During the operational stage, hotels and resorts can have significant impacts on biodiversity through their purchasing decisions, the levels of energy and water usage, how they dispose of and manage wastewater and solid waste.
There are many ways that hotel managers can minimize impacts on biodiversity in the different areas of a hotel:
- In hotel restaurants, seek sustainable sources of food supplies, especially of fish and seafood, fruits and vegetables, farmed meats and wild game.
- In guest rooms and public areas, make responsible choices in terms of wood used for expansion or renovation projects and furniture, medicinal and aromatic plants and amenities for spa products, and ornamental plants and animals for public areas.
- In hotel souvenir shops, avoid souvenirs produced from threatened or protected plant and animal species.
- In hotel grounds and gardens, use indigenous plants for landscaping and minimize light and noise.
- In the destination, promote responsible recreation activities and excursions and support local biodiversity conservation efforts.
While specific practices will vary depending on the resource concerned or the specific area of the hotel, there are some key principles that apply to all actions designed to minimize biodiversity impacts:
- Work internally to introduce management practices and procedures that contribute to biodiversity conservation. This includes designated individuals responsible for the effort, setting clear targets and monitoring your progress, providing training and incentives to staff, and offering explanations of actions and the motivations behind them to staff, guests, suppliers and stakeholders.
- Whenever possible, use products that are from sustainably harvested and/or sustainably produced sources, and, if relevant, are certified and labeled under certification schemes that include biodiversity criteria.
- Work closely with other key players, including suppliers, clients and public authorities and local organisations to ensure that they support and promote the hotel’s efforts to conserve biodiversity.
To support hotel and resort managers in the integration of sound biodiversity practices in their operations, IUCN, with a number of partners, has developed Biodiversity: My Hotel in Action - A guide to sustainable use of biological resources.
As a companion to the publication, Biodiversity: My Hotel in Action, we developed a comprehensive checklist for hotel managers to use in assessing their hotel’s performance and planning future actions and initiatives. The Hotel Manager’s Checklist is based on the content of the guide and includes sections on overall approaches to biodiversity conservation practices, hotel restaurants, guest rooms and public areas, hotel souvenir shops, hotel grounds and gardens, and the destination. For each action item, hotel managers can rate their performance as already in compliance, nearly in compliance, strategy in place but not yet implemented, or not yet compliant.