Griffith alumnus wins Banksia Foundation Small Business Award

Dr Christopher Warren with his Banksia Foundation award.

Dr Christopher Warren, a Griffith Institute for Tourismalumnus and co-founder of green holiday adviser ‘My Green Butler’, has been awarded the Banksia Foundation’s 2018 prestigious Small Business Award.

An innovative new service devised by Crystal Creek Meadows Luxury Cottages and Spa Retreat, of which Dr Warren is co-proprietor, My Green Butlerhelps tourist accommodation save resources, cut costs, cut pollution and increase guest satisfaction. The service was devised by this small business in Kangaroo Valley, NSW, and is already on trial in Australia and Europe.

Banksia judges said they chose this entry because it “was outstanding for its great leadership, to take on such a big role and create a big impact despite being only from a small business in tourism”.

“This business is producing a unique product with potential to have a real impact reducing the footprint of accommodation and has strong potential to go global,” they said.

My Green Butler applies smart technologies and persuasive communications to help people self-regulate consumption. The program combines host training, web app and guest engagement.

“Tourism is a major contributor to global carbon emissions and natural resource depletion, yet we are in the de-stress and happiness industry,” Dr Warren said. “So, we therefore must take serious innovative steps to change if we are to remain relevant to the changing social values of our guests and act responsibly to globally accepted science.”

My Green Butler evolved out of Dr Warren’s PhD research at Griffith University on how best to engage tourists to help hospitality become more sustainable. He believes that hospitality firms are under enormous pressure from rising costs, searching to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint and meet the escalating expectations of their guests.

“It is a very pressuring situation for business owners and managers, so I really think the time is right to apply genuine service innovations that give us win-win results for our sector,” he said. “The reason My Green Butler is particularly effective is that it has been devised by a small hotelier who understands the commercial constraints for hospitality.”

Dr Warren claims that his method to engage guests positively has the potential to save millions of kW of energy and litres of water without negatively affecting the guest’s stay.

The Banksia Foundation is a strong and expanding brand and its Awards program, the Banksia Sustainability Awards, are regarded as the most prestigious, longest-running sustainability awards in the world. Banksia Foundation’s 30th anniversary illustrates how the efforts and passion of so many individuals that have been a part of Banksia Foundation can make a difference in moving our society towards a more sustainable future.

“We are thrilled to have won this Banksia Award and are proud to participate alongside such talented and committed sustainability entrepreneurs from across Australia,“ Dr Warren said.

The Foundation has worked with governments, businesses and individuals over the past 30 years. The longevity of the Banksia Foundation Awards demonstrates that Australians are keen to innovate and move forward, with thousands of entries being received for the Banksia Foundation Awards in the past three decades.

Find out more about Banksia Foundation Awardshere.

Find out more about My Green Butlerhere.

Read about Crystal Creek Meadows’ 12 years of responsible tourism reporting here.