by Jonathan Vatner | September 01, 2004
Roberta KunisakiThis month, California is requesting about 200,000 state employees to hold their business meetings at specially designated “green” hotels.
The California Integrated Waste Management Board in Sacramento rated 30 properties based on a criteria that included the amount of trash recycled, energy efficiency rates and the use of ecologically safe products like biodegradable detergents.
    “Our mission is to achieve zero waste,” said Roberta Kunisaki (right), senior integrated waste management specialist and project manager for the California Green Lodging Program. “We want to leave as small a footprint as possible.”
    Beginning Sept. 29, state meeting planners can find each hotel’s report card online at The board also plans to rate other U.S. properties, including major chains.
    The effort “will have a big impact on business,” said Michael Pace, the general manager of San Francisco’s Hotel Triton and head of an eco-makeover of San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants.
    Critics of the plan, however point out that booking ecologically advanced hotels remains merely an option. “Although I’d use [a green hotel] myself, the government ultimately is going to be driven by dollars,” said Darlene McKinney, management analyst of the San Diego-based Department of Veterans Affairs.