Impact assessments – showing where we are

The Sustainable Spa Association (SSA), just like its spa members and brand partners, is responding to increased demand for measurable impactful results. Since its launch, the SSA has relied on an impact assessment tool which has measured the results achieved by its members and partners since the non-profit association was launched in 2019-20. 

In January 2022, this tool will be upgraded to a V1.2, which will provide the SSA with even more accurate insight into the results it is achieving – and how its members are performing and improving. 

“The growth of sustainability in the spa industry will increase year on year, leading to a deeper understanding of the strategies needed to achieve results,” says Lucy Brialey, SSA co-founder. 

“We have always wanted a layered approach to the course of actions, so that it will provide encouragement, rather than a deterrent.”

Version V1.1 of The SSA impact assessment measured 12 areas of daily spa operations. The upgrade has all the elements of V1.1 and will further define the pillars of people, planet, prosperity and regeneration within spa business, and also clearly indicate in the results how spas are contributing to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are a common global goal for all countries, businesses and individuals.

“Achieving a great score, and going through the subsequent audit for public grading is of course something to be published and celebrated,” Brialey adds. “But at the same time is not the only purpose of the impact assessment. The scores are to indicate the areas that could benefit from development and a more targeted business strategy, year on year.”


The impact assessment process is a crucial tool in assessing the successes – and identifying areas of improvement – when it comes to actions and programmes. 

For example, last year’s SSA Global Survey showed that 40% of respondents were only somewhat familiar, not very familiar or not familiar at all with the concepts that support deliverable sustainability actions in business. This means that there is work to be done in this area. 

What more, the SSA identified three main obstacles that led spa operators to feel unable to achieve sustainable actions in 2020. Each of the three were then responded to with specific actions. 

The three obstacles were:

1. Hard to find suppliers with sustainable values

Just like the consumer expectation is that spa services should provide sustainable solutions, spa operators also need to easily establish partnerships with suppliers who can assist their efforts.  

The SSA responded by increasing its procurement channels and categories enabling spa operators to find the partners they need.

2. Not sure where to start

The subject of sustainability is a wide concept and spans all industry sectors. Simply looking for solutions online can confuse the situation, because the solutions highlighted by research may not be applicable to spa operations. Reading about sustainability actions in other, very different sectors can sometimes bear no relevance to what can be done in spa and wellness. 

The SSA responded to these concerns with a roadmap to spa sustainability and campaigns  to get behind in order to achieve incremental change

3. Lack of education for spa teams

Sustainability is best achieved with collective action. Getting all team members on board and creating the business values is essential.  

The SSA responded with the launch of its United Nations Sustainable Development Goals workshop and is following with diplomas that will be easily accessible via online self learning platforms in 2022. 

For more information on the accreditation process, click HERE.