The Greener Business Asia Project aims to promote capacity building and demonstrate a model of worker-employer cooperation to achieve greener and better workplaces and sustainable enterprises.
In Thailand, the project works in the tourism sector, with a focus on hotels. Tourism is a key contributor to Thailand’s economy and a large employment provider. At the same time it has severe environmental impacts and the sector often presents challenging worker-employer relations. Changes in the current way of doing business are essential to the long term sustainability of the sector.
The Greener Business Asia project is piloting a program of training and advisory services for hotels that equip workers and management with tools and knowledge resources to establish mechanisms of cooperation and jointly effect positive changes in their workplaces and enterprises.
The pilot program was launched in Phuket on October 7 2011, in a session co-hosted by the Phuket Chamber of Commerce. The workshops have run between October 10 and October 25 2011 (two remaining elective sessions are scheduled for November) and have been organized in collaboration with the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism of the Prince of Songkla University.
The program is comprised by three days of core training and six elective thematic sessions. In the course of the training participants were introduced to key principles of workplace cooperation and worker-employer relations, learnt to use tools for continuous improvement and joint problem solving, explored options to increase resource efficiency and environmental problems in hotel operations (with an emphasis on energy, water and waste management) and developed basic knowledge to address key health and safety concerns in their workplaces.
The training drew participants that ranged from hotel owners, to workers from the housekeeping departments, to HR managers and hotel engineers, who actively discussed and worked together with great motivation and commitment.
The program resulted in the development of Green Improvement Plans by the participants from each hotel and the establishment of joint worker-management teams responsible to implement the actions set out in the plans. It succeeded in helping participating enterprises set out on a path towards improvement in their environmental, labour and business practices through mechanisms of workplace cooperation.
The feedback and lessons learnt from the pilot exercise will serve to consolidate and finalise a package of training materials and technical resources that can be easily tapped to promote sustainable enterprises in the hotel sector.