Investigating the factors for achieving and encouraging environmental certification: Driving and restraining forces

Published in: Research in Hospitality Management
Volume 8, issue 2, 2018 , pages: 143–154
DOI: 10.1080/22243534.2018.1553385
Author(s): Stephanie M. E. ChingStenden Hotel Management School, The Netherlands, Elena CavagnaroStenden Hotel Management School, The Netherlands


Environmental sustainability has increasingly become a priority for organisations. However, the public and academic attention is generally on large companies, while small and medium enterprises constitute the bulk of organisations and are arguably lagging behind. Fewer than ten per cent of total environmental certifications are awarded to small hotels. This lack of attention represents an opportunity to investigate small hotels and how to increase certification numbers. On the basis of existing literature, three overreaching factors that hold managers back from achieving certification were individuated: motivations, personal values, and barriers. To explore whether these factors play a role in small hotels too, semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten hotel managers/owners in the Netherlands. The findings include the discovery of three new barriers: other priorities, negative views regarding certification, and building restrictions. More specifically, findings suggest that hoteliers do not proceed with certification because they perceive it as unambitious and meaningless, and thus not worth the effort. Simultaneously, managers seem to have a limited understanding of the scope and depth of existing certification. This study provides certifying organisations an insight into small hotel managers’ viewpoints; information that can be used to better reach this important target group.

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