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Sustainable Hospitality Council

Mission Statement

The Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association’s Sustainable Hospitality Council was created to advance the awareness and adoption of sustainable 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

Owner, Sustainability, Ascendance Sustainable Events

Jason Hagopian

AIA, LEED AP, Principal; TSAO Design Group

Becca Hildner

Advertising & Digital Coordinator; GMCVB

Wendy Kallergis

President & CEO; Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association

Brian Lomel

PE, LEED-AP, CxA, Principal, Sustainability Consultant; TLC Engineering for Architecture

Cheryl Jacobs

Executive Vice President; AIA Miami

Tony Brown

Director of Engineering, CHFE; Trump National Doral Miami

Flavia Tonioli

Sustainability Manager; Environment & Sustainability Department; City of Miami Beach

Pred Vaskrsich

Director of Engineering; Ocean Reef Club

Elizabeth Wheaton

Environment & Sustainability Director; City of Miami Beach

Cecile Raubenheimer

Director; The Miami Beach EDITION; Co-founder Evolve.Media & The Collective Consulting

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


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.

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:

Climate Change: Resiliency Practices for Hotels and their Communities


Nancy Scanlon, GMBHA Sustainable Hospitality Council Chair, wrote this online article for Hotel Executive on the resiliency in Miami Beach.

View article here:


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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GMBHA Sustainable Hospitality Council Meeting

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 | GMBHA Office

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