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Sustainable Spa Association finds 33 per cent of spa businesses contribute to UN’s 17 SDGs

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Sustainability can be embedded in spa businesses for their long term progress and success
– Lucy Brialey

According to a recent survey conducted by The Sustainable Spa Association (SSA), just 33 per cent of spa businesses contribute towards the United Nations’ 17 SDG Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs are included in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed by 193 states, which provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

The results follow the SSA’s first survey in 2020 which received responses from 203 participants in 44 countries.

Questions explored a number of ways in which spa businesses have been contributing to sustainability, including people, policies, energy, water and waste protocols.

Respondents were asked about the current level of understanding of environmental sustainability, attitudes towards and the important places on sustainable business practice, current levels of implementation, key drivers and obstacles.

Results showed that the biggest obstacle that prevents sustainable practices in spas is difficulty finding suppliers with sustainable values (26 per cent).

The next most popular answers were not sure where to start (16 per cent), lack of education for spa teams (14 per cent), too much conflicting information (nine per cent), difficulty engaging teams (five per cent), lack of time (five per cent) and it’s too big a task (5 per cent).

“Sustainability can be embedded in spa businesses for their long term progress and success,” commented SSA co-founder Lucy Brialey.

“Yes, sustainability is predominately about environment credentials but also strengthens business credibility and transparency. It’s a healthy message that can be communicated to investors, spa professionals and guests in a way that shows commitment and quality assurance.”

Encouragingly, 84 per cent of respondents adopt energy-efficient practices, 75 per cent use energy from renewable sources, 76 have a water-saving and reduction strategy and 59 per cent have plastic reduction goals.

The survey response has helped the organisation identify key drivers to make sustainability an integral part of more spa business’ culture, including a specific focus on how to measure and improve sustainable practice and providing accessible team education.

The findings have informed the SSA about how to best shape its direction for 2021.

This has led to an action plan with plans to work on the following:

– Accessible membership and education– Recognised and trusted accreditation for spas

– Diplomas in spa sustainability for teams and management– UN’s 17 SDGs becoming naturally applied to spas

– Water, waste and energy management – Emphasising the importance and an awareness of humanity, health and environment.

In addition, the SSA will launch two campaigns in 2021 to keep momentum behind the spa industry’s journey towards sustainability, including an educational #spawastenotchallenge in April and an initiative about pledging to reduce less single-use plastic that will run until 2024.

To download a full copy of the report and find out more, head to this link.

About the SSA

The SSA launched in August 2020, co-founded by Brialey, former group head of spa for Aspria, and Robert Cooper, MD of eco-towelling company, Scrummi Spa.

The SSA has received backing from influential industry figures in sustainability as founding partners and members of its board of directors, including Studio Apostoli’s Alberto Apostoli and Tracey Brasenell – country manager of [Comfort Zone], as well as British textile supplier Scrummi Spa.

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According to a recent survey conducted by The Sustainable Spa Association (SSA), just 33 per cent of spa businesses contribute towards the United Nations’ 17 SDG Development Goals (SDGs).
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