Universal Companies Advises Clients on Sustainable Strategies

Lisa SykesUniversal Companies has enlisted sustainability specialist Lisa Sykes to help spas and resorts green their facilities. From basic strategies such as installing energy-efficient light fixtures to more sophisticated projects like the use of onsite renewable energy sources. Sykes helps with sustainable product selection, label reading, and setting facility standards. A recent speaker at the 'Essential Tools for Green Prosperity' April 20 in San Francisco, CA, Sykes is a frequent contributor for the Green Spa Network and LOHAS.

"Transparency is desperately needed in the personal care market, and spa professionals are perfect advocates for this cause," says Sykes. Rigorously examining Universal's product lines, she encourages vendors to reformulate, redesign, and implement their own green strategies. This in-depth process, which involves efficient label-reading and investigating marketing claims, is conducted annually on each product to ensure accurate information.

Sykes also works with Universal's corporate clients on their sustainability measures. "When I work with corporate accounts, I generally assist them with sustainable product selection from our catalog and educate them on skin and body care standards and label-reading," says Sykes. "I recently worked with Greg Miller of Destination Hotels & Resorts on the company's Destination Earth Program. Along with the company's sustainability consultants, we recommended green product and locker room amenity standards.

Lisa's Tips for Spa Sustainability

1. Read ingredient lists. Sometimes quality brands do not display seals on their labels because they are in the middle of a lengthy certification process, the cost may be too high, or they choose to keep their labels simplistic. If you do not see a third-party seal, look at the ingredient list. Ingredient lists should display all contents—both actives and inactives—in descending order of predominance.

2. Know which ingredients to avoid. If you can't pronounce it, chances are it's a petrochemical. Petrochemicals are derived from nonrenewable sources and are potentially harmful due to their manufacturing processes, which include metal catalysts and contaminates.

3. Packaging. If it is designed with post-consumer materials, printed with eco-friendly inks, or readily biodegradable, the brand will boast about it in marketing materials. You can also look for the official recycling symbol (the "mobius loop"), which shows three arrows in a triangular shape.