Sustainability can feel like a lot of expensive, hard work that could easily end up costing money rather than generating growth. Robert Cooper, MD of Scrummi Spa, disagrees. Here he is 'Shooting from the hip' arguing that it’s much easier and more cost effective to be sustainable than most spa operators believe.
Sustainability is a mega-trend and spas cannot afford to ignore it. The UN estimates the global market for Green Trade will be worth $2.2 trillion by 2020. But how do we know what being sustainable actually is?
We’ve all heard that sustainability is the enemy of profit. It can feel like a lot of expensive work that could easily end up costing money rather than generating growth. Easy to get wrong. Expensive to get wrong. So let’s not bother.
Across the globe 73 per cent of millennials say they would spend more on sustainable products
Wrong! It might be expensive to get wrong, but it’s easy to get right, too. Across the globe 73 per cent of millennials say they would spend more on sustainable products (Nielsen). Sustainability has been shown to drive growth time and time again. The spa and wellness industry is no different; spas with sustainability at the heart of their values will have a huge competitive advantage.
Innovation is good for business, so think of sustainability as the next big innovation. Many spa owners and managers report being overwhelmed by the complexities and perceived high costs of implementing an effective sustainability strategy. Those that have tried often struggle to make it a success and don’t see commercial benefits due to poor implementation, confused staff and lack of strong vision or leadership.
Sustainability needs to be accessible to everyone in your organisation
From our research and experience working with leaders who have successfully implemented sustainability strategies, we know it’s important to consider following:
Have a vision
Know what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. Only when you know this, can you communicate it clearly throughout your organisation. There is a greater chance of your team and clients ‘getting behind it’ and it’s only when they get passionate about why they’re doing it that the magic happens.
Create a plan with clear objectives
Explain what you want to achieve to your team, then work with them to establish how you’re going to achieve it. Make sure everyone knows the plan and what role they play. Sustainability needs to be accessible to everyone in your organisation.
Measure your performance
Know where you’re starting and commit to some clear targets, for example reducing the number of towels used per treatment from six to two. Regularly measure these indicators and share them with your team to keep them motivated.
Tell your clients
People come to your spa to relax and de-stress, they don’t want to feel pressured or judged by the role they play in environmental issues. Getting the balance right is key. By creating an all-encompassing experience where your sustainable values are an integral way to boost and improve your wellness programme, your clients will leave feeling uplifted and will have a better understanding of your spa’s environmental vision and goals.
It’s now easier than ever to find products that are recyclable or compostable and minimise your environmental footprint
There are no quick fixes but here are some suggestions you could start with, today.
Recycle and use less disposable plastics
It’s now easier than ever to find products that are recyclable or compostable and minimise your environmental footprint. Start by getting rid of plastic water cups and giving clients a biodegradable or re-usable alternative.
Use less water
Water is a precious resource and the process of cleaning, heating and treating uses a huge amount of energy and chemicals. You could cut your laundry down by up to 90 per cent by using Scrummi’s eco-friendly, single-use system.
Consider renewable energy options
Energy companies such as Ecotricity already offer 100 per cent renewable energy from wind, sun and sea sources and by combining a renewable supply with an air or ground source heat pump you could improve energy efficiency by 400 per cent.
Where the wellbeing of our planet and environment are concerned, doing anything is better than doing nothing at all.