By Jai-Leen James, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The Green Spa Network (GSN) is a non-profit trade association that provides education, resources and networking opportunities for members of the spa and wellness industry. Based in Scotts Valley, California, the organization also has a strong presence in the Miami metropolitan area.
Founded in 2002, GSN provides opportunity for the spa industry adapt their wellness practices in a way that supports environmental sustainability, by creating a platform that inspires industry members to create a more sustainable future.
Members of the Green Spa Network are encouraged to install energy efficient lighting, provide water in recycled cups or reusable containers, use non-toxic skin care products and only purchase unbleached non-chlorine paper products.
“Our goal is to provide education and events that connect people to each other and to the health of the planet,” Joanna Roche, Executive Director at the Green Spa Network explained.
“I got involved because I believe wellness includes the health of the planet and that we can make a difference by practicing earth-care and influencing our communities, both personally and professionally to be and do better.”
Roche adds, “Miami is home to one of our board members Caline Assilian (Exhale Spa) who is influencing her community by connecting GSN with you for the opportunity to talk about what we do and to raise awareness for both our organization and the ways in which we can promote sustainable practices.”
Exhale Spa in Miami Beach is located within the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Exhale features sixteen spa therapy rooms, a wellbeing boutique and spa and zen lounge. In addition to its award-winning fitness classes, Exhale has a manicure and pedicure bar, couple’s therapy room and a blow dry bar.
Other member spas can be found through the GSN directory, and their site also offers a toolkit as an education platform that provides information, tools and concrete actions in each practice area to help make your business green.
GSN also helps members to recycle and ‘precycle’. Precycling is reducing waste before buying. When making purchasing decisions, GSN advises spa and wellness companies to consider the packaging – choose minimally packaged goods. If possible, buy in bulk and purchase soy ink for printing.
Another program is that between now and next Earth Day (April 22nd), the Green Spa Network is on a mission to plant one million trees. GSN partnered with WeForest for their Tree Planting Initiative to regenerate the earth using trees’ natural abilities to reverse climate change.
“We invite you to get involved in our global tree initiative – visit our website and learn how we are planting trees in Brazil to help restore the rainforest there,” Roche said.
“Or learn more about the sustainability of your business by becoming a member and taking our sustainability assessment – where you can learn how to evaluate and improve your business practices to become more earth friendly,” she added.
In 2014, GSN launched the Sustainability Assessment Tool. Upon taking the survey, businesses can gain insight into their overall sustainability and how to improve their status.
The Sustainability Status Report reviews the company’s sustainable practices across eighteen categories, including water management, leadership, waste reduction, energy use, laundry process and community connection.