Examining Green Practices Towards Achieving Sustainable Development In Hotels
Hotels have been identified as a ‘resource-hungry’ sector that consumes a considerable amount of natural resources and generates large volumes of waste. This negative impact of the sector raises concerns for environmental sustainability. Green business practice has been identified as a subtle but significant medium in combating the adverse impacts of hotels on the environment. The quest to examine green practices towards achieving sustainable development in hotels informed the focus of this study. With the qualitative research approach, four (4) star-graded hotels in the Enugu metropolis were sampled. In-depth interviews with key informants from key regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and hotel managers were conducted. The study revealed that, though the low-grade hotels had some ‘reactive’ green initiatives, the high-grade hotels were more committed to environmental sustainability in terms of the availability of a written green management policy. Water management and rationing, energy efficiency and economy and waste generation and management were broad green initiatives employed by hotels in this study. However, high-grade hotels in this respect were again identified having a more robust green initiative such as in-room energy management systems and large liquid waste treatment plants than low-grade hotels. The study again identified cost savings and regulatory compliance as popular drivers influencing the adoption of green business initiatives in hotels. This study proposes the provision of infrastructure, support, and education for hotel owners and consumers on the need to embrace environmental sustainability in their operations.
Table of Content
- 1.1 Background to the Study
- 1.2 Statement of the Problem
- 1.3 Objectives of the Study
- 1.4 Research Question
- 1.5 Research Hypothesis
- 1.6 Significance of the Study
- 1.7 Scope of Study
- 1.8 Limitation of the Study
- 1.9 Definition of Terms
- 1.10 Organisation of the Study
2.0 Literature Review
- 2.1 Conceptual Framework
- 2.2 Environmental Impacts Of Hotels
- 2.3 Green Business: Definition
- 2.4 Hotels and Green Business Practices
- 2.5 Waste Generation and Management
- 2.6 Water Management and Rationing
- 2.7 Energy Efficiency and Economy
- 2.8 Theoretical Foundation of the Study
- 2.8.1 Resource-Based Theory
- 2.8.2 Institutional Theory of a Firm
3.0 Research Methodology
- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Population
- 3.3 Sample and Sampling Technique
- 3.4 Instrument for Data Collection
- 3.5 Method of Data Collection
- 3.6 Data Analysis
4.0 Results and Discussion
- 4.0 Results and Discussion
- 4.1 Result
- 4.2 Green Management Policy
- 4.3 Green Business Practices
- 4.4 Drivers of Green Business Practices
5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Summary
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendation
1.1 Background to the Study
Before the 1960s, the hospitality/tourism industry was perceived as an “environmentally friendly” and “smokeless industry” hardly worthy of harassment (Holden, 2000; William and Ponsford, 2008; Kasim, 2007). Some scholars even championed the industry as a promising economic and environmental alternative to the ‘Fordist-style’ resource extraction and production1. However, perspectives concerning the ‘smokelessness’ (Williams and Ponsford, 2008) of the industry began to shift especially when increasing trends of energy supply, the burden of waste management and pollution became evident as the negative environmental impacts in the hospitality sector of the tourism industry (Kasim, 2006). It is against this background that many scholars, governments, and ecological movements joined the bandwagon for the adoption of ‘green practices’ in the hospitality industry across the globe (Rogerson& Sims 2012). 2
Many labels such as ‘sustainable tourism’ (Middleton, 1998) ‘ecotourism’ (CeballouLascurain, as cited in Fennel, 2001), ‘Nature-based tourism’ ‘green responsible business’ ‘responsible tourism’ (Spenceley et al., 2002), ‘socially-conscious tourism’ (Debarbieri, 2008) among others have beengiven to describe the adoption of ‘eco-friendlier’ (Mbasera, 2016) practices by the hospitality industry (Lindberg, 1991; Hunter and Green, 1995; Lozano-Oyola et al., 2012). Throughout this study, the term ‘green business practice’ is used as a blanket concept, under which other terms, such as ecotourism and responsible tourism may fit.
Green business practice has over the years received several interpretations. Whereas some scholars consider the concept as seeking just environmental quality or producing green output (Business Dictionary, n.d;3 Brown and Ratledge 2011), others also argue for a more comprehensive approach of seeking ecological concerns while maintaining the profitability of the enterprise (Hassan, 2000; Spenceley et al., 2002). With reference to Makower and Pyke (2009), this study defines green practice as the availability of policies and initiatives that seek to promote environmental quality and business sustainability.
Globally, the hotel industry has witnessed significant growth over the years. The increase in tourism, the establishment of business headquarters for multinational corporations etc. seems to explain more of the rise in the accommodation sector. A hotel industry analysis reveals that bookings in travel and tourism hit almost $1.6 trillion in 2017 4. The hotel industry which is one of the significant sectors of the hospitality industry constituted over 30 per cent of the value 5. Hotel industry market statistics according to Statista and Deloitte in 2018 asserts that the global hotel industry is set to cross USD 500 Billion in 2018. Again, the hotel industry alone is expected to sustain by growing at 6-7% in 2018 6.
The hotel industry in Nigeria has received much improvement after the implementation of the Structural Adjustment Programme in the 1980s (Mensah and Blankson, 2014). This according to Kuuder (2012), is in response to the issue of investor friendliness, appreciable political stability, and recent oil discovery of the country.
International travellers to Nigeria increased significantly between the year 2000 to 2009 from 399,000 to 802,779 respectively (Kuuder 2012). This growth simultaneously increased the number of registered hotels between 1992 and 1,595 (National Tourism Board, 2009). This growth leaves the most significant, visible and permanent carbon footprint on the environment. This is because the growth of these hotels in the region has some correlation with the generation of negative environmental impacts such as excessive consumption of energy and water and the production of both liquid and solid waste (Mensah and Blankson, 2014).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The accommodation sector is the largest in the tourism industry (Akyeampong, 2006; Ottenbacher et al., 2009). Hotels, a crucial component of the accommodation sector are characterized by several activities that collectively exert a significant impact on environmental resources (Kirk, 1995; Andrea 2007:1916; Bohdanowicz, Zientara & Novotna 2011:801). According to estimations by Han et al., (2010), an average hotel emits between 160 kg and 200 kg of carbon dioxide per square meter of room floor area per year. Water consumption per night by a guest is between 170 and 440litres in an average five-star hotel. On average, hotels produce 1 kg of solid waste per guest per night (Ibid).
The government of Nigeria, in the quest to arrest the looming effects of hotels’ operations on the environment, created state institutions such as National Tourism Authority (NTA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to guide and guard the activities of hotels in the country. For example, hotels in consonance with the legislative instrument are required to conduct and submit an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of their proposed project for review (Environmental Assessment Regulations LI 1652). They (hotels) are thereafter required to submit an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) within 18months after the commencement of business to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EMP outlines how the environmental impact of their activities will be managed. However, evidence from the literature (Mensah and Blankson 2014), suggests that hotels, especially those owned by foreigners do not comply after license and permits have been granted. This negligence confirms earlier observations by the 1996 Tourism Development Plan that hotels in Nigeria are likely to be confronted with the challenge of waste disposal which might lead to the pollution of water bodies.
In fact, there have been reported cases of hotels prosecuted for discharging offensive effluent waste into public gutters ( National News Agency, 2009). In the view of Pigram (1995), tourism is like a two-edged sword which has the potential to create and destroy. It is against this backdrop that many calls have been made for hotels across the globe to adopt and practice some environmental management practices in order to minimize its negative impacts on the environment. For example, international hotel associations can be cited for their respective efforts to employ some ecological rationality in their operations (Mensah and Blankson, 2014).
However, implementation of green initiatives in hotels in Sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria is very limited (Mensah and Blankson, 2014). Even though some studies by Mensah (2006) and Kuuder, et al., (2013) have been conducted in this regard, both studies approached the issue quantitatively. Even though the quantitative approach facilitates comparisons between organizations or groups (Yauch and Steudel, 2003), in this case, low and high star-graded hotels, qualitative methods on the other hand allows the researcher to explore the perspectives of these hotels in other to yield information that is more nuanced than data derived from surveys (Dudwick et al., 2006). In the view of Dudwick et al., (2006), many important characteristics, beliefs, motivations, perceptions of people and communities cannot be meaningfully understood or reduced to numbers without particular reference to their local context.
In other words, even though similar studies have been conducted internationally as well as in other parts of this country (Bohdanowicz et al., 2014; Bohdanowicz, 2006; Mensah et al., 2014; Kuuder, et, al., 2013; Mensah, 2006), conclusions made by these studies cannot be generalized in interpreting the types of green practices, policies and factors motivating the adoption of green practices in urban areas given its unique characteristics. It is against this background that this study seeks to understand green business practices among hotels in the pursuit of sustainable development goals. Thus, this study seeks to examine green practices towards achieving sustainable development in hotels.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The aim of this study is to examine green practices towards achieving sustainable development in hotels. Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;
- To identify green practices adopted towards achieving sustainable development in selected hotels in Nigeria
- To investigate the type of green policies adopted in hotels in Nigeria towards achieving sustainable development
- To determine the factors influencing the adoption and practice of these green practices towards achieving sustainable development
1.4 Research Question
The following research questions are formulated to guide this research:
- What are the green practices adopted towards achieving sustainable development in selected hotels in Nigeria?
- What type of green policies areadopted in hotels in Nigeria towards achieving sustainable development?
- What are the factors influencing the adoption and practice of these green practices towards achieving sustainable development?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
- HO1There is no significant relationship between implementation of green practices and achievement of sustainable development in hotels in Nigeria
- HA1There is a significant relationship between implementation of green practices and achievement of sustainable development in hotels in Nigeria
1.6 Significance of the Study
Unlike some developed nations where the pressure to adopt ‘eco-friendlier’ practices stems from consumers and other non-state actors, the government of Nigeria, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Tourist Board (NTB) etc. The EPA mandates hotels to submit Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before the commencement of business. They are thereafter required by law to submit an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) 18 months after commencement of business. The Environmental Management Plan (EMP) outlines how hotels will manage the impact of their operations on the environment. Moreover, regular visits are made by field officers of the abovementioned institutions to ensure that sound environmental practices are inculcated in the operations of business in the accommodation sector.
Reports from the Quality Assurance Department of the NTA and the EPA suggests that ‘eco-friendlier’ policies and practices of most hotels in the municipality end after license have been granted. Because of the heavy presence of hotels and its significant effects on the municipality, it is therefore prudent to know the extent to which these hotels are implementing green practices to mitigate the negative impacts of their activities on the environment. This would provide empirical evidence for the various actors including the hoteliers to fashion out programs in ensuring environmental sustainability.
In addition, the adoption and practice of green initiatives by hotels can be an avenue for guest to appreciate the essence of green practices across the globe. In other words, the observance of sound environmental practices in hotels can be subtly learned by guests who visit the facility and consciously or unconsciously snowballed to other geographic areas.
1.7 Scope of Study
This study was carried out to examine green practices towards achieving sustainable development in hotels. The study was limited to selected hotels in Enugu Metropolis, Enugu state,Nigeria.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
This study was limited in scope, as it only focused on two selected hotels in Enugu Metropolis, Enugu state,Nigeria. This implies that the findings and conclusions drawn from this study cannot be generalized to other hotels and organizations in the hospitality industry. Also, the researcher faced time constraints, financial constraints as well as issues related to access to relevant materials for this research.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Means the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the life-cycle of a development, including buildings, from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.
Is an organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services on which the economy and society depend on.
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. Facilities provided inside a hotel room may range from a modest-quality mattress in a small room to large suites with bigger, higher-quality beds, a dresser, a refrigerator and other kitchen facilities, upholstered chairs, a flat screen television, and en-suite bathrooms.
1.10 Organisation of the Study
This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one included the background of the study, research problem, research objectives and questions as well as limitation of the study. Chapter two contains the literature review. Chapter three includes the methodology and study area. Chapter Four contains the results and discussion of key findings of the study. Chapter Five finally looks at the summary, conclusions, and recommendations based on the findings.
5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
The aim of this thesis was to examine green practices towards achieving sustainable development in hotels. Analysis of responses from respective cases and in-depth interviews suggest that only high-grade hotels, specifically 3 and 4-star hotels had a green management policy that underpins how waste (both liquid and solid) is treated and managed as well as the purchase of eco-friendlier materials in the facilities. The study again observed that even though the low-graded hotels in the study did not have a clear green management strategy, they had in place some ‘reactive’ green initiatives which were in the area of energy conservation and waste management.
The study again, intended to identify and understand the type of green policies adopted in hotels in Nigeria towards achieving sustainable development. Discussions around this objective revealed that water management and rationing, energy efficiency and economy and waste generation and management were broad green initiatives employed by hotels in this study. With respect to waste generation and management, the study observed that all Cases had similar waste management practices such as regular clean-ups, consistent waste disposal mechanism and the posting of persuading notices for both staff and guest on proper waste management practices. However, the high-graded hotels were more identified in having a robust waste management system. Both Cases 3 and 4 which were 3 and 5-star hotels had large effluent waste treatment plants. Case 4 especially had the practice of waste segregation and refrigeration. Several energy conservation practices such as the use of energy-efficient light bulbs, occupancy sensors, solar energy, turning off air conditioners during day-time among others were some initiatives identified with Cases. It must be emphasized that energy conservation initiatives were among the most popular practices identified by the study among sampled hotels. Water conservation practice such as the use of low flow showers heads, low flow taps, water recycling programmes, staff training and moral suasion etc. were identified in all cases of the study.
The third objective of this study was to identify the factors influencing the adoption and practice of these green practices towards achieving sustainable development. Analysis of responses from respondents highlighted cost-saving, competitive advantage, reputation and regulatory compliance as factors motivating the adoption and practice of green business initiatives among sampled hotels. Analysis of responses from key informants in this study suggests that hotels have to a large extent complied with the necessary regulatory requirements before and after the commencement of business. Key informants confirmed that due to their regular checks of the facilities, most hotels comply due to the fear of license revocation explained by the Institutional theory of the firm as coercive drivers. The study however observed that these regularly checks focused more on the environmental or beautification of the facility rather than core green business practice such as energy and water consumption. There were no sharp differences between the drivers of green business practices among the low and high graded hotels. Cost-saving typically explained the adoption of green business practices among all category of hotels in the study.
This study explored green practices towards achieving sustainable development in hotels. Hotels have a significant impact on the environment and the adoption of green initiatives have been suggested as a subtle but significant approach towards the reduction in the carbon footprint and attainment of the SDGs. From the study, green management initiatives are done haphazardly without any clear guidelines. This study concludes that green business practices implemented in sampled hotels range from energy conservation methods such as the use of solar, LED light bulbs, occupancy sensors, water management and rationings such as low-flow showerheads, low-flow taps, water recycling methods, waste generation and management such as solid and liquid waste treatment, regular clean-ups etc.
Finally, this study concludes that apart from competitive advantage which formed the basis for the adoption and practice of green initiatives among hotels, cost savings, and regulatory compliance was also popular. This implies the significant influence of personal values of owners of low-grade hotels on their business than another management type like the owned and managed by franchise or government. Also, apart from economic factors, there are other implicit drivers of green management practices which should concern further studies.
From the findings and conclusions, Government should emphasize more on the environmental ethics of pushing the green agenda than the extrinsic benefits which is widely spread among hotels in this study.
Further policy actions should also concern the need to create a conducive atmosphere for hotels to transition from the mainstream profit maximization orthodoxy to the environment and business sustainability agenda of the country and the globe.
Finally, regulatory agencies such as EPA and NTA need a more comprehensive inspection itinerary than the ceremonial regular visit which does not inspect the core issues of green business practices of hotels.
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