequences.

‘Having witnessed the negative effects wrought by the corporate world on the environment and society, it is no wonder the millennial generation wants a different approach,’ says Danny Bryer, the director of sales, marketing and revenue management for Protea Hotels by Marriott®.

‘Now that young adults make up a large proportion of the market, it would be short-sighted to ignore the focus on a sustainable world that this market group demands.’ While there’s no question that businesses need to incorporate the principles of sustainability into their everyday functions, it’s not that straightforward. ‘Ultimately, if applying these principles means that costs go up, no business is likely to jump on board,’ Bryer admits. ‘So, the solution is to find ways to make sustainability profitable.’

A good starting point is to ensure that business activities align with what the public is looking for from a sustainability perspective. ‘A viable approach is to identify particular themes of sustainability that support your market’s view, and to look for the means to deliver on these in profitable ways,’ Bryer advises.

Some of the themes to consider include supporting local people – the environment, human rights, and the supply chain. This helps identify areas to concentrate on so there is no risk of a haphazard approach. Global trends include building working environments that encourage diversity to advance opportunities for marginalised sectors of society.

‘In South Africa, we have joined forces with a recruitment firm with a difference. They identify unemployed youth with potential and train them to fill entry-level positions in our hotels.’ A big focus for Protea Hotels by Marriott® is to actively stimulate economies at a local level by focusing on procurement. For instance, Protea Hotels by Marriott® provides quality coffee for its guests by going the Fairtrade route to source coffee suppliers. Rural coffee growers in other African countries are given the opportunity to sell their produce to a corporate market – something that would otherwise be beyond their capacity.

The range of construction choices when new hotels are built is also a sphere of attention. Guidance is given to hotel owners and developers so that the environment is protected and owners still reap financial benefits over the long-term. Taking these sustainability issues into account helps to grow a loyal customer base and contributes to a better world.

Protea Hotels by Marriott® is the leading hospitality brand in Africa and one of the most widely recognised brands in Africa. The hotel group, owned by Marriott International, forms part of Marriott’s global brand portfolio made up of 30 leading brands that operate more than 6 000 hotels in 122 countries. For more information, visit proteahotels.com.

Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018

Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018

This article was featured on page 38 of SABI Magazine Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018 .

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