The key elements of the Kimpton Hotels Earth Care Program are outlined in its eco-mission statement. These include “company-wide commitment towards water conservation; reduction of energy usage; reduction of energy usage; elimination of harmful toxins and pollutants; recycling of all reusable waste; building and furnishing hotels with sustainable materials; and purchasing goods and services that directly supports these principles” (Murray and Thomas 2005). It should be noted that all of these elements should be implemented in order to attain the goal of the Earth Care program.
However, aside from these direct efforts that the company must engage in, it is also recognize that a key element in embarking in the program is the communication strategy which is used internally and externally. Inside the business organization, it is very essential to align the company’s workforce in this new strategy by letting them know and giving them an active role for the implementation of the program. In the part of the external stakeholders, Kimpton also had to communicate its eco-friendly efforts and their advantages.
Is there a `business case` for the Earth Care Program?
There is a strong business case for the Earth Care Program. It should be noted that implementing this eco-friendly strategy will benefit Kimpton in the long run. Looking at the current trend in the business environment, it becomes notable that most companies not only in the hotel industry are becoming more and more active in the preservation of the environment by supporting sustainable development efforts and by establishing a “greener” image.
It should be noted that company image is now a more serious issue than the product itself. Consumers are becoming more and more concerned about the influences of a business organization to communities and environment. Also, the Earth Care Program is consistent with the corporate social responsibility effort of Kimpton which is very much important in the global business arena nowadays.
Can you describe the costs and benefits associated with the Earth Care Program?
The Earth Care Program conveys various benefits to Kimpton Hotels. One of the most obvious advantages is the huge potential improvement in the bottom line of the company. The efforts of the company to become more eco-friendly also implies shifting from less energy and resources consuming processes which will definitely push down the level of costs.
The company’s effort of eliminating toxic substances will also benefit employees who are handling these chemicals on a daily basis. It should be noted that toxic substances often have detrimental effects to the person handling them and eliminating this can possibly improve the sense of well being of employees and make them more productive. The Earth Care Program also posts opportunities to Kimpton as it will now belong to the list of eco-friendly hotels which are highly preferred by government organizations. In some ways, customers can perceive the eco-friendly image as a new attraction which can generate more revenue for the company.
However, the company also faces the challenges involved in this new strategy. First, the Earth Care Program requires monetary investment which should be financed long before any cost benefit is attained. Kimpton Hotel also needs to align its entire chain with the effort thus necessitating negotiation and giving out the risk of rejection from local managers who feel threatened by the new system. Third, the company needs to pay more for the organic materials which are needed to make hotels eco-friendly. As the case states, these costs are very high compared to the traditional materials.
Are there risks to the company with this program?
The company is facing a huge risk in implementing the Earth Care Program. First, Kimpton Hotel is not sure whether this program will be perceived by customers as value-adding. Experience of the customers are seen to be indirectly related with the materials or equipments used in delivering services.
Since the benefits of the program are not reaped in the short-run, the company also takes in the risk of possible change in consumer taste before cost savings are realized. If in the long run, customers perceive that eco-friendly efforts are not important, then Kimpton runs the risk of not benefiting from its investment. Lastly, the Earth Care Program threatens the autonomy of local branches which can make employees hesitant in implementing changes.
What is the weakness of the Kimpton Hotel?
The autonomy of the branches of the Kimpton Hotel can be perceived both as a strength and weakness of the organization. On the positive side, the decentralized operation facilitates fast decision making and customization. However, Kimpton Hotel is having difficulty in implementing company-wide strategies because possible rejection from its branches. It should also be noted that as each hotel is unique, integrating them to join the Earth Care Program is quite hard. The difference in the values of each branch also makes it difficult for them to pursue a single strategy. What might work in a branch might not necessarily have the same effect on another.
Silverman, M &Thomas, T. 2005, “Kimpton Hotels: Balancing Strategy and Environmental Sustainability.” San Francisco State University, USA