Green issues are never far from the business agenda, as our recent updates on energy performance certificates and eco-tourism show, but should you invest in your physical assets to improve their greener sustainability?
In the leisure industry going green is often seen as a trade off against quality. Yet it is possible to take measures that don't leave your guests feeling they're making all the sacrifices.
Here are some examples from the hotel industry where green investment is making an immediate difference to guests, owners and operators alike:
•Accor Hotels reduced energy use at the Pullman Sydney Olympic Park by 40% using solar panels and plans to fit solar systems to 100 of its new properties by 2010
•Whitbread's Premier Inn in Staffordshire has incorporated ground source heat pump technology that achieves 80% savings when compared to traditional fossil fuel heating
•Hilton Hotels has installed waterless urinals in some properties, targeting annual water savings of 40,000 gallons a year for each unit
Other industries are also working hard on the green agenda. A notable example is the Green Blue initiative between the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine Federation to promote greener recreational boating.
However the question remains - will a green investment pay off monetarily? While it is impossible to suggest benchmarks for investment returns, banks are already asking us, as valuers, to consider the environmental sustainability of businesses.
Those demonstrating greater awareness are likely to see better long term performance as energy and waste costs are minimised and customers make more informed choices.
By investing now you may not immediately see a corresponding increase in the value of your business but the future sustainability of your income streams and growth will progressively become more important.
As will customer perception of your greening initiatives. These may be regarded currently as a cynical marketing ploy rather than a real change for the better so it's important to demonstrate visibly the benefits of your investment.
If you have installed wind turbines at your marina or leisure park, for instance, then use meters to show the electricity generated and returned to the grid, or the savings in CO2 being produced.