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Sustainable spas: what’s the status?

salthouse-outdoor-bathing sustainable spa

At the start of the year, the Sustainable Spa Association issued a report discussing sustainability in the spa industry to date. While it’s an ongoing evolution encompassing a variety of different elements, sustainability is increasingly important for us all - as consumers and as businesses, and spas and hotels are doing their best to take the initiative and improve their eco friendly status. So what did the report show?

What was the sustainable spa report based on?

The report looked at 203 spa participants across 44 countries and based their questions on the principle of triple bottom line reporting. That’s to say, elements that fell into one of the following categories:

  • People: This will commonly involve setting targets and reporting regularly on the impact of the business and everyone connected to it.
  • Planet: The triple bottom line encourages businesses to think about their environmental footprint. Not only is ‘going green’ the most ethical way to run a business, but it could also reduce costs in the long run.
  • Profit: Profit is important for all businesses, but the triple bottom line approach doesn’t view it as isolated from either “people” or “planet.” In other words, profit can help to empower communities as a whole and benefit the environment.

What were the findings?

While you can obviously drill down into information to get a much more detailed impression of who’s doing what, why and when, there were a few broad trends that give a helpful insight into the trajectory of the spa industry when it comes to sustainability.

Circular economy:

  • 42% were aware of the concept
  • 36% believe their business contributes back to a circular economy

The spa industry is uses many resources such as natural, organic and synthetic materials, technical equipment, water and energy to name but a few and generates large volumes of waste. Waste reduction in the spa industry is welcomed by our professionals and consumers alike. It helps businesses and individuals to work towards reducing consumption and waste, saving lost profits and working towards achieving a number of UN SDG’s.

Current actions being taken for a sustainable spa industry:


  • 81% have a waste management protocols
  • 58% monitor and record waste types with reduction goals
  • 59% have plastic reduction goals


  • 79% monitor and record water consumption
  • 76% have water saving and reduction strategy


  • 84% have energy-efficient practices
  • 82% monitor and record energy consumption
  • 62% use energy from renewable sources
  • 32% purchase carbon credits

The role of the spa industry in sustainability going forward

The Sustainable Spa Association felt that the spa industry has an important and promising role to play in sustainability going forward. Key beliefs include:

  • The global spa industry is in a position to become a leader in the field of sustainability alongside the likes of travel, fashion and food.
  • Sustainability is about environmental credentials but also strengthens business credibility and transparency.
  • With our industry values in wellbeing, sustainability fits. It can be embedded in spa businesses for their long term progress and success.

To find a spa that’s recognised for its sustainable activities, look out for the ‘sustainable spa’ icon on listings.


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