Hotels may be going green, but there is a rather large divide between those who say they want to live sustainably and those who actually do so when they're in a hotel room. According to an analysis of a J.D. Power and Associates North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, of 90% of hotel guests who were offered the chance to do something sustainable during their stays, two-thirds participated. Guests reported that they felt better when participating in sustainability programs, though some guests want little luxuries such as the use of a clean towel each day instead of reusing their linens.
To improve CSR, companies should stage frank discussion sessions and employee-engagement programs in which workers are encouraged to thrash out their differences, writes Kathleen Miller. "The process of engaging with the conflicts rather than suppressing them somewhat paradoxically enables the organization to focus on the 'higher good' and execute sustainable strategies more successfully," she writes.
China's vast "Great Green Wall" reforestation program -- potentially the largest ecological restoration project ever undertaken -- is getting mixed marks from scientists and conservation groups. While the country has been staving off desertification by increasing forest cover annually by 11,500 square miles, the long-term survival of fast-growing tree species might not be sustainable. Plantings have failed because they "are not native to the region, and don't tolerate local conditions," said David Shankman, a geographer at the University of Alabama.
There's no reason for buildings today to not be energy-efficient, says Mario Seneviratne, a Dubai-based engineer responsible for the first green building in the United Arab Emirates. Natural daylight, efficient electrical systems and other components should be universal, he argues. "By now we should stop talking about green buildings. All our buildings should be green," Seneviratne says, adding that "cost-effective measures" and "return on investment" justify the effort.
Nearly half of surveyed consumers say companies' green efforts play a part in purchasing decisions, yet only 21% say they have picked one product over another because of environmental claims, according to a study. The disconnect means consumers are confused about what "green" really means when it comes to product marketing.