Business and Management Research News

GREEN CERTIFICATIONS WITHIN THE HOTEL INDUSTRY

Prof. Dr. Pernille Eskerod and trainee scholar and MBA student Ms. Jovana Djuric, from Webster Vienna’s business and management department, are undertaking research on green certifications within the hotel industry. The research concerns how hotels participate in third-party green certification programs in order to minimize their environmental footprint and to attract environmentally-conscious customers and employees.

A blooming hotel industry has the downside of an increased negative environmental impact. At the same time, many hotel guests and employees have become conscious of eco-friendliness and green practices. In addition, 2017 has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. A particular emphasis has been place on resource efficiency and environmental protection.

A hotel that has green certification(s) promises more green services, products, and operations, and therefore may potentially possesses an important strategic asset when it comes to attracting customers and employees. Many green certifications are offered within the hotel industry, such as the Green Globe and Green Key certifications. Choosing which certificate(s) to pursue becomes a strategic choice for hotel management.

Dr. Eskerod and Ms. Djuric are examining green certifications in order to determine similarities and differences among them. As part of the research, they are analyzing certificate usage in different regions of the world. Even though many of the certifications are offered internationally, clear differences in dissemination across regions have been identified. In addition to region, belonging to a hotel chain or brand seems to highly influence which certificate(s) are sought.

The researchers have conducted interviews on green practices and certifications in both Serbia and Denmark. In Serbia, the interviews took place at Hotel Prag and Radisson Blu Old Mill Hotel, both in Belgrade, which are among the country’s leading business hotels. Hotel Prag has been certified by the ISO 14001 standard on Environmental Management, whereas Radisson Blu Old Mill Hotel was the first hotel in Serbia to be Green Key certified. Additionally, it received a sustainability award from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce in Sept. 2017.

In Denmark, interviews were conducted with the Deputy CEO for Foundation for Environmental Education, who is also the director of the International Green Key Program. An International Green Key Assistant and a trainee took also part in the interview. Further, Eskerod and Djuric interviewed the Danish Green Key national coordinator as well as the PR & Communication manager of a boutique hotel in Denmark. This hotel is one of the front runners, nationally and internationally, when it comes to green practices.

The two researchers presented their preliminary results at the 3rd International Tourism and Hospitality Management Conference, which was held in Belgrade, Serbia, in Sept. 2017. The conference abstract and paper can be found here.