Criterion A1: Hotel Sustainability Management System – Implementation Guidance

This Guidance document aims at helping hotels get started in fulfilling criterion A1 – Sustainability Management System (SMS) of the GSTC Industry Criteria.

GSTC Member Greenview, a leading sustainability consulting and research firm with over a decade of experience working with dozens of hotel companies, has prepared this guidance document to support hotels in their development and implementation of an SMS to support alignment with the GSTC Industry Criteria for Hotels.

This Guidance has been designed to provide an overview of how a SMS should be implemented in a hotel property, which can be adapted and enhanced to cover a hotel portfolio.

A Sustainability Management System (SMS) will involve the hotel’s General Manager, department heads and supervisors, and line-level staff. In a well-developed SMS, nearly all staff are involved in some form, and several staff have designated roles and responsibilities to ensure that the aspects are covered.

Who should use this Guidance?

This guidance is intended for the key parties involved in the preparation and implementation of the sustainability management system, including General Manager/ Assistant GM, Hotel Manager, designated sustainability champion, sustainability group members and Director of Engineering. The designated sustainability champion, who is responsible for coordinating and monitoring many crossfunctional components of the system, can obtain all the fundamental SMS set-up information here. From planning to the actual implementation, elements necessary in the SMS are briefly discussed one-by-one. Examples are provided to facilitate users’ understanding of how to execute in practice.

What is a Sustainability Management System (SMS)?

• In general, an SMS is used to identify the risks, outline corresponding management, and monitor and document performance relating to the environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality, human rights, health, and safety issues which will be based on the size, business nature, and scope of an organization.

• In the case of the GSTC Industry Criteria for Hotels, the SMS pertains to the accommodation’s operator and in some cases the owner, where it involves managing and controlling the identified risks and any related crises. Through regular monitoring, the SMS sets a platform for continuous improvement in sustainability performance. Most importantly, the SMS and all related information has to be clearly documented (and not just for a third-party audit for GSTC certification, but as part of the ongoing SMS process).

• An SMS is not a software: it is a process to continually do better. It may involve Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), training, templates, and software (such as the Greenview Portal) for part of it, but overall will be part of the ongoing process and good management. Most importantly, an SMS is ongoing, and will need to be improved over time, as the issues relating to sustainable development continue to evolve.

How does an SMS apply to a hotel?

• In good practice, an SMS is a cost-effective and organized approach to manage different aspects related to the sustainability performance of a hotel, which address expectations from its guests, employees, and local communities.

• This guidance structures the SMS using the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach which is common for the well-developed ISO 14001 environmental management system (EMS), which can apply to any organization of any size, type, or industry. The SMS requirements of GSTC can be seen as an expansion of the topics covered, from just environmental aspects to all sustainability aspects including social and economic aspects, and prescriptively tailored to the realities of a hotel.

• Hotels can follow the Plan-Do-Check-Act step-by-step to set up their SMS in alignment with the GSTC Criteria.

Read the Full Guidance Document

>> Download the full Hotel Sustainability Management System Guidance Document by Greenview.