Creating a Butterfly Effect: Sharing Sustainability Lessons to Inspire Change
Jetwing Hotels is leading the topic of sustainable hospitality in Sri Lanka.
- If you are working on implementing sustainability practices, you can amplify your positive impact by sharing your own experiences and lessons with others.
- Inter-departmental collaboration (for example, the sustainability team working with the marketing department) is key to successful execution of a campaign / initiative.
- The most important success factor of any sustainability effort is having sustainability as a core part of the business identity, which enables internal support for sustainability initiatives, and allows for effective engagement of external audiences.
Sharing Sustainability Experiences and Lessons
The ‘Butterfly Effect’ theorizes that small, localized changes can lead to larger impacts elsewhere.
With this concept in mind, Jetwing Hotels, a sustainable hospitality leader in Sri Lanka, has focused on sharing on-the-ground information and experiences – both successes and failures – with others. This helps create a dialogue with other individuals and corporations on sustainability.
By communicating about its own experiences operating a responsible business, Jetwing seeks to inspire wider change in the industry, and to encourage others to learn from Jetwing’s sustainability journey over the last 40+ years, building harmonious relationships with both the local environment and people.
Jetwing has already created some butterfly-effect impacts, as other companies have been inquiring about sustainability practices, and about opportunities to collaborate for greater good.
While the main aim of Jetwing’s Butterfly Effect initiative is to educate and inspire others in the industry to become more sustainable, it has also supported the company’s efforts to to leverage sustainability in business as a marketing advantage.
Roles of Marketing in Sustainability Communication
Jetwing Hotels’ Butterfly Effect initiative has been built by the company’s Sustainability Team, in collaboration with the marketing department.
The Sustainability Team working closely with the marketing department has led to, for example, sustainability-related content and messages receiving higher prominence on the company’s various social media channels, as well as on/offline internal communications at the corporate- and hotel-levels.
The company-wide sustainability-marketing collaboration also enhanced the performance of Jetwing’s sustainability communications, helping further its position as a premier, sustainable hotel chain in Sri Lanka.
One of the key challenges in communicating sustainability in general is the complex nature of the language often used, given the subject matter. Although accuracy and credibility are critical, it is also important that messages around sustainability are simplified and made accessible to reach a broader audience.
On the other hand, any marketing efforts related to sustainability must also ensure that there is no green-washing. Today’s travelers are aware and have access to information. If the image portrayed and the actual experience do not match, they will not only notice such discrepancies, but also are likely to talk about it (or even share with others online).
Key Success Factors
One of the key factors that has contributed to the success of Jetwing Hotels’ Butterfly Effect initiative is the fact that sustainability has always been part of the company ethos.
As such, ensuring the support and buy-in of the senior management and corporate leadership has been smooth and straightforward. And this leads to the most important sustainability success factor: Sustainability efforts need to be genuine, and be part of the business identity – not just an add-on.