Six prominent North America spas are forming a network dedicated to bringing environmentally sustainable operating practices to the burgeoning spa industry. A much-needed resource for the spa community, the Green Spa Network seeks to help spas and spa professionals reap the financial and social benefits from implementing environmentally friendly business practices. The intention of the organization is to synergise greening efforts among network members as a way to support spas in reducing their ecological impact, while improving energy efficiencies and reducing operational costs.
With nearly 14,000 facilities generating $9.7 billion in annual revenues, spas are a leading leisure industry and naturally suited to be at the forefront of the green movement. According to longtime spa expert and founder of Spectrec, Janice Gronvold, “From day spas to destination resorts, the industry typically utilizes environmental resources for a myriad of water-based treatments, laundry services, pools, verdant landscaping, and golf courses, making it a major consumer of water, energy, and precious natural resources.” Adopting green practices not only reduces environmental impact, but also supports spa marketing programs, raises environmental awareness among guests, and contributes to spa financial performance. “Conservation is clearly a competitive edge,” says Gronvold.
The Green Spa Network’s inaugural program is being conducted in collaboration with one of the country’s leading environmental management firms, Natural Logic, Inc. Each Seed Spa has committed to an in-depth environmental assessment and action plan that will provide them with the expertise to assist other spas interested in joining the Network. The opportunity remains for a few more spas to become members of the founding group.
The founding Seed Spas of the Green Spa Network will meet in Monte Rio, California on April 27-29, together with the organizers of the association, to discuss their eco-assessments and plan the next phase of their collaboration.
Future Green Spa Network projects will be aimed at providing resources for the spa community as a whole and will include: the release of a “Green Spa Toolkit;” an annual meeting to exchange ideas on greening; and an Internet-forum to foster collaboration among spas seeking to green their operations.
According to new GSN Seed Spa member and Auberge Resorts Vice President of Spa Development, Tracy Lee, “At Auberge Resorts, we are committed to more than creating exceptional spas and unparalleled service. Our vision includes going beyond the bottom line to support the environment, our community and guest needs. Membership in the GSN gives us satisfaction, knowing we’re part of a high-impact association that is transforming the spa industry.”
GSN founding Seed Spa, Osmosis, has already completed an eco-assessment and is in the process of implementing a suite of eco-friendly programs. These include: an innovative energy system that will significantly reduce heating and cooling costs; a “worm-bin compost” especially prepared for worms to eat organic garbage including paper and food waste; and a Green Spa Experience that utilizes organic therapies to re-connect guests with the natural world. “Osmosis sees its ongoing greening process as an important first step in shifting the image of a spa visit away from one of merely pampering indulgence to an all-encompassing, holistic experience, grounded in wellness for our guests and for the planet,” says GSN seed spa member and Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary Founder Michael Stusser.
The concept of the GSN began over four years ago when a group of spa leaders met to explore ways to encourage sustainability in the industry. In 2004, the 2,800-member International Spa Association established the Sustainability Taskforce, bringing exposure to greening issues via conference speakers, trade magazine articles, and green listings on their website. Several members of the taskforce realized that sustainability within the industry needed pragmatic guidance on best practices through assessments and experienced supervision. Thus, the GSN was formed.
The Green Spa Network is registered as a “not-for-profit trade organization” and operates as a grassroots collective. GSN is fully committed to empowering the broader community of spa owners, operators, employees, contract practitioners, spa guests, and consultants, all of whom support the industry’s growth and are in a position to create a groundswell of interest in adopting Earth-friendly practices.