Chattanooga, Tennessee’s sustainability-certification program for hotel and tourism accommodation has become the first such U.S.-based program to win Green Globe Certified status.
After extensive auditing of the program, Green Globe International, Inc., the worldwide owner of the Green Globe brand, has certified the Greater Chattanooga Hospitality Association’s (GCHA’s) Chattanooga Green Lodgings Program.
“The Chattanooga Green Program is the first U.S. based program to be fully recognized by Green Globe,” says Guido Bauer, CEO of Green Globe Certification. “All hotels certified under the Chattanooga Green Program will automatically receive Green Globe Certified status.”
GCHA member Tom Cupo proposed the Chattanooga Green Lodging Program in the fall of 2008 and continued to develop the program until its recent roll-out. “Our Green Lodging Program encourages hotels, bed and breakfasts, other lodging facilities and restaurants to be aware of their impact on the environment and to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint while enhancing the overall sustainability of their operations,” says Cupo.
“Our goal was to provide a program to enable participants to conserve and protect our greatest natural resources for our residents and visitors,” says Andrea Anderson, GCHA’s president. “In addition, this program will attract environmentally responsible partners, and contribute to operating our hotels more efficiently and cost-effectively.”
Certification to the Chattanooga Green/Green Globe program requires audited performance in five core areas of energy, water and resource conservation, plus a written plan for further improvement. Hotels may also note sustainable practices that go beyond the core requirements.
“Green Lodging compliance offers clear advantages to the Chattanooga community,” says Jim Frierson, vice chair of the Chattanooga Green Team. “The environmental impacts of many of these actions are measurable, with individual results aggregating to a larger number and counting towards our overall goal of sustained carbon reduction. That’s the kind of voluntary private sector leadership we need to make significant strides.”
To date, the program has awarded its ‘Certified Green Property’ status to two Chattanooga hotels ― The Chattanoogan, at 1201 South Broad Street; and The Doubletree, at 407 Chestnut Street. Both were certified after independent third-party auditing of their performances in the program’s five core areas by Skye Con Environmental, a tourism- and accommodation-industry environmental consulting firm.
“Green Globe International is recognized worldwide as the premier certifying organization for hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions,” says Dobbin Callahan, president of Skye Con. “Recognition … provides absolute credibility for the Chattanooga program.”
The Green Globe brand and program traces its roots to the United Nations Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992, where 182 heads of state endorsed an agenda that set down 21 principles of sustainable development. Green Globe certification has primarily been used to date in the travel and tourism industry but is now being expanded to include a growing number of environmentally responsible businesses in a variety of market sectors.