Case Study

Guadalajara Plaza Hotels Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

SME Name
Guadalajara Plaza Hotels
SME Size
Medium (250-500 employees)
Raul Villavicencio
Developed by Dr. Jose Di Bella Mtra. Adriana Hernández Cantarell


A company can define and shape its sphere of influence for sustainability. The cost of implementing sustainability practices is not necessarily an impediment for the company. A company’s community is an integral ally as they allow companies to maximize the value of sustainable practices that are socially coordinated. Beyond creating a social license to operate in the community, these efforts represent the formation of local assemblages and coalitions for sustainability and resilience-building efforts in well-defined locations, making the role of the company central to sharing, transferring, and promoting the formation of capacities necessary for transformation, such as foresight, cooperation and agency.


Guadalajara Plaza Hotels is a hotel chain that offers accommodation in two of the most prominent cities of Jalisco, Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. This study was carried out in one of its hotels, “Plaza Pelicanos Club”, located in one of the most important tourist centers in the country, Puerto Vallarta. It is a destination with international and national tourism as it is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The hotel currently conducts various sustainability activities to promote a paradigm shift in the habits and culture of operations. These activities are done with collaborators (employees) and various actors in the community to carry out joint actions that reduce and/or eliminate the negative impact of its operations. Guadalajara Plaza Hotels’ activities in the environment protect or restore local ecosystems and thereby reduce the risk of disasters.

Sustainability Story

Plaza Pelicanos carries out various practices aimed at sustainability, such as organizing bi-monthly community brigades to clean the beach and local urban infrastructure. They also have a daily monitoring routine for conservation efforts regarding the protection of local at-risk species. For example, in coordination with federal authorities, the local sea turtles are monitored as they are classified as an endangered species. Such activities are carried out with the collaborators and their families and are focused on the preservation of the town as a destination with a culture of caring for the environment. These practices are central to the company’s business model, as they serve as a platform for sustainable tourism in this Pacific coastal area.

Additionally, they have implemented the separation of solid waste (organic, inorganic, plastic, glass, paper and cardboard), with which monetary resources are obtained to invest in improving recycling practices. For instance, the separation of cooking oil is carried out to avoid contamination of the water, where there is a supplier that treats the oil to convert it into other fuels or other materials.

By virtue of these actions and the promotion of the company for sustainable tourism, the workers autonomously integrated a social program that was an initiative of the collaborators in alliance with a Civil Association to collect and sell plastic caps for recycling and thereby generate resources for a local organization working on the care of infants with cancer.

These sustainability activities are monitored by the Recycling Committee, which oversees the implementation of the different actions that shape the practice, taking into account the particularities that exist in each recycling practice and care for the environment.

Guadalajara Plaza Hotels Practices

Waste management system Community cleaning brigades At risk-marine species oversight
Introduction of a comprehensive waste management system wherein oil waste is managed responsibly, garbage separation is introduced, and a culture of recycling is promoted. Organizing bi-weekly public cleanings for beaches and public spaces to collect waste and prevent it from entering into the sea.Establish an area to monitor and care for sea turtles in an effort to preserve the species.

Pathway Map

Pathway maps represent the sequence businesses followed to implement successful sustainability practices and identify emerging ones within firms. The pathways also reveal the diversity of actors that begin to form sustainability enabling ecosystems for businesses to adopt, deploy or test sustainability practices.
Community Cleaning Brigades and at Risk Marine Species Oversight
View the Pathway Map
Waste Management System
View the Pathway Map

Enabling Factors for Practices

Internal to the organizationExternal to the organization
Support for studies: The company provides employees with office space, computer equipment, and internet connection so that employees can continue their studies online and develop knowledge about caring for the environment. Collaboration in the same hotel industry: It is part of the Association of Hotels and Motels of Puerto Vallarta, creating a contact where the various practices they carry out are shared, for a common good.
Recycling Initiative Income: The separating of the cardboard, P.E.T. plastic, and aluminum allows for the sale of the recycled materials. This economic resource may be later invested, for example, in buying larger garbage cans, for better waste management.

Arresting Factors for Practices

Internal to the organizationExternal to the organization
Community tension: There is resistance by some of the collaborators, where it is not easy for them to carry out conservation actions and establish new routines that require additional steps to undertake in a sustainable manner.Lack of local public policy and/or incentives: There is no support from the government, through public policies, to have better logistics for these sustainability practices.
Lack of investment: There is no economic resource or dedicated line of investment in the company budget to increase sustainability actions or improve those already carried out.

Lesson for Disaster Risk Reduction

This zone is prone to flooding as Puerto Vallarta is located at the mouth of a river. The possibility of flooding increases during the rainy season and when hurricanes impact the zone. The region has also been impacted by earthquakes as it sits between 3 tectonic plates that are North America, Cocos, and Rivera and has an increased risk of tsunamis due to its position on the seacoast. Together with other hotels, a necessary pipeline was placed to give continuity to the riverbed and prevent future flooding. There is contact with the early warning system to know the atmospheric conditions in case of heavy rains and the presence of a hurricane. There is also legally-required training by the Civil Protection and security brigade. Preparation of drills with guest participation occurs between 3 or 4 per year. A notice is installed in each of the rooms, in Spanish and English. Together with the municipal government, the possible shelters that may be required are known. If necessary, collections of perishables are made together with the collaborators.


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