The hospitality sector, and the travel industry in general, are aware of the increasing importance of offering socially and environmentally sustainable travel choices. In the last decade several eco rating systems and certifications for the hospitality industry have been developed. Wayaj’s goal is to bring them together in an easy to understand, yet thorough, methodology. Based on some of the leading sustainability rating indexes, our experts have identified 7 main criteria to score the environmental and social impact of hotels and other forms of travel accommodations:
(ECO)TOURISM: FACTS & FIGURES
- 2017 Global tourism spending US$ 1.3 TN (UNWTO)
- 10% of World GDP is from tourism (UNWTO)
- 35% of travelers often or always choose sustainable travel options (Booking.com 2017)
- 60% of leisure travelers in the United States (105.3 million Americans) have taken a “sustainable” trip in the last three years (Sustainable travel International/Mandala research)
- International wellness tourists on average spent $1,613 per trip in 2015, 61% more than the typical international tourist (Global Wellness Institute)
- 72% of travelers report that its either important, very important or extremely important to them that their travel spending directly helps the communities they visit (Phocuswright for Tourism Cares – 2015)
Preserving native cultures and empowering local communities are an integral part of any sustainable and socially responsible policy. here are the main criteria Wayaj uses to evaluate the social impact of the hotel:
- The property hires local people (within 50 miles). Impacts on surrounding community are minimal, if any. Located within half of a mile of public or green transportation (Bike program, bus stop, low/no emitting vehicles, etc.) – not required if located in isolated area.
- Some locals are in management positions. Basic programs in the community or onsite for cultural/community activities are present. Property provides onsite transportation options.
- Contributions are made in community and onsite to improve community, educate on local issues, and promote sustainable development.
- Property offers to employees incentives such as travel subsidies, green vehicle purchasing, carpooling, and other ways to reduce traffic and pollution.
The production and consumption of energy has a considerable effect on the environment, these are the factors Wayaj uses to evaluate the efforts to minimize this impact.
- The property monitors all energy on a monthly basis. It has programs that allow guests to cut down on energy consumption such as towel and linen reuse.
- The property uses energy efficient LED lighting and energy efficient appliances. It also has a plan to lower energy consumption.
- The property uses renewable energy and/or renewable energy credits for 5% or more of all energy consumption.
- The property uses renewable energy and/or renewable energy credits for 10% of energy consumption.
The preservation of water resources is always an important factor to evaluate the sustainability of any operation. Here are some of the criteria Wayaj uses to evaluate water conservation practices:
- Total water consumption is 10% below the standard. Overall water consumption is metered on a monthly basis. The property has program to allow guests to reuse towels and skip housekeeping service.
- Total water consumption is 20% below the standard. has plan to lower indoor and outdoor water consumption. Rooms are equipped with low flow and low flush toilets, sinks, and showers.
- Total water consumption is 30% below the standard. Wastewater is treated on site or is sent to a facility to be treated before getting discharged.
- Total water consumption is 40% below the standard. Rain water is captured and used onsite and/or water is reused on site.
Where the products used by the property come from, and who makes them are also an integral part of Wayaj eco-rating. These are the criteria we use:
- The property purchases local sustainable products and has a sustainable purchasing plan, which includes current and future plans to buy local and sustainable products.
- The top 2 most frequently purchased products are manufactured within 500 miles of the hotel. At least one of the top 5 must have a sustainable supply chain certification.
- The top 3 most frequently purchased products are manufactured within 500 miles of the hotel. At least two of the top 5 must have a sustainable supply chain.
- The top 5 most frequently purchased products are manufactured within 500 miles of the hotel. At least three of the top 5 must have a sustainable supply chain.
These are the criteria Wayaj uses to evaluate the hotel’s waste disposal policies:
- The property monitors all applicable waste totals from trash, recyclables, hazardous waste, and compost. In addition, recycling is offered for all guests for plastic, paper, metal, and glass.
- The property diverts at least 10% of all waste from landfills and incinerators. A waste management and reduction plan is also in place.
- The property collects e-waste and hazardous waste and implements a donation/upcycling program. 25% of all waste is diverted from landfills and incinerators.
- The property has a composting program. 50% of waste is diverted from landfills and incinerators.
The quality of the indoor environment is an important factor for the health of the guests and of the people who work there. Wayaj uses these criteria to evaluate hotel policies in this area:
- Indoor smoking is not allowed in any areas. Outdoor smoking is allowed in designated areas.
- The property uses green cleaning practices and products. A pest management plan is in place, and each guest room has temperature and lighting controls.
- The hotel requests guest feedback on areas for improving indoor quality. Each guest room and guest area has a source of daylight and outdoor views.
- The property has an indoor environmental plan.
Wayaj takes into consideration also how resources and operations are managed:
- The property follows all health, safety, and labor laws for guests and employees. It pays livable and profitable wage to all employees. Policies against exploitation and discrimination against any people are in place.
- All sustainability programs are clearly marked, accessible, and advertised for guests and employees. The property has a sustainability plan and sustainability contact person.
- The property educates employees on sustainability on water, waste, energy, cleaning, food services, etc.
- The hotel asks for guest feedback concerning sustainability practices and has a plan for corrective action, if not already pursuing such action.