GWCCA Corporate Social Responsibility Manager discusses resiliency in the hospitality industry

After years of notoriety, many hospitality ventures have embraced the focus of environmental sustainability. In fact, some are even considered leaders in the movement to combat climate change by engaging stakeholders through education, building certifications, and transparent reporting. With new and unprecedented global volatility and interconnectedness, the marketplace has required a shift to planning for long-term resiliency.

As an organization where and why should you begin? In a exclusive, Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Tim Trefzer discusses why and how organizations should go beyond the financial gain of sustainability. The relationship between short-term decisions and overall business strategy has never been more important and by proactively engaging stakeholders and combing through trends, the hospitality industry has the opportunity to leverage its influence and create meaningful shifts in the local and global environment.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Over the last decade, the hospitality industry has taken advantage of the bottom-line savings stemming from simple environmental initiatives. Swapping halogen light bulbs for energy efficient LEDs; Exchanging water-heavy toilets and urinals for low-flow (or even waterless) alternatives; Instituting a recycling program resulting in lower waste hauling costs. These obvious cost-saving solutions to the overall budget weren’t an integral part of the fabric of doing business but were merely actions taken for financial gain. And that’s what sustainability was to the hospitality industry.

 Today, however, sustainability in this industry has moved beyond low-hanging, easy-to-quantify, cost-saving actions. Once the financial benefits of these actions have been recognized, what’s next? Guests and clients, especially highly influential millennials, are increasingly aware of a company’s impact on environmental and social wellbeing. They expect businesses to address environmental and social causes in pursuit of a better society by incorporating this mindset in all aspects of business.

At the GWCCA, Trefzer oversees implementation of initiatives to improve internal operations, reduce the impact of hosted events and advance the well-being of the community through strategic partnerships. As a LEED accredited professional, he directed the Georgia World Congress Center’s LEED Silver (2014) and Gold (2017) certifications and, in 2017, guided the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center (also managed by the GWCCA) to LEED Gold.

Trefzer is intimately ingrained in sports sustainability, consulting for the College Football Playoff and Super Bowl and serving as faculty associate at Arizona State University where he teaches the Global Context of Sustainability course of the online Master’s for Sustainability Leadership program and as a part-time professor at Georgia State University in the hospitality program, specifically focused on sustainability.

Read the full article here.