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Sustainability & Wellness Council

Mission Statement

The Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association’s Sustainability & Wellness Council was created to advance the awareness and adoption of sustainable & wellness practices by providing guidance, expertise and resources to Association members. The Council also works to increase visibility of members' sustainability practices in domestic and international markets to promote the Miami hospitality industry’s image.

Council Members

Nancy Scanlon

Council ChairPhD CHE, Associate Professor; School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, FIU

Peggy Benua

Council Co-Chair, General Manager; Dream South Beach

Vivian Belzguy

Director of Sustainability, Ultra Music Festival & Ascendance Sustainable Events

Charlotte Prescott

Director of Spa & Fitness; Fisher Island Club

Wendy Kallergis

President & CEO; Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association

Rolando Aedo

Chief Operating Officer: GMCVB

Tony Brown

Director of Engineering, CHFE; Trump National Doral Miami

Flavia Tonioli

Senior Management Consultant; Arcadis

Pred Vaskrsich

VP of Engineering
Atlantis Bahamas

Alena Stavnjak

Director of Spa and Retail; 1 Hotel South Beach​

Marta Marello, Envision SP, LEED Green Associate

Building and Energy Analyst, Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience

Vivianne Garcia-Tunon

Principal; Wonder Flower

Allen Susser

Sustainable Culinary Director; Chef Allen's Consulting

Jon Paul "J.P." Brooker

Director of Florida Conservation for Ocean Conservancy

TammySustainable headshot template

Tammy Pahel

VP of Spa & Wellness Operations; Carillon Miami Wellness Resort

Ariane MBCC

Ariane Hiltebrand

Director of Marketing & External Relations;  Miami Beach Convention Center

Hannah McDougall 2

Hannah McDougall
Director of Communications; Pelican Harbor Seabird Station

S. Pallot

Suzanne Pallot
Principle; Source Miami, Event Services


2.1.2023 SWC Group Picture

GMBHA Sustainable Hospitality Council Meeting

Carillon Wellness Resort Miami


American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)

Our national partner, the AHLA, has generated a minimum set of guidelines for going Green. To learn more, please visit the AHLA website.

Plastic Free MB

Plastic Free Miami Beach


#PlasticFreeMB is aimed to showcase businesses that have taken action to reduce plastics from their establishments and to help organizations learn and implement best practices in the area of environmental stewardship. To learn more, please visit the PlasticfreeMB page.

Sustainability & Wellness News and Updates

Why is COP26 important?
Council Chair, Nancy Scanlon, PhD, Professor at FIU shares her thoughts below on the importance of COP26 within the hospitality industry:
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Nancy Scanlon, Council ChairPhD CHE, Associate Professor; School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, FIU
" The importance of COP26 for the hospitality industry is the reinforcement of a global commitment to reducing carbon emissions. The major global lodging companies have generally committed to a 30% reduction in Carbon Emissions by 2030, detailed in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports and pages on their web sites. In particular, Marriott International, Hilton International and Accor provide an overview of the impact of the global efforts by lodging companies. Currently Marriott International Hotels has a global presence in 138 countries with 7,700 hotels across 30 hotel brands  and a loyalty program numbering 150 million members. Hilton International offers 18 brands in 119 countries with 1,019,287 hotel rooms in 6,478 hotels. Accor is present in 110 countries with 5,200 hotels representing 762,100 hotel rooms in 30 brands. Together these three major global hospitality companies represent a significant view of what the impact of combined 30% carbon emissions reduction efforts can achieve. On September 22nd, Marriott International announced that it has set a target to reach net-zero value chain green house gas emissions no later than 2050. All 3 hospitality companies have made a very clear and purposeful commitment to reducing the overall environmental impact of their hotel operations across the globe.
COP26 provides the lodging industry with a validation of their commitments to reduce carbon emissions and the impacts to the financial market and customers. Investors looking for companies that evidence the results of sustainability and environmental efforts will find such in the corporate social responsibility reports of these three global hospitality leaders. Marriott International has a loyalty program numbering over 150 million members. Loyal customers who want sustainability programs evidenced by the hotels in which they stay are a force that cannot be overlooked. The outcomes of COP26 will reinforce customer commitment to sustainability.
The attention to COP26 and commitments to further reduce carbon emissions by the attending countries will support the efforts of the hospitality industry and help companies to justify further investments and efforts in achieving published goals. The impacts of a global pandemic and devastating climate change related weather events are illustrating to the world that there is a force of nature that must be addressed in how we responsibly operate businesses as members of the global community. "

How AIRIE Champions Everglades Conservation Through Art And Diversity


GMBHA Congratulates City of Miami Beach Achieving LEED Gold Certification

The Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association congratulates the City of Miami Beach on being awarded the ‘LEED for Cities Gold Certification’. The City of Miami Beach is one of only some 110 local governments worldwide to achieve this certification. The Sustainability and Wellness Council of the GMBHA applauds the efforts of our very own council members Elizabeth Wheaton, Environment and Sustainability Director, City of Miami Beach and Flavia Tonioli, Sustainability Manager, City of Miami Beach.  This prestigious award has been achieved in large part by their efforts to guide the City of Miami Beach through rigorous sustainability efforts and LEED guidelines. Many City of Miami Beach hotels have contributed to this effort such as the LEED certified 1 Hotel Miami Beach and Florida Green Lodging Palm Certified Dream Miami Beach. GMBHA Sustainability and Wellness Council council members Brian Lomel PA, and Jason Hagopian AIA are both LEED AP certified and work with City of Miami Beach businesses and homeowners in achieving LEED standards. The efforts of The City of Miami Beach to achieve this LEED award further ensures the continued well being of the key attractions for visitors to the Miami Beaches and the sustainability of the Miami Beach experience.


Learn more here:

Keep Fertilizer at Bay, Not in the Bay.

Beautiful and serene, Biscayne Bay provides recreational, cultural, and economic well-being for our entire community. To help keep the bay healthy and pristine, the City of Miami Beach has prohibited the use of fertilizer application from June 1 through November 1.  Show your bay some love. Ditch the fertilizer.


For information on fertilizer application outside of the restricted period visit


Vizcaya Museum unveils new flood mitigation system from GMBHA member US Flood Control ahead of hurricane season.

GMBHA Corporate Responsibility Event 5.10.2018
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GMBHA Wellness & Sustainabilty Panel 9.17.2019

Florida Green Lodging

The Florida Green Lodging Program is a voluntary initiative of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that designates and recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources. The program’s environmental guidelines allow the hospitality industry to evaluate its operations, set goals and take specific actions to continuously improve environmental performance. Learn more about Florida Green Lodging Program.

Apply now:

Justification for Beach Renourishment

The Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association and our Sustainability and Wellness Council supports consistent beach re-nourishment initiatives. Tourism in Greater Miami is dependent on the quality of our beaches. “Miami Beach” has historically been a destination which tourists see as reaching up the ocean coastline to include Bal Harbour and Sunny Isles. 65% of all overnight visitors to Greater Miami are here for vacation with a beach experience as a main focus of their visit. Keeping our beaches in the best condition possible to meet visitor expectations is critically important to the economic success of tourism in Sunny Isles and the surrounding Greater Miami communities.


SHC Tip Corner

Cecile's Tips

Cecile Raubenheimer, Director of Culture & Entertainment, The Miami Beach EDITION & Co-Founder Evolve Media serves on the GMBHA Sustainability Committee and has over 15 years of hospitality experience working for hotel entities in New York, Bahamas and Miami. Her passion for travel led to hosting shows for NBC, AWE Network and Travel Channel and her directorial debut with her first social impact documentary, Path to Purpose. An avid adventurer, she is committed to environmental preservation and is an active member of the Surfrider Foundation.

This year has proved to be a challenging one for our world. From Beijing to Budapest, Cape Town to Cairo and Manila to Miami, no city has been immune to the COVID-19 Pandemic that has rocked our world. A year filled with uncertainty, economic instability and anxiety. A year of challenges and unfamiliar terminology where social distancing, personal protective equipment and new normal are words that have taken on an entirely new meaning. Our existence has been living with the focus to keeping ourselves and others safe through the wearing of face masks, utilizing hand sanitizer and increasing the frequency of hand washing. These measures have been invaluable in attempting to flatten the curve and preventing the further spread of the disease that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives. In our valiant efforts to protect ourselves, we have placed other species under great risk; our ocean life.  As stated in a UN news article on July 30, 2020; “The promotion of mask wearing as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19 has led to an extraordinary increase in the production of disposable masks: the UN trade body, UNCTAD, estimates that global sales will total some $166 billion this year, up from around $800 million in 2019.” If historical predictions are accurate, then 75% of disposable masks and other pandemic -related waste will end up in landfills, or floating in the seas. While we are saving ourselves from imminent danger we are adding fuel to another global crisis; the war on pollution. The single use masks are often worn only once and then discarded carelessly without thought. These lightweight disposable masks find themselves blown into our sewer systems, water ways and oceans. Luckily there are several washable and reusable masks on the market.  In certain professions, single use medical grade personal protective equipment is necessary. In the event that you have to use a single use disposable masks please keep the following in mind:

  • Cut off the ear or head straps from the front of the mask. If these masks were to end up in our waters, the straps can lead to fish and animal entanglement.
  • Dispose of the used mask in a proper PPE medical waste container. If this is not an option, then dispose of the mask in a garbage bin.
  • Disposable masks cannot be recycled and therefore should never be placed in the Recycling bin.

The wearing of masks to prevent the spread of disease is a practice that needs to continue until the disease is controlled. However, though mask wearing is mandated, we have a choice in the type of masks that we wear. Just as we have fought to change the single use of plastic mentality, we need to continue to fight the usage of single use masks unless medically necessary.

At a time when small businesses are drastically effected by the decline in business, it is great opportunity to support businesses that produce masks. Purchase masks from local suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint and support companies with a social impact component to maximize your contribution. Invest in washable and reusable masks to protect your health and the health of those around you.

During this pandemic, there seems to be so much beyond our control. Our power lies in our ability to take thoughtful and conscious action. The products that we use to protect ourselves, is our choice. Choose wisely.


Want to learn more? Below are some links for additional information.


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