5 sustainable actions for property management companies

Embed sustainability within your own business operations with these simple steps

Most vacation rental property managers know that they need to start on a sustainability strategy. However, understanding what practical actions could be taken can often be a blocker.

In this article we share five very easy sustainable actions which you can take within your own business operations. This is the best place to start as you can then move on to educate and inspire your owners based on your own experiences.

In addition to reducing your carbon emissions, you will also discover that many of these sustainable actions will save you money too.


1. Reduce business travel

Business travel could be one of your largest sources of carbon emissions. You may have heard of the 3 Scopes of your carbon footprint and business travel falls into Scope 3. This includes emissions which are generated by your customers, your suppliers and your staff. Consequently, these are your indirect emissions but you can still influence them, particularly when it comes to travel.

Your office staff

Firstly, you can look at the amount of business travel your office staff undertake. That will include travel to conferences, staff meetings as well as visiting destinations or owners. Investigate whether these trips all need to be done in person. Could they be done via video conferencing? Do so many staff need to attend? Can you combine a number of them? Such as attending a conference and holding other meetings in that destination. You may be able to make some financial savings here as well as carbon emissions.

Secondly, you could look at the mode of transport and consider more sustainable options. Are there alternatives to flying such as the train, particularly in countries where train travel is economic? If there are a number of your staff travelling to a meeting, could they hire an electric car or does one of your team drive one already?

Your in-property staff

A more complex issue is the travel of your staff between properties. However, it is always worth reviewing processes on a regular basis from an efficiency perspective. Are there ways you can streamline processes using technology like that offered by Doinn?

Household staff often get involved in doing minor property maintenance. Perhaps you can make their visits more productive without returns needed by installing monitoring equipment. Temperature can be monitored remotely without the need for a team member to visit to turn off the heating or air conditioning when a property is vacant. Lastly, online check-in is an easy way to reduce visits and is actually favoured by many guests.


2. Remove single use plastic and cut back on waste

This is one area which has so many benefits, both financial and environmental. Plus it is an area where you can engage your staff to be part of the challenge!

The effect of plastic on our oceans and marine life is well recognised by most people. In fact, it is near the top of the list for sustainability-related concerns for consumers. Many people already carry stainless steel water bottles and keep cups for hot drinks. However, your team may welcome a stylishly branded one gifted by your business which acts as a free ad for your brand when they are out and about! If you are in the luxury sector, you may even consider gifting them to your guests as well. As a result, you would be able to place a bulk order to bring the unit cost down.

A simpler, less expensive way is to ensure that your offices have a water machine so that employees can refill their own reusable water bottles.

When a lot of people think about sustainability, the first thing they mention is recycling. So, do make sure that this is happening in your offices. If this means  putting pressure on the office management company, you can always collaborate with other companies in the building. Then you need to help make it easy for your staff to actually recycle their waste. Make sure the recycling bins are visible (maybe using some fun stickers like Sustonica provides). Or how about showing some images of marine life in pristine seas to remind your team why we are all working hard to reduce single use plastic.

If you hold events or meetings where you provide catering, you have a great opportunity to donate your leftover food. You could partner with a local charity who supports individuals and families in need. You may even find a caterer who has a food waste donation scheme in place already.


3. Take a look at your website

When you think about your carbon footprint, your website is probably not something that comes instantly to mind. However the energy needed to power the internet (and subsequently your website) is not to be ignored.

Every time someone sends an email, looks at your website, downloads a pdf or streams some music, that is using electricity. Not to mention the energy needed to manufacture the device and the data centres that power the servers. According to recent reports over 5.35 billion people used the Internet in 2024. It is estimated that  internet use accounts for nearly 4% of global emissions, which is actually more than the 2.5% attributed to the aviation industry!

Consequently, making some changes to your website hosting and functionality can actually have a positive impact on your carbon footprint. It is actually very easy to check whether your hosting company is run on green energy. Just go to The Green Web Foundation website and put in your domain and they will tell you! If your hosting company is not green, you can talk to them direct or ask your website company to investigate further for you to make a switch.

The second sustainable action you can take is to look at the carbon intensity of your website and make some changes to improve it. Particularly, if you are already planning to have an update or rebrand. Here are some areas to consider:

  • Check that videos in particular and images are optimised for the web (this will also help the load speed of your pages, which is important for SEO)
  • Remove any unnecessary Javascript
  • Look at your use of white and blue which use higher energy – you may have noticed the greater use of dark modes accordingly
  • Check out your third party resources like plug-ins which can be energy intensive and slow down web pages
  • Improve and simplify the user experience to involve less clicks to find the information you want to lead them to
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) which means visitors are delivered content via a server which is closest to them

If your marketing team or inhouse web developer need help, talk to a specialist agency or get developer support.


4. Sustainable office supplies

A great place to start sustainable procurement is with your office supplies. With this as one of your sustainable actions, you will be able to expand some of these purchases into your properties. Here are three ideas:


Everyone needs a coffee to keep them going at work but have you thought about the environmental impact? Now it is true that the production of coffee creates more carbon emissions than the coffee capsule or filter. However, it is very difficult for you to have an influence over that. On the other hand, if you have a coffee machine like a Nespresso in your office, you will be able to find compostable capsules rather than aluminium. The latter can be recycled but it is an energy-intensive process. In addition, you could look for a fairtrade coffee supplier to ensure that the producers are fairly paid.

Toilet paper

Another everyday essential is toilet paper. Most of it is processed using chlorine, coloured with dyes and is often fragranced. It is easy to choose recycled paper rather than paper that may have come from an unsustainable source.

If you buy in bulk for your properties or recommend certain suppliers with special discounts to your owners, this is the time to make that known to your toilet paper supplier.

DID YOU KNOW? – Having recycled paper products in your properties can get you up to 2.75% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.

Why is it part of the criteria? While paper products generally have a small carbon footprint, collectively they are contributing to deforestation, global warming, and an ever increasing waste problem.

Energy tariff

Another of our recommended sustainable actions is to change your energy tariff to renewable energy. This is a simple question to your current provider to enquire about their green tariffs or researching a new supplier. Of course, if you own your properties, these can be part of the equation too.


5. Partner with a local charity

Sustainable actions are not all about the environment. Being involved in conservation and supporting local communities is an important part of your sustainability strategy. You will be showing that you care about the impact that tourism has on local people and protecting the natural world.

In order to choose which organisation or charity to support, you may want to consult your team. Alternatively, you may want to select a cause which is relevant to the destinations of your properties. For example, if you rentals are all in coastal locations, it could make sense to find a marine conservation charity to support. You could go even further by setting up a volunteering scheme for your staff which would allow them to volunteer in conservation or social projects. This type of sustainable action is usually well received by employees and is attractive to potential new recruits.

When it comes to choosing volunteer partners, again, you can consult your staff and choose opportunities which resonate with them or are relevant to your brand. This could involve something as simple as a beach clean-up or volunteering at a local food bank. These type of sustainable actions show that you are a caring company and that you want to give back as part of your business model.


With just three sustainable actions, you will see cost reductions, engagement from employees and be in a great position to start measuring your carbon footprint.


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