Essay on Sustainable Hotel Management: From Policy to Practice

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Sewanee University of the South
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Criterion B5 by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is concerned about Exploitation and Harassment. Businesses in the tourism industry are required to comply with it through policy documentation to avert harassment and exploitation of susceptible groups like women and minorities. Also, they should ensure the policies are implemented to prevent child labour and child sex tourism. The IBIS hotel has had the upper hand in the implementation of the criterion. It is situated at Edinburgh Centre South Bridge in Scotland. It was established by the Accor Group in 1974 in France.

How the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the Global Compact Cover Criterion B5

Harassment occurs in the form of intimidating and offensive behaviour towards an individual. It can occur in the form of racial, sexual, disability, age, sexual orientation, or commercial harassment. On the other hand, exploitation entails mistreating somebody so that one can benefit from their work. For instance, underpaying, failure to pay, child labour, overworking employees, or unfavourable importation of goods (Hinkin, 2016). The Global Code of Ethics for Tourism is against exploitation and harassment. As such, it upholds Criterion B5 through Article 9, which spells out the rights of entrepreneurs and workers in the industry. It requires social protection to be granted and job insecurity to be eliminated. Hence, the workers cannot be laid off without prior notice, and the social protection ensures they do not suffer due to unemployment, old age, disability, or sickness. In the case of multinational enterprises, they should not impose foreign social and cultural models on local communities. This is a form of commercial exploitation as they might repatriate the profits excessively while inducing high levels of imports in the host country. As such, the economy of the country would be ruined (Eller, 2014). Moreover, Article 1 requires tourism to enhance respect and mutual understanding between societies and people. Therefore, harassment and exploitation are eliminated as harmony, security and coexistence would be upheld. The UN Global Compact tackles Criterion B5 by urging companies to protect human rights by eliminating compulsory, child, and forced labour. Additionally, it advocates for the eradication of occupation and employment discrimination.

The Negative and Positive Impacts of Criterion B5 Implementation by Hotels

Positive Impacts Negative Impacts

Promotion of a positive environment that supports productivity, self-respect, and dignity for all personnel.

The hotels fail to achieve the cost minimization goal as cheap child labour is lost when Criterion B5 is implemented.

An internal process is established to resolve and prevent harassment at work by promoting mutual respect and the behaviour anticipated by all stakeholders. Loss of customers through strict laws, which protect female employees from sexual harassments. Many customers like hotels that do not put many restrictions on how their employees can be handled.

The morale to work is improved when harassments are addressed and resolved. As such, team effectiveness is enhanced leading to high levels of productivity due to positive working relationships.

High costs as a result of lawsuits against the hotel that fails to protect its female employees from harassment.

High-quality education is achieved by children when the hotels implement the goals of preventing and eliminating child trafficking, labour, and slavery.

How Accors Planet 21 sustainability policy framework addresses Criterion B5

The Accor Planet 21 sustainability policy framework roles out Criterion B5 by being committed to its employees through inclusivity. They are committed to instrument the health and wellbeing program implying that workers cannot work if unwell. Also, they aim to have thirty-five percent of its general managers as women by 2017. As such, cases of sexual harassment on women are handled efficiently due to proper representation. Additionally, Criterion B5 is addressed as Accor is committed to the local communities by supporting local initiatives. For instance, an endowment fund known as Solidarity AccorHotels is in place to support social projects and community work to enable the minorities and vulnerable groups to become employed. In France, the fund is used to aid a non-profit group, La Table de Cana, which trains women based in hazardous environments to be able to handle kitchen issues and work in the hotel. Also, they shield children from sexual mistreatment through customer and team awareness ("AccorHotels: sustainability initiatives contribute to guest satisfaction and business performance", 2015). Moreover, they collaborate with experts, law-enforcement agencies, and NGOs to ensure justice prevails for the afflicted. Similarly, Accor works by raising the awareness of their employees concerning the values and ethical rules of the organisation. Hence, they end up evading any form of harassment and exploitation against their colleagues.

How IBIS Implements Accor Groups Corporate Sustainability Framework concerning Criterion B5

IBIS is dedicated to the 21 obligations by the Accor Group to uphold sustainable development. This is evident as one hundred and fifteen IBIS hotels have a structured language training program for its employees. This enables proper communication to take place. As such, there is a reduction in the chance of exploitation regarding workload and payment ("Ibis hotel - Our Planet 21 sustainable growth program", 2015). Also, one hundred IBIS hotels have trained its workforce on handling psychosocial risks. Consequently, the vulnerable groups and minorities can control their socialisation, thinking, and behaviour to ensure they report cases of harassment ("Accor's Planet 21 - a game-changer in hospitality", 2015). Moreover, nearly four thousand employees have been trained on how to fight sex tourism among children, which is an aim of Criterion B5. Additionally, IBIS has seen 35 percent of its hotels promote and buy local foods alleviating economic exploitation by reducing the levels of importation.

Indicators used by AccorHotels to Monitor the Evolution of their Performance

AccorHotels had an indicator of an improvement in their performance when they won the Gold Award for Excellence in CSR. Hotels attain rankings like Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum depending on how they meet some sustainability criteria ("AccorHotels wins Gold for Excellence in CSR Strategy | Travel News Digest", 2017). Hence, the efforts of AccorHotels to enhance the wellness of the environment and community enabled them to get the award. Their employees, guests, and partners participated fully in the implementation of Planet 21 ("AccorHotels studies find positive impacts of Corporate Social Responsibility program - eHotelier", 2015). For instance, the hotels in Asia concentrated on workplace well-being, child protection, biodiversity, and responsible use of beverages and food by banning any endangered products. Consequently, their efforts made them reduce water consumption by nine percent, carbon emissions lowered by 6.4 percent, and energy usage shrunk by 5.4 percent. Moreover, CSR indicates performance improvement through the surveys conducted by Ernst & Young and Accenture. Sustainability is fruitful as it improves the profitability of the hotel, increases contentment of guests, and enhances customer loyalty. Being ISO 14001-certified and attaining Charter 21 level made the customers more satisfied as compared to hotels without the certification. Hence, the sustainability responsibility by AccorHotels leads to an evolution in their performance.

An Experience of Criterion B5 at G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh

Most hotels are on the run to ensure their work environment is free of harassment and exploitation. This is because harassment has become rampant in the industry. As a one week guest at G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh, I realised that panic buttons had been installed in most locations to handle issues of sexual harassment or assault. The females working there are exposed to the predatory behaviour of men, which pose an occupational threat. Hence, the panic button is of help as they can instantaneously call for emergency help. The response is to be received within three minutes whereby the worker gets a transfer from the area the harassment occurred. To sound a warning, the panic buttons are publicised within the hotel to help protect the employees from any attempted attacks. Also, Criterion B5 is in place at G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh because I saw on their noticeboard that the housekeepers were being allocated fewer workloads to lessen their vulnerability to sexual harassment. Their movement from room to room exposes them to dangers of harassment and potential attack from strangers.

How the IBIS Hotel can Incorporate Criterion B5 in Managing the Hotel in Edinburgh

Criterion B5 can be implemented in the management of IBIS Hotel. This can be achieved by ensuring the senior management and the chief executive officer support a comprehensive strategy to handle harassment of women and other minorities in the community. Policies on how to deal with cases of harassment and exploitation like assault, rape, and child sex tourism must be implemented. Additionally, unions and members of the staff must be consulted in the writing of policies to ensure all issues affecting them are tackled. Also, all levels of the organisation must receive the policies to ensure their promotion. During induction, the management must ensure the new employees acquire important information on handling cases of harassment and exploitation. Where there is language diversity, translations of the policies must be done to ensure a wide community base is reached. Similarly, the management must cater for the disabled by ensuring they can access the policies. During staff meetings, the supervisors and managers must reinforce the policies because verbal communication is effective. Moreover, the management must do policy reviews to ensure updated information is used in averting exploitation and harassment. Continuous training must be done for all managers and staff members to keep them updated. The selection of management must ensure the chosen leaders can handle harassment and discrimination matters (Kensbock, Bailey, Jennings & Patiar, 2017). Audits must be conducted to monitor workplace harassment and the operationalization of the complaints procedures. Despite the constraint of time and finances to incorporate the criterion, IBIS Hotel should focus on the long-term benefits of the implementation. With time, customer satisfaction would improve generating more revenue for the hotel.


AccorHotels studies find positive impacts of Corporate Social Responsibility program - eHotelier. (2015). eHotelier. Retrieved 26 June 2017, from

AccorHotels wins Gold for Excellence in CSR Strategy | Travel News Digest. (2017). Retrieved 26 June 2017, from

AccorHotels: sustainability initiatives contribute to guest satisfaction and business performance. (2015). PLANET 21 SUSTAINABILITY AT ACCORHOTELS. Retrieved 26 June 2017, from

Accor's Planet 21 - game-changer in tourism. (2015). Eco-Business. Retrieved 26 June 2017, from

Eller, M. (2014). Sexual Harassment in Hotels: The Need to Concentrate on Prevention Journal of Hospitality; Tourism Research - M...

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