Free Essay On Sustainability Self Reflection
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Thinking, Business, Customers, Sustainability, Environmental Justice, Environment, Food, Supply Chain
Over the duration of this class, I have learned much about sustainability. I now understand the concept of sustainability, the practice to achieve sustainability and the concepts behind successful sustainability practices. Sustainability has practices both in my professional career and my personal lifestyle. When I first took the carbon footprint, I was surprised how high my score was compared to classmates. I knew that I would have to make some changes in my life to reduce the number. Realizing how I, as a single human, impact the environment has made me consider how a hospitality entity such as hotel or restaurant impact the environment.
Sustainability has become an operative word in the marketing of the tourism and hospitality industry. Corporate social responsibility is a concept that embraces sustainability and environmental concern. Corporate social responsibility is a philosophy that many companies are using to define themselves and their operations. The concept is that business exists to serve its stakeholders, not just to make a profit (Bohdanowicz and Zientara, 2008). This philosophy lends itself to a business practicing green procedures to limit their imprint on the environment. Stakeholders from the customer, employee and shareholders all benefit from this posture.
One of the concepts presented in class that really made me think about how to run a business that would leave less of an impact on the environment was the supply chain. Both as consumers and businesses, we really to realize how far away much of our food and durable goods are produced from us. The transportation of these items to local markets has a detrimental impact on the environment. In addition, the costs associated with transportation have greatly increased over the last few years due to the price of fossil fuels. According to Emerson (2012), gas prices and consumers good prices parallel each other. When prices for fuel rise so do the prices of other goods. It is not just the cost of transportation, fuel is required for the production and processing of food and goods as well.
One way to reduce the costs and reduce the carbon footprint of complicated supply chains is to purchase goods locally. Buying produce, meat and other goods that are grown and produced locally, consumers and businesses are cutting the long journey that is made to deliver goods from other geographic regions. Investigating suppliers and making informed choices is also important. Search out companies that have instituted corporate social responsibility that are related to the environment. Attempting to cut out middleman in purchasing of product and obtaining direct delivery would also reduce costs and fuel waste. By using local suppliers, management develops more personal relationships. These relationships ensure prompt and efficient customer service. This is a positive practice for businesses. Because the goods are available locally, long wait times for delivery should not be a problem.
On a personal level, I should visit farmer’s markets to buy locally grown food. In the grocery store, I should read labels and look to see where my food is coming from. Buying fresh food and preparing at home is not only healthier for my but it would decrease my carbon footprint if I avoid prepackaged and processed food. Purchasing goods that are manufactured in the region where I live strengthens the local economy and reduces my carbon footprint. Being aware of the traps and expenses associated with the complexities inherent in the supply chain makes for a savvy consumer and businessman.
The other concept that I found fascination in this course was linear and systems thinking.
Linear thinking is logical, rational and follows a sequence. It is most successful in situations where there is only on way to accomplish a task like changing the tire on your car. There is only one way to change a tire and the outcome must be a new tire in order to drive the car. Linear thinking does have its applications in some business situations where there is only one correct answer and this type of thinking will get you there. If a manager needs to purchase 500 new, white napkins for the dining room, he can call three suppliers and purchase the napkins from the cheapest one (Profitt, 2014).
Systems thinking takes into account all the parts of a model and the multitude of variables that will affect a decision. Systems thinking lends itself to managing a business. When a manager or executive is faced with making a decision, many variables must be considered: the shareholders, the board, the employees, government entities, the community and the customers. Considering the effect and its ripples on all of these groups requires intelligent, informed and sensitive decisions.
Systems thinking is the preferred style of thinking and management style when it comes to sustainability. Systems thinking drives the development of corporate and business philosophies and mission statements and is used to make day to day decisions. Invariably, dealing with and managing other humans requires systems thinking because humans are complex creatures. Managing and eco-friendly business is difficult and requires creativity. Seeking out resources and people to run a green business is not an easy proposition (Senterra, 2009).
In order for a business to practice effective and sound sustainability, sound investigation and research must performed. It is best to approach the matter as a team and gather various input and ideas. The team needs to be creative and resourceful to find solutions that would not only be sustainable practices but would increase profits and benefit all of the stakeholders involved. This type of strategy is a systems approach to problem solving and managing a successful enterprise.
Eco-friendly and sustainable business is in the spotlight. Consumers are seeking out business that mirror their own environmental concerns. Most travelers are very knowledgeable about these practices. Tourists travel to destinations to see and experience something new. Tourism businesses that are in touch with the local community and environment attract these visitors. Serving food from local farmers, spotlighting art work, furniture and linens from the local community, offering transportation that use alternative energy sources are very attractive to tourists. Green practices greatly impact the physical make up of a region by keeping landscapes cleaner and protecting local ecosystems. This is a tremendous draw for potential tourists.
Sustainability is good for business, its stake holders and the local ecosystem. Utilizing the concepts of reducing the supply chain and systems thinking makes for a smart manager, satisfied employees and shareholders and happy customers. In sum, these practices will also result in better profits.
I retook the carbon footprint quiz. I have made some small changes over the last couple of months. I am buying food from local farmers or from the immediate region. I have been avoiding buying prepackaged foods. I try to catch a ride with friends rather than drive myself to social engagements. I have become increasingly aware of electricity usage in my home. I remember to adjust my thermostat, and put on sweatshirt to stay warm when it is really cold out. I even bought a coffee cup from the coffee shop that is refilled every time I go rather than getting a new disposable cup each time I go. These are small steps, but they are steps in the right direction.
Bohdanowicz, P., & Zientara., P. (2008). Corporate Social Responsibility in Hospitality:
Issues and Implications. A Case Study of Scandic.” Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality,
8(4), 271-293. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
Emerson, L. (2012, March 12). Higher Gas Prices Affect Prices of Other Consumer Goods.
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