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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Save the Environment - reuse your towels!

I love how serious all of these big corporations are taking climate change but seeing this message hanging from the towel rack in my room at the Wyndham Hotel made me wonder ...are these companies genuinely interested in saving the environment or are they using the environment as an excuse to cut corners and save a few bucks - or worse - are they using it only in their marketing but not in their daily operations - like the big oil companies.

In the case of Wyndham hotels - their request for their guests to reuse their towels seems to be authentic. According to some research I did on the internet the hotel chain has had this practice in place as far back as 2002 or 2003 - long before the green "boom."

Is it possible that some financial analyst or marketer approached management and said "hey - this would be a great way to save money AND market the company as environmentally responsible!". Certainly. I myself was once a financial analyst who proposed investment in solar power at the company I worked for. Not only did I have to do the spreadsheet analysis but I had to stress to marketing how it was a "win win" since we would save millions of dollars over the years while simultaneously improving our public image. That is the reality of green business - it takes one person who is passionate to get the ball rolling - myself in this example - but it takes the selling of the idea to others who may be less passionate and who are the ones calling the shots.

So - does it matter if a business is implementing green practices because it wants to save money rather than doing it solely for the sake of saving the environment? Well, it would be nice if this was a perfect world and everyone was in it for the right reasons, but the fact is that they are doing something that will help save the environment. Regardless of their motives it is still probably more than they would have done in the past. Actually going green is better than just saying you are going green and not following through on that claim.

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