Listen: Hospitality’s Cultural Shift Toward Sustainability with Jeanne Varney, a lecturer for Cornell University


There is a recent cultural shift towards going green and being more sustainable, with innovation occurring from the top-down. Jeanne Varney, a lecturer at Cornell University, explains how that as affected the hospitality industry, with processes directly in the hands of the consumer and guest.


“I think certainly with the advent of social media, global awareness, and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and all kinds of other activities in the arena of sustainability, we have a much more uniformed approach to how as an industry we are sending strategies and dealing with different issues related to sustainability,” Varney said.


Sustainability is very broad and has evolved to not only include the environment, but social equity, national prosperity, and corporate responsibility as well. With more emphasis on responsibility and personal accountability, there are specific issues hotels face with being sustainable.


“There are a few areas that really sort of drive the industry. There’s some big obvious ones like energy, waste, and the food and beverage perspective,” Varney said. “With energy, we have a lot of really great, smart, and innovative manufacturers that help us automate a lot of our controllables. From a food and beverage perspective, buying locally and trying to force your food ingredients closer to the consumers and that is something our food production industry is helping hotels with by making more available and helping us sort of understand how to get access to these resources that are more local.”


However, one of the biggest issues with hotels is that a lot of the fixing of energy, waste, and food consumption falls in the hands of the guests at the hotel. Finding a balance of keeping sources low on their end and also worrying about how the guests behave makes sustainability even more difficult.


“We sort of have to work behind the scenes to minimize that guest impact. Most of the time, guests will generally be responsible in their activities and not leave the lights on in the room when they leave. But if they do, we want to have those efficient bulbs on site, aerators in the sinks, and digital control over the thermostats.”


Although the balancing act among hotel staff and its guests is difficult, improvements and evolution is general society’s care for the environment has helped with the hospitality industry’s sustainable efforts.


“We are absolutely seeing a shift in customer demands as the general public has become far more educated related to their own personal footprints and impacts on the environment,” Varney said. “And the interesting thing as well about the evolution of the customer is you really can’t do just one activity anymore and call yourself a green hotel. So really sustainability now is not just about the environment, but it’s about a collected effort to run responsible businesses.”

For more information about Cornell log on to

For the latest news, videos, and podcasts in the Hospitality Industry, be sure to subscribe to our industry publication.

Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!
Twitter –
Facebook –
LinkedIn –

Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!



Next generation of security solutions
The Future of Security: Discovering the Next Generation of Security Solutions at ISC West
April 23, 2024

The recently concluded International Security Conference & Exposition West 2024 (ISC West) proved to be an indispensable platform for discovering the next generation of security solutions, providing attendees with invaluable insights into the future of the industry. At a recent episode of MarketScale’s roundtable show Experts Talk, Cathal Walsh, Vice President and Chief Security […]

Read More
Cyber Resilience: To Protect Corporate Assets, Businesses Must Invest in Cybersecurity Training
April 23, 2024

As cyberattacks occur at increasing frequency, cybersecurity has become a cornerstone of corporate security strategies across all sectors. With businesses increasingly reliant on digital infrastructures, the quality of a company’s cybersecurity training is no longer just an operational requirement — it is a strategic asset. The stakes are high, as a breach can lead […]

Read More
Forming Relationships with Industry Insiders Can Quell Sales Cycles and their Length of Time
April 23, 2024

New companies are facing more and more challenges in the security industry as sales cycles are experiencing lengthier times. One of those reasons is due to the complexity of the security industry itself, along with the unique and special business models every new company will come in with. But there is a solution to […]

Read More
Cyber-first approach
From Bollards to Bytes: Why Security Firms Need to Adopt a Cyber-First Approach
April 23, 2024

How can the security industry effectively navigate the shift from traditional physical security measures to adopting a cyber-first approach in its sales and integration strategies? The transition from physical to digital security solutions was a major theme at the International Security Conference & Exposition West 2024 held earlier this month. On a recent episode of […]

Read More