Communication and Education
Two of the most important parts of any environmental plan are the Communication
and Education components. The communication component clearly relays to guests,
employees, vendors, suppliers and contractors the facility’s commitment to
environmental protection. However, as important as the communication of
environmental practices and achievements is, the only way to enact sustainable
change is to provide some level of education to these groups.
Any environmental plan that is devoid of either of these components is bound for
failure. The following Best Management Practices (BMPs) will assist the facility in
successfully transferring information about environmental activities and will assist
in promoting sustainable business practices.
Clearly communicate environmental initiatives.
The facility’s environmental initiatives and achievements should be communicated to
as large an audience as possible. Guests and employees are the primary targets of
any communication but it is important not to overlook suppliers, vendors and
contractors in your communication programs.
The following are examples of possible media to use in communicating initiatives
- Place placards in guest rooms detailing towel and linen reuse programs.
- Post guidelines for recycling in guest rooms, vending areas, back of house and near/on any recycling and trash receptacles.
- Broadcast short informational video showing the facility’s environmental initiatives on in-room television services.
- Show environmental policies to each supplier and contractor upon their entering the facility.
- Post waste generation, water usage and utility consumption data in employee areas.
- Include information about environmental initiatives in marketing and advertising materials.
- Place posters highlighting individual employee’s environmental efforts and achievements.
- Include environmental initiatives and/or a green tip in employee newsletters.
Establish an environmental taskforce or “Green Team” to discuss, plan and
execute environmental initiatives.
The “Green Team” should include representatives from all operational areas. It is
important to include all levels of employees, including management representatives.
To achieve buy-in throughout the facility, consider appointing a team leader that is
not on the facility’s overall management team. The “Green Team” should meet at least
quarterly to review any environmental concerns, plan upcoming outreach events and
discuss ideas to improve environmental performance.
Regularly discuss environmental practices at staff events and meetings.
Communicate environmental initiatives at staff meetings and events. At least one
environmental topic should be presented at each meeting. Invite outside speakers to
address employee groups about smart environmental practices they can do at home and
Offer tours highlighting the facility’s environmental initiatives and achievements to guests and the public.
Public perception is often a large measure of the success or failure of any
environmental initiative. Offer tours of the facility highlighting successful
environmental projects. Tours can be offered as part of other local, eco-tourism
options that are advertised by the facility.
Advertise and offer information on local eco-tourism options.
In Florida, hotel guests often plan to spend a large amount of time outdoors during
their visit. Provide guests with alternatives to the traditional planned excursions.
Popular ideas include guided kayaking, fishing and sailing trips, informational
nature tours and visits to state and local parks and recreation areas.
Provide a means for guests and employees to evaluate the facility’s
Allow guests and employees to evaluate the facility’s environmental performance.
Possible evaluation tools include on-line evaluations, suggestions boxes or surveys.
Review suggestions and evaluations to learn how the facility is perceived and to
highlight possible environmental projects.
Publicly communicate environmental initiatives through advertising
materials and Web resources.
Consistently update the public on current environmental initiatives and past
successes through advertising materials and Web resources. Publicize important
environmental policies and expectations through these same approaches.
Constantly review all environmental policies, initiatives and actions for
consistency and timeliness.
Environmental policies need to be continually updated to reflect current practices
and the most current information available.
Provide training to all levels of facility staff on environmental
policies, procedures and initiatives.
Timely and pertinent training must be considered a vital part of any environmental
improvement program. Ensure that EVERY employee understands the
facility’s environmental policies and their role in implementing and following these
policies. Webinar-based training will be provided on a regular basis by the Florida
Green Lodging Program. Further training can be obtained from suppliers,
vendors, local utility providers, water management districts and various other
Ensure that training on environmental policies and procedures is provided
in languages according to staff needs.
The workforce in the lodging industry is an ethnically diverse population. Where
possible, training should be provided in the audience’s language of first choice to
facilitate clearer understanding and easier adaptation of environmental policies and
initiatives. Printed training materials should be translated to the most common
non-English native language of the facility. Spoken training should be given in the
listener’s native language, where possible.
Serve as a Florida Green Lodging Program mentor to another
Peer-to-peer training and education is invaluable. New environmental practices and
policies are adopted faster if they have an industry champion. By serving as a
Florida Green Lodging mentor to another facility, you can increase the level
of positive environmental impact at a local level.
Host community and/or guest educational programs that highlight the
facility’s environmental initiatives and success stories.
Provide educational programs to guests and the community on smart environmental
practices. Use the facility as tool to show successfully implemented environmental
practices. Event ideas include Earth Day celebrations, hosting an
environmentally-themed public conference or a Green Fair.