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BC Hotel Association strikes sustainability partnerships

New pacts with Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and Biospere Tourism are expected to benefit members
The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is one of many hotels that aims to be known for being environmentally sustainable | Glen Korstrom

The BC Hotel Association has signed two new partnerships with sustainability-oriented organizations to help its members provide customers with less environmentally burdensome travel experiences.

The pacts are with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA) and with Biosphere Tourism. 

London-based SHA coordinates tools for the hospitality sector and helps individual accommodations create and evolve sustainability plans. Biosphere Tourism has a sustainability-related certification program that hotels and other accomodations can achieve in order to market themselves to attract sustainability-conscious customers. The BCHA  also announced that it has obtained the Biosphere Tourism certification. 

The BCHA partnerships come a few days after Destination Canada won an international award for its business-event sustainability plan.

Sustainability has long been a buzzword in the hospitality sector, with hotel chains frequently promoting their enterprises as operating in a way that has a limited negative impact on the environment. The BCHA has for many years set its own climate-action targets.

"The BCHA has wholeheartedly supported B.C.'s accommodation community in becoming leaders in establishing a net positive hospitality sector that will support our provincial climate-action goals through our GoGreen Program, and we are thrilled to unveil our sustainability playbook which builds upon that important work,” said BCHA CEO Ingrid Jarrett. 

She said the new partnerships will enable the BCHA to work with its new partners to share knowledge, collaborate and create a greener future.

The BCHA's sustainability playbook is designed to guide hotel-chain members on how to become more sustainable.

That playbook has practical strategies, industry insights and methodologies to equip hoteliers with tools to navigate the complexities of sustainable hospitality, Jarrett told BIV.

"We have templates and tools for setting up a sustainability committee," she said. "We have resources that will help on water-savings strategies, or mitigating waste – food waste. There are best practices on purchasing local [products.] There are so many different opportunities within a hotel operation, or the infrastructure, for being able to monitor and measure what their contribution is, or currently, what their environmental footprint is."

She said BCHA's partnership with SHA will give it access to a global network of sustainability leaders, new research and collaborative initiatives that address environmental and social challenges. That access will help hotel executives be aware of new ways to be more environmentally sustainable and how to implement new systems, Jarrett said.

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