Hotels' environmental management systems (ISO 14001): creative financing strategy

Wilco W. Chan (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong)
Kenny Ho (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Publication date: 1 June 2006



Environmental concerns have been increasing in the travel industry. However, most hotels are unwilling to develop an international environmental management system (EMS) probably due to a lack of resources and knowledge. In order to encourage more organizations to take part in the EMS, three cases adopting international EMS are investigated to ascertain the ways to support the formation of EMS. Based on their experience, hoteliers are encouraged to team up with green members to apply for research funding for the investigation and implementation of EMS. Also, “energy performance contracting” methods to finance environmental improvement projects in hotels were also discussed.


A single case study approach was adopted to illustrate the differences in the resources mobilization for setting EMS in these three hotels. A search of documentary evidence and interviews with hotel staff was the main instrument for data collection.


The Shangri‐la Hotel used its own resources to set up its EMS and strategically used its developed template for other hotels in the group to follow. The other two hotels, Nikko and Grandstanford, adopted a creative and “non‐balance sheet” approach to mobilize resources for the formation of EMS. Both hotels have recourse to external resources including a university's engineering department, hotel management school, green bodies, government funds and trade associations to develop and implement the EMS. The study further identified energy performance contracting as another promising financing tool for the implementation of the energy‐related part of the EMS.

Research limitations/implications

The representative and general nature of the findings are limited to large hotels in metropolitan areas, as the three case hotels are located in the metropolis of Hong Kong.

Practical implications

The findings provide informative details on how to secure external resources to set up internationally recognized environmental management systems and the safe way for hotel operators to trial use energy‐saving facilities.


This study provides indications and details on some creative financing techniques for setting up EMS in hotels. These financial strategies are the first of their kind in print and can serve as a useful reference for hotels to develop international EMS.



Chan, W. and Ho, K. (2006), "Hotels' environmental management systems (ISO 14001): creative financing strategy", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 302-316.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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