#55 |Resource Efficiency for Business – How to Reduce Costs & Environmental Footprints with Patricio Gonzalez Morel

In today’s episode, we turn the belief that sustainability is costly on its head as we discuss with Patricio Gonzalez Morel about the enormous potential for profitability of resource efficiency. 

Transforming energy use and reducing input materials can help businesses recover their investments up to 10,000 times. 

Can you believe it? The figures are true and Patricio shares with great detail how businesses in the hotel industry built impressive returns on investment (ROIs) and outperformed competitors by finding opportunities to cut waste and improve the efficiency of resource use. 

We’ll also discuss barriers such as the preconception that sustainability only pays off in the long term and ways to ease in practices that can save the company money at the same time as saving the planet. 

Now relax, play the full episode and prepare to be amazed!

What you’ll learn: 

●      What resource efficiency is and how it can save money

●      How businesses around the world have implemented cost-saving measures

●      How companies can better manage the transition to sustainability


00:52 Introducing Patricio

09:30 Why Patricio likes working with hotels

12:43 How to be a universal sustainability professional when the industries are so different

15:14 About working at a pineapple packing plant in Costa Rica

24:10 About resource efficiency at hotels

41:00 Why hotel managers don’t see what Patricio can see?

42:50 How the hotels that already are built can become more sustainable

51:50 Fundamental problems are the same everywhere

55:10 About transformation of the system

59:40 Why business people don’t use their opportunities

63:00 About the guest experience at sustainable hotels

58:00 Tackling resource efficiency issues and delegating

69:00 How the hotels can improve

73:40 The importance of staff commitment

75:40 A piece of advice from Patricio

Books & other resources mentioned:

Book: We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer

Quotes of the guest:

I worked in a lot of factories where you would be surprised to see how much stuff – almost finished products – gets wasted, almost uselessly.

I call it the curse of excess.

When you are in a factory where you are surrounded by millions of sausages, the sausages stop having value for you. So, if a few of them fall to the floor, you just don’t really think about it. And all of that is the loss of profit and it also just produces waste.

Very often you hear people and you hear politicians on television saying: “It’s impossible to invest too much in sustainability because it’s going to break the economy”.

I have to hold on to the chair to stop myself from falling over and I wonder – “Who advises these people?” How is it possible that something, which is not just good but enormously cost-effective, is widely viewed as a chore or obligation and not something that you do because it’s going to make you a lot of money?

When I started working in resource efficiency, it was confirmed to me on a daily basis that (…) we are just enormously wasteful. The thing I know for sure is that our businesses in general are nowhere close to being as frugal with their resources as they should. And then they end up paying a huge price for it. We pollute needlessly and they earn a lot less money.

If sustainability is not in your DNA, then find the information; if you don’t want to do it yourself, find someone that can help you in the process.

One piece of advice: 

Although there will likely be barriers in the transition to resource efficiency and other sustainability practices, businesses work towards at least three simple improvements on their journey.

First, the realization that the only constant in life and business is the change makes it easier to embrace both the uncertainty of the future and any needed change.

Since it will occur either way, isn’t it better to place yourself behind the wheels and guide the transformation?

Next, business managers need to realize the profitability potential of implementing more sustainable practices, such as those that limit resource and energy use and waste.

Saving costs is any company’s objective, thereby more effective operations make perfect financial sense. The key here is to discover the potential for more effective operations brought by sustainability models.

Finally, management will need to start dedicating time and other resources to identify issues and then implement solutions. Delegation can be key when it comes to sustainability. Whenever possible, place sustainability projects in the hands of people with enough drive and specialized capabilities to drive the best results.