Many organizations today actively implement environment management systems as part of their everyday operations. In contemporary times corporate social responsibility has come to play a major role in how organizations project themselves to both customers and competitors. A socially responsible corporation focuses on the disposal of waste products in a manner which benefits and not harms the environment. The era of organizations churning their waste into huge landfills is over. Today organizations instead focus on reducing the amount of waste that goes into these landfills.
This paper defines the role and rationale of an environmental management system in organisations. It examines the origins and history of such a system and its relevance to organisations operating in the 21st Century. It also highlights the benefits and limitations of such systems and evaluates the extent to which their establishment helps organisations achieve quality of product and/or service.
The paper also presents a case study of a company that has recently adopted a exemplary environment management system to limit the amount of waste that goes into its landfills and also to conserve the environment. The focus of the case study is the Savoy Hotel one of UK's most prestigious hospitality organizations. It has a rich traditional past with many celebrities, politicians and royalty staying in the hotel as guests during their respective stays in London. It also remains as one of the city's most prestigious and opulent venues with a prominent location overlooking the Savoy Palace and River Thames.
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The report discusses the hotels new environmental management system and how it will improve the operations of the hotel. The report will also discuss the environment management strategies adopted by Savoy since its restoration which seek to differentiate the hotel from its competitors and appeal to the new environment conscious customer. The research will also provide information on how these strategies are being implemented to enhance customer experience, benefit the environment and gain competitive advantage.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Aims and Objectives 4
Research methodology 4
The Savoy Case Study 5
Research Limitations 5
Literature Review 6
Case Study 12
List of Figures
Figure 1:Four Phases of EMS 8
Environmental Management System (EMS)- Introduction
Organizations now find it imperative to have a systemized and organized approach for managing their environmental affairs commonly known as an environment management system .Companies across the world no longer operate in a vacuum. The impact of their operations on the environment is now monitored closely by legal authorities as well as environment protection groups and also their customers. Operational negligence could result in losses of millions dollars imposed as fines. Traditionally the need to implement an environmental management system was the strongest in manufacturing organizations which had a large amount of organizational waste. Oil companies in particular need a very active environment management system to avoid huge oil spills and other environmental disasters. However in recent years Environmental management systems have also been adopted by service industries such as hotels.
One hospitality company which in recent years has implemented a superlative environment management system is the Savoy Group of Hotels. In the aftermath of its new restoration the Hotel has implemented a new environmental management system which seeks to minimize the amount of waste diverted to its landfills. The hotel has also incorporated environment friendly strategies to enhance the experience of their consumers. Customers can now avail a green package where they can enjoy a environmentally safe stay which gives them the opportunity to do their bid to save the environment. This unique innitiative has helped the hotel reduce both costs and vastly improve its image as a socially responsible organization.
1.1Aim and Objectives
The aim of this research is to critically analyse environmental management systems. In this endeavour it will analyse Savoy's new environmental management system when it renters the hospitality industry after its restoration. The study will focus on the following objectives:
Examine the origins and history of such a system and its relevance to organisations operating in the 21st Century.
Highlights the benefits and limitations of such systems and evaluates the extent to which their establishment helps organisations achieve quality of product and/or service.
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Explore the environment strategies adopted by the hotel through its implementation of the new environmental management system and analyze how they seek to differentiate the hotel from its competitors and appeal to the new environment conscious customer.
1.2 Research Methodology
In this project the research methodology will adopt the secondary approach of data collection. Secondary data will be collected by searches conducted through use of the Internet, journals and press releases as well as relevant books concerning the implementation of environment management strategies. These secondary sources will be used as major sources of information for the project especially as regards the new environment management system implemented by the Savoy hotel after its restoration. The new environment management system seeks to differentiate the hotel from its competitors and appeal to the new environment conscious customer. The sources will also provide information on how these strategies are being implemented to enhance customer experience, benefit the environment and gain competitive advantage. The sources used in the project for secondary research are picked from a vast amount of literature available on the subject.
The Savoy Case Study
The latter half of the project will be designed and presented as a case study which analyses the strategic management decision processes adopted at the newly re-structured Savoy Hotel. According to Yin (2009:18), a case study is 'an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context.' I chose the case study method because it would allow me to explore how effective decision making actually takes place in interesting, real-world situations. By intensively looking at real world strategic decision-making applications, I hope to explore the various concepts of management that we have been taught in the classroom and also illustrate how these concepts are used in real world situations to achieve organizational objectives and competitive advantage (Laurel, 2003).
1.4 Research Limitations
One of the main limitations of the Case study method is since all the data is collected through secondary sources by one researcher it may be prone to bias. Another limitation is that it is hard to determine cause and effect relationships in a case study as compared to collecting data through the use of a experimental method The Third limitation is that since case study analysis applies to a specific situation its results cannot be used for other more generalized applications. (Laurel, 2003)
Literature Review: Environmental Management Systems
In the 21st century there has been a prominent shift in an organization's focus from solely making profit at any cost to exercising diligence and social responsibility towards the impact of its operations on the environment In the current business scenario there exists a need for businesses to implement environmentally friendly strategies which seek to minimize pollution and maximize efficient disposal of waste. These strategies have now become an integral component of the operational policies of most organizations. The term Environmental management system (EMS) has been coined to refer to the systemized process of planning, managing and documenting the companies environmental strategies and programs. It refers to various functions that are involved in planning and implementing programs geared towards environment protection such as resource allocation, hiring and delegating the relevant staff for particular tasks. (Boiral, 2007)
The need to implement environment management systems has intensified because the environment that the business operates in has changed significantly. Today communities become more environment conscious and expect businesses catering to their needs to share their sentiments. Companies who do not adopt environmental friendly policies cannot expect people in these communities to buy their products or patronize their business. Companies also operate in an altered legal environment where governments have instituted laws to protect the environment. Those organizations not following these laws are liable to heavy fines and also risk closure and their licences being revoked. The Environment Management System follows a simple model which involves four phases. (Boiral, 2007)
Phase 1: Planning
This involves identifying how the organizations operations harm the environment and taking efforts to insure that the negative impact is minimal
Phase 2: Doing
This phase implementing strategies and methods to minimize the harmful effects of the firms operations on the environment.
Phase 3: Checking
In this phase the organization checks to see if the strategies are effective and are for working to reduce the harmful impacts on the environment.
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Phase 4: Acting
In this final stage the organization what changes are necesary to ensure how these strategies and methods can be made more effective.
PlanningFigure 1 Four Phases of EMS
2.1 The role of the Environment Management System in Contemprory Organizations
The implementation of the Environment Management system in organizations operating in the business environment of the 21st century has three distinct and varied roles
Device strategies that ensure that a firms operations does not impact the environment in an adverse manner. This includes ensuring that the firm recycles paper plastic and other non biodegradable products that it uses in its operations. It also includes implementing environmentally safe procedures to dispose the company's products. This includes industrial waste as well as consumer waste in the case of retail and service organizations. Environment Management systems will also identify ways to conserve electricity, minimize pollution and ensures that the companies employees are environment conscious and share the company's commitment to preserve the environment (Burden,2010),
Ensure that the Company retains its image as a socially responsible organization. This includes highlighting the company's environment protection endeavours in company newsletters on its websites and in its promotional campaigns. A vital role of the environment management system is to ensure that customers patrons and legal are aware that environmental protection efforts are being followed by the organization. (Florida& Davison, D. 2001)
Make a concerted effort to ensure that the company's waste management system complies with legal and ethical requirements. If there are any excesses they should be monitored, addressed and rectified by the organization itself before it catches the attention of authorities
2.2 Origins of Environmental Management Systems
In the decades preceding the 1980s efforts to preserve the environment were delegated mainly to environmentalists. Most organizations did not adopt policies pertaining to environment conversation or environment friendly waste disposal. Though it was not ethical to dump waste into the environment many organizations that were more focused on making profits than protecting the environment did use the community's ecological system as their dumping ground. However in the late 1980s and early 1990s a series of major environmental disasters such as the Enron Valdez disaster and its severe and catastrophic impact on the environment caused major changes in social consciousness. People and governments begin to demand that Organizations acknowledge their responsibilities of safeguarding and protecting the ecological environment they operate in. This shift in social consciousness and a concerted effort at the government level to make corporations realize their responsibilities towards the environment is what led to the emergence of Environmental Management Systems in the early 1990 as an organizational tool . In their initial stages environmental management systems were implemented in Federal and Government departments and agencies. As laws got tighter and social consciousness continued to evolve major corporations began to incorporate these systems to comply with federal laws, create a positive socially conscious image and to earn the support of their patrons. In the 21st century these systems have been widely implemented in manufacturing, retail and service based organizations. In the contemporary business environment the implementation of the environment management system is no longer a trend it has evolved into a necessary business practice
Advantages of the Environment Management System
The Environment Management system leads to several advantages. These include
Using recycled paper and reducing the consumption of paper cups and other plastic materials does save on costs. Retailers can also save money as well as the environment by not providing customers plastic/ paper bags to carry groceries and other purchases. Instead customers can buy environment friendly re-usable bags to carry their purchases. (Florida& Davison, D. 2001)
Building a Socially Responsible Image for the Corporation. By implementing environment friendly policies the company can show its patrons competitors, the government and its detractors that it genuinely cares for the interests of the communities it operates in. In the age of globalization this image will grant the company access to lucrative foreign emerging markets where it can earn both money and capture large market share. (Florida& Davison, D. 2001)
Building Competitive advantage. By implementing environment friendly strategies companies will be successful in attracting the environment conscious customer who is now increasing in denomination rapidly. This will help it achieve competitive advantage over those companies who cannot attract these customers because they do not follow environment friendly policies. (Florida& Davison, D. 2001)
Factors limiting the Effectiveness of Environmental Management Systems.
There are certain factors which could limit the effectiveness of the Environment Management System. These include:
Low level of Management commitment. Management should realize that this is not a mere business fad or trend that will disappear in a few years. It should be viewed as a continuous process which needs to be implemented monitored and re-evaluated on a regular basis. If management is not fully committed to the idea it will not last a long time. (Boiral, 2007)
Complicated Procedures: The system should be not be complicated and be easy to follow and implement. All terms and regulations should be addressed in clear and simple language. Each task should follow specified guidelines which do not over complicate the procedure. (Florida& Davison, D. 2001)
Unavailability of resources: The plan might require massive restructuring of essential functions and the provision of additional human, material and physical resources. Management should ensure that these resources be provided despite extra costs as a successfully implemented plan may result in cost savings in the long run (Boiral, 2007)
The establishment of such systems help in the creation of products and services which are distinguished and may provide a higher quality of customer experience than those provided by competitors. An example is the green package provided by the Savoy Hotel as part of the implementation of its new environmental management system. The package is highly popular among customers because it focuses on providing them a superior product experience. Customers stay in green rooms, eat ecologically friendly produce, go on green tours and even help in cleaning up the environment. The product offered by the hotel provides its customers with a distinguished and high quality experience which they cannot find anywhere else
Case Study: the Implementation of the Environmental management System at the Savoy Hotel
Famed for its opulence and luxurious style, the Savoy has left its imprint in the world of hospitality for more than a century. The hotel has also established a legendary reputation for its high quality of services and five-star cuisines. The hotel's 268 rooms offer ultimate luxury comfort and hospitality to customers as well as opulent views of the Thames River, the Savoy Palace and the Thames embankment. (Fairmont,2011)Richly-decorated using luxurious décor linens and other accessories the hotel suites provide a unique ambience that is incomparable with other luxury hotels in the city. Located in the heart of London with access to entertainment and shopping venues, the hotel is a great place to stay for tourists looking to enjoy all that London has to offer. The restored Savoy Hotel is a great addition to London's acclaimed five-star hospitality scenes and will only enhance tourism in the city.
In the three-year renovation period that the hotel has been closed to the public, the management has been busy installing green initiatives that will help the hotel conserve energy resources and recycle waste into productive endeavours. Prior to this change most of the hotel's waste was dumped into a landfill and was not biodegradable. The hotel's new green policies focus on installing energy-efficient technologies and reusing waste in a productive manner. All these initiatives are expected to result in reducing overall energy consumption of the hotel by 40 percent. The Hotel's carbon consumption is also expected to reduce to 3,000 tonnes as the result of its environment friendly policies (Lee, 2010).
The crux of the hotel's green initiatives focuses on re-using 90 per cent of waste that would conventionally find its way to the land fill. The hotel's Green Team rescues waste that can be re-used and sent to deserving charities. Old Towels, for example, find their way to Dogs Homes while used slippers are donated to Old People's Homes. Wasted or partially used soap bars are regularly sent to homeless charity organizations (Lee, 2010).
Savoy has implemented a unique initiative to convert food waste into biodegradable fuel. Instead of dumping food waste from its kitchens into the landfill, Savoy turns it over to a recycling company known as PDM (Lee, 2010). The company then sends the waste to a power plant that converts it to bio fuel which is then used to power electricity in the hotel's rooms. The hotel is expected to save £22,000 a year in electricity cost through the implementation of this unique environment-friendly power generating initiative. It is also expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 11 tonnes and generate an amount of electricity that will easily power 20 percent of the hotel's guestrooms (Lee, 2010).
The Hotel has also installed energy efficient technology to save power consumption. This includes the use of an infrared detector system in all the rooms. This device automatically turns the heater or air conditioning to standard temperature on detecting if the customer is not in the room The reduces extra or wasteful use of energy by customers. The hotel has also equipped all rooms with technology that automatically switches of all the lights on detecting that the customer is not physically present in the room (Lee, 2010).
The management has also involved the hotel's employees in its new environment-friendly initiatives. It is partnered with a locally based charitable institution to keep the banks of the Thames River Clean. This is also beneficial for the hotel as most of the property overlooks the river and by helping to keep it clean it can make it more appealing to its guest. Staff members are encouraged to volunteer in cleaning litter strewn from the river embankment behind the Hotel. This environment friendly duty is part of employee shifts and is a paid regular endeavour that builds both environment consciousness and the hotel's reputation as a eco-friendly organization (Lee, 2010).
In a bid to get on the organically produced bandwagon, the hotel has also started its own Herb Garden. The produce of the Herb garden can be used in the dishes prepared by the hotel's many restaurants. The Garden along the river embankments will be maintained on the hotel grounds and produce high quality organic herbs and vegetables to be used in the kitchens. It is expected to grow18 different varieties of seasonal herbs to be used to add flavour to dishes and cocktails served in Savoy restaurants and bars (Lee, 2010). The management can use this initiative to promote its restaurants to consumers who prefer organically produced food. In fact, it can be used to garner competitive advantage over rivals who have not yet evolved their menus to meet the needs of the ecologically conscious consumer. The management also plans to open the garden to public view in the future and it can be used as a tourist attraction for both hotel guests and visitors. The hotel's Herb Garden is also expected to participate in school horticultural programs which are a part of the mayor's Capital Growth Program to encourage business and individuals to grow more food in the city (Lee, 2010).
In conjunction with its broad objective of contributing to the community in which it operates, Savoy's new management has adopted a policy of supporting local businesses. The hotel tries to source vital ingredients' for its restaurants from locally-based establishments in a bid to ensure that the local community benefits from its operations. In its bid to sustain both itself and the community, the hotel's management aims to soon become a part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (Lee, 2010).
Savoy has also achieved the distinction of offering the first environment-friendly hotel stay package in the City. Known as the Elements Stay, this unique package is tailored to cater to guests whose emphasis is on enjoying their trip to the hotel in an environment-friendly manner. Guests who subscribe to this package will be given a card to avail of public transport and also be eligible to enjoy a "green tour" of the City. The hotel has appointed a designated "Green" butler to advice guests on where to find organic shops, restaurants and other environment-friendly establishments that they may require during their stay (Lee, 2010). As part of this package, hotel guests can also participate in picking up litter from the Thames riverfront.
3.1 Benefits of the Environment Management System
The newly renovated Savoy Hotel has put into place a uniquely implemented environment management system that can be used to attain competitive advantage. The advantages of implementing this environmental management system would help the hotel attain popularity among the rising number of environment-friendly customers. It would also position the hotel as a pioneer in advocating green policies and create a whole new trend in the hospitality industry. It would also result in massive cost savings to the hotel.
This particular Environment Management system has been devised by keeping in mind one particular property at the Thames embankment. It has been custom made for this property alone and therefore cannot be used without modification in other Savoy Hotels in the UK and across the globe. This particular system is not standardized and therefore not applicable across the board.
3.3 How the System satisfies Management Objectives and improves Quality
This "Green" Package is an excellent managerial initiative as it satisfies not one but two managerial objectives. (Liang, et al 2010) First it is a concerted step in fulfilling Corporate Social Responsibility. By encouraging hotel guests to participate in conserving the environment and take steps in reducing the pollution along the river front, the hotel is directly contributing to efforts in preserving the ecology. Second, since the hotel is the first to start this initiative, it is also the first to establish competitive advantage. Judging by the sales of the Elements package it is, in all context, fair to say that there is a growing demand for this kind of service in the city (Lee, 2010). Since the hotel is the first to recognize this demand, it will translate into a competitive advantage for the hotel (Porter, 2004). In the highly competitive hotel industry categorized by cutthroat price wars, the presence of a unique selling proposition such as the "green package" will surely give Savoy the competitive edge over its rivals.
The hospitality industry is service-oriented and evolves rapidly in response to customer needs and expectations. The introduction of this unique package satisfies a latent customer need and gives them a superior customer experience. It also increases the quality and service levels of the hotel as this package is very popular and has set precedents of service and quality standards for competitors who wish to emulate it
3.4 Assessment Evaluation and Quality Improvement
To be successful in the long run the environment management system should be continuously monitored assessed and re-engineered to achieve organizational effectiveness. Once the strategies are designed and implemented they must be evaluated by both customers and legal authorities. Customer evaluation can be done by asking for their feedback through a series of surveys involving questionnaires and direct interviews. Customer suggestions should be incorporated in these strategies and they should be renewed and re-implemented to achieve more effective environment friendly strategies
The implementation of environment management systems in both the corporate and hospitality world is a current and upcoming trend which is expected to dominate hotel practices in the UK in the near future. The motivation to adapt Savoy's operations to fit in an eco-friendly frame came from the management's efforts in identifying changing consumer attitudes and preferences. There are a growing number of modern consumers who prefer to patronize establishments which were oriented towards ecological friendly practices and the management of Savoy seeks to attract this growing breed of customers to their establishment.
The implementation of the Environment Management System is a concerted management initiative that requires considerable financial investment to re-design processes in line with Organizational Objectives. The successful implementation of environment management techniques techniques will not only result in faster and more efficient processes for Savoy it will also add value to the service produced by the hotel and helped create competitive our advantage in the industry.