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Dealing with Greenwashing in Hotels - Essay Example

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The number of companies claiming to offer green services and products is increasing over the last few years, with more consumers and companies putting more emphasis on eco-friendly technologies, and environmental sustainability in any production operations. …
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Dealing with Greenwashing in Hotels
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Download file to see previous pages With the current gradual shift of the market towards eco-sustainability, companies are finding it hard to operate in the conventional way, with customers putting more pressure to such hotels to comply with environmental sustainability requirements. The eco-tourism sector has many certifications based on eco –sustainability with hotels being awarded ratings and certifications depending on the level in which they comply with environmental standards. Consequently, there are a large number of hotels, pretending to offer eco-friendly services on the surface, with no tangible or practical results in the market today, as customers portray more preference to environmental sustainable services. This is known as greenwashing. This paper discusses the use of strict control and monitoring, and tough penalties as effective ways to discourage greenwashing in hotels. Gallicano (2011) describes ‘Greenwashing’ as the act of deliberately misleading consumers on the environmental practices adhered to by an establishment regarding their services and products. This term evolved from the public awareness where the public discovered there were major inconsistencies between companies’ actual behavior and claims regarding eco- -friendly practices, in order to hoodwink and attract more customers using high accreditation from environmental bodies such as LEED. Many companies have used such green-labels as marketing tools with nothing tangible to show with regard to environmental sustainability. Several hotels have developed signs that explain to guests that reusing towels will make savings that would be channeled to charity or environmental organizations (Gallicano, 2011). While such a move is a worthy cause and is supported by many guests, some companies do not end up meeting their bargain as customers are not privy to the internal working policies of such a hotel. Moreover, there are currently vague standards in the hotel industry that create loopholes for greenwashing to take place. A research by Dara O’Rourke an environment professor at the University of California noted that 33% of all food products released to the market in 2008 claiming to be natural made false claims. These foods made their way to hotels still claiming to be natural with guests being duped on the real nature of the foods (Erica & Aaron, 2010). 98% of the above foods were found to have a false claim, while 22% of the food products had green claims that could not be established, implying such claims were made to dupe the customers who may not be aware regarding green standards, with hotels serving such food to customers with the belief they are eco-friendly. To avoid greenwashing hotels have the responsibility of making a follow up of all their suppliers to ensure they adhere to green standards. The issue of greenwashing has sensitized customers to a large scale with more and more customers being vigil to the services offered in many tourism hotels across the globe, and particularly those claiming to have attained high levels of green certification. In July 2007, one of the highly influential blogs, that has received a large number of similar claims, had elaborate discussions indicating that Going Green has become serious deception in the hotel industry (Jessica, 2008). The blog analyzed some of the leading hotels that included Marriot Hotels, Fairmont Hotels and Starwood’s, all of which claimed to have been granted a LEED certification. From this blog, customers indicated thatch the best extent in which the companies could be claimed to have gone green is through the contribution of 1% of their revenue to local environmental groups. According to customers, most of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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