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Corporate Sustainability

CS emerged from the broader discourse on sustainable development initially defined by the WCED in 1987 (Sharma and Henriques, 2005). CS is a company’s delivery of long-term value in financial, social, environmental and ethical terms. Following the WCED definition, CS was identified as a tridimensional construct encouraging firms to balance the triple bottom line in order to achieve long-term sustainability and social responsibility. CS extends the sustainable development definition appropriate in a corporate setting. In transferring the idea to the business level, Dyllick and Hockerts (2002, p. 131) describe CS as ‘meeting the needs of a firm’s direct and indirect stakeholders (such as shareholders, employees, clients, pressure groups, communities etc), without compromising its ability to meet the needs of future stakeholders’. CS suggests a parallel to the different dimensions of organizational culture (Schein, 2004) including the observable culture, espoused values and underlying assumptions. This case study on FHR will pay particular attention to the observable culture including the processes, partnerships and behaviours representative in sustainability efforts.

Some researchers, such as Holcomb et al. (2007), blur the meanings of CS with corporate responsibility and corporate social responsibility (CSR). However, Bansal and DesJardine (2014) suggest that businesses are either responsible or sustainable but not both. Montiel’s (2008, p. 22) analysis suggests that the ‘conceptualizations and measures of CSR and CS seem to be converging’. A convergence may create clarity for managers who are attempting to illuminate their sustainability goals.

de Grosbois’ (2012) research found that a growing number of hotels engage in sustainability related activities that are then communicated to customers and the general public. A few hotels have received recognition as being industry leaders in the area of CSR; for example, Scandic Hotels

(Bohdanowicz and Zientara, 2008), Hilton Hotels (Holcomb et al., 2007), Marriott Hotels and Accor (Holcomb et al., 2007). FHR has been recognized as a leader for being attentive to its environmental impact (Reid, 2006), and leads in the area of sustainability (Sloan et al., 2012). Many of the socially responsible practices implemented in hotels are in line with greening practices (Lee and Heo, 2009); common activities include encouraging guests to reuse their towels and bed sheets, conserve water and sensored lights. Such efforts may be recognized as mutually beneficial for the environment and hotel as there are typically cost savings associated with environmental conservation. However, there is a dearth of research to date that has explored the specific CS programmes of hotels.

Most contemporary managers recognize and accept CS as a necessary requirement for doing business (Holliday, 2001). CS is a journey requiring modification and improvement to internal activities, structure and management, and consideration as to how companies will both engage and empower stakeholders (including the environment) to contribute to sustainability (Lozano, 2013). Fostering partnerships with community stakeholders within the tourism industry can assist in the achievement of sustainable tourism goals and will be explored further in this chapter.

The discussion so far has provided evidence that the amount of theory development and research on CS in tourism is limited. Accordingly, a case study exploring the CS approach of FHR is appropriate. The case study is used as an example to highlight details of partnership programmes that facilitate IRT as a way to achieve sustainability goals. The chapter will now move on to discuss the case study methodology employed, followed by the presentation of the case study. The final section will discuss the main insights of the chapter, limitations and directions for future research.

 
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