Friday, September 24, 2010

Dow Jones Sustainability Index

After our class last night on the efforts of Passport Resorts to create a truly sustainable model for hotel development, I think all of us were in awe of Mike Freed's ability to create a sustainable model for resorts from the ground up.

I was amazed he was able to negotiate developing a solar array that his company will own later, by selling the power both to his resort and to the grid. I was really impressed that he was able to keep the Fort Baker complex in Sausalito so historically well preserved while winning a Gold Leed certification, creating what is now the incredibly beautiful Cavallo Point Lodge - a place I have enjoyed numerous times as part of my work at the Institute at the Golden Gate.

Peter Haase, the civil engineer with Fall Creek Engineering who works through many of the sustainability solutions for Passport, gave a thorough review of nuts and bolts solutions to water management, laundry, landscaping, sewage and waste. He stressed interdisciplinary team solutions. He made me think about how much the approach to creating and developing sustainable hotels is still in process. While we have celebrated the break throughs in ecolodge development for 15 years, we are still just beginning to create a thorough set of development procedures for hotel developers around the world to adopt. In fact, we still have not gotten far enough with this at all! The question is how to create standard procedures now that achieve the best results. I will review more of his thoughts in my next post.

This morning at breakfast, here in Boston, I was reviewing my notes from Faith Taylor's lecture and looked up the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. There is a very clear movement in the marketplace to reward sustainability procedures, not with seals or awards, but with encouraging more investment. The website is quite clear that sustainability as a principle for attracting investment is becoming increasingly important. It is a means of "driving shareholder value" and "managing risks from economic, social, and environmental development"

Interestingly, they rank companies in "supersectors" annually. For travel and leisure, Air France/KLM won the top kudos! They are rated on corporate governance, risk and crises management, reliability, brand management, environmental policy and management, air quality, fleet age, route network, talent attraction, standards for suppliers, noise, human capital development.

According to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index report,

"A growing number of investors is convinced that sustainability is a catalyst for enlightened and disciplined management, and, thus, a crucial success factor."

Let's hope so, as we continue to look at the triggers, and the hard work behind developing tourism more sustainably.

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