Whether your dream is to run a glitzy mega-resort, like the $5 billion Heart of Europe property in Dubai due to accommodate 16,000 tourists, or the Pikaia Lodge carbon-neutral property in Ecuador that relies on alternative energy sources with an outstanding social responsibility program, or a chain brand in a European capital city - you’ll need to know about sustainability. Why?
Sustainable management is sound management
Because people everywhere are increasingly prioritizing social and environmental sustainability when they travel. They want to know that they are supporting businesses with values that align with their own. And with the devastating toll that COVID-19 has taken on the industry, hospitality businesses are scrambling to figure out how they’ll swing back into action once travelers return to the roads, rails and skies again - which they inevitably will - those built or rebuilt on a sound, sustainable footing are more likely to thrive long-term. That’s because sustainable businesses operate efficiently, use resources wisely and have higher staff retention rates. In other words, sustainable management is equivalent to sound management.
Sustainability: integral to any course
What, then, are necessary elements of a sound curriculum? Because sustainability is about balancing the wants and needs of today’s travelers with economic and environmental realities of hotels and destination communities. A curriculum grounded in sustainability can integrate this ethos in all kinds of ways: from strategic planning to finance and marketing, sustainability can become integral to the fabric of any course. In addition to incorporating sustainability throughout the curriculum - into courses including finance, marketing and human resources, for example - EHL currently offers a couple of sustainability-specific courses.
The Sustainable Hospitality Culture course is intended to provide entry-level students with a basic understanding of sustainability. Students learn through lectures, texts videos and group exercises about issues including certification, hotel sustainability reports, overtourism and destination management. The course also focuses on often neglected issues, including the social and cultural aspects of sustainability.
In addition to the overview course, the Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Innovations elective delves more deeply into relevant issues. Students visit sustainably managed hotels in Switzerland to gain a first-hand understanding of their operations in practice. The course also features panel discussions on specific industry topics with leading experts who address innovations in the field. Past panelists have included Zoritsa Urosevic from the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Willy Legrand from the IUBH School of Business and Management, Guido Palazzo from the University of Lausanne and Lilian Roten, VP of Brand management for Swissôtel and Pullman.
Starting in February 2021, EHL will offer an additional elective course on Business Ethics that aims to help students develop “the ability to resolve managerial dilemmas in accordance with the ethical standards currently required of companies.”
To further understand how interested and proficient our students are in terms and topics related to sustainability, we recently administered a sustainability literacy test. What were the key takeaways? That students are highly interested in the subject and that EHL has an opportunity to teach these concepts in a way that resonates. To learn more, click here [INSERT A HYPERLINK].