Industry Update
Press Release 3 November 2021

Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality raises global ambition for the hospitality sector

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International Tourism Partnership

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, which unites leading hospitality companies comprising 30% of the industry, today announces the development of a Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality for the planet. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) supports the ambition and plans a sustainability framework accessible to the global hospitality industry.


The Pathway aims to enable every hotel to improve their impact, whatever their starting point on their sustainability journey. It will encompass four clear stages and practical tools that guide the industry towards a regenerative impact on our planet.

Globally there is overwhelming evidence of the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. The hospitality industry, like other major industries, has a crucial role to play in limiting its impacts across the spectrum of critical issues including emissions, water usage, waste and resource procurement.

The Pathway recognises the wealth of initiatives and resources designed to support the industry, from external partners as well as the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, and it aims to build on these to develop a holistic, action-based approach for sustainable hospitality, regardless of whether hotels are part of a large international brand or independent.

To lead inclusive positive action on climate change, WTTC, which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, will support the initiative by uniting leading hotel companies and industry partners with the ambition to raise the global basic level of hotel sustainability.

The global tourism body will create a set of fundamental sustainability actions for hotels, with demonstrable positive impact, for those businesses that are at the very beginning of their journey.

The hospitality value chain will play a key role in achieving the vision set out by the Pathway, including hotel developers, owners, investors and franchisees, who can all powerfully impact sustainability at different life cycle stages of an individual hotel property. The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance is therefore launching an Affiliate Membership. This will create a unique forum for industry asset owners and investors to join with the leading hotel operators to lead a consistent approach to responsible hotel management and advance the sustainability of hotels across the buildings as well as their operations.

Wolfgang M. Neumann, Chair of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance said: “The world is without a doubt at a crucial tipping point. But it’s not too late to avert an environmental catastrophe. We need to act fast and we must collaborate as we double up our efforts. The dialogue needs to go beyond having ‘zero’ impact and look towards what we can be putting back into the natural world to ensure we have a lasting positive impact on our planet and its people.”

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO said: “We recognise both the major challenges we are facing and the urgent need to restart our sector safely and responsibly. We fully endorse and support the Pathway, an initiative which complements WTTC’s own ambition to move the entire sector to net zero. WTTC is in a unique position to connect the entire industry and encourage the many SMEs and others within the industry to begin their journey with a solid sustainability framework.”

The Pathway has now entered the consultation phase and details will be launched in March 2022.

Quotes from the hospitality industry

"Climate change calls for collaboration, not competition. We believe that working with our peers and partners from the hospitality sector is the most effective way to make substantial change happen. The pathway is an important step in that journey." Brune Poirson, Chief Sustainability Officer, Accor

"We have only one chance with planet earth. Deutsche Hospitality with its approximately 11,000 employees is aware of this responsibility. Participation in the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance's "Pathway for net positive Hospitality“ therefore is a matter close to our hearts. Let's seize the opportunity to make a big difference together." Marcus Bernhardt, CEO, Deutsche Hospitality/Steigenberger Hotels AG

“At Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, we are dedicated to protecting and regenerating our planet and elevating our communities around the world. We are proud to help drive collective action across our industry through the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. We support the pathway for net positive as a cohesive framework for stakeholders across our industry to join together to create a better future for our planet and its people.” Caitrin O’Brien, Vice President of ESG, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

“At IHG Hotels & Resorts, we are proud of our progress in making an increasingly positive difference to our people, communities and planet. However, we know that we cannot tackle the climate emergency alone, and we see the value of working collaboratively with industry partners to drive meaningful change both locally and at scale. As we look to raise the collective ambition of our industry, we are proud to support the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance in creating a global pathway to allow every hotel to work towards net positive hospitality regardless of their starting point.” Catherine Dolton, Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President, Corporate Responsibility at IHG Hotels and Resorts

“We are proud to be part of the creation of the pathway for net positive hospitality – underscoring our industry’s commitment to protect the environment and limit the effects of climate change on our planet. Led by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, this collaboration will allow the hospitality industry to have a much greater impact collectively than we can individually. We encourage others in the industry to join us on this pathway, to help our communities remain vibrant places to live, work and visit, and create a better, more sustainable future for all.” Anthony Capuano, CEO, Marriott International

“The Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality provides an excellent framework for the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance’s planet work going forward. The hotel industry needs to come together to define a clear and common framework for basic hotel sustainability, in all transparency to the traveller and suitable for hotels just getting started on the journey.” Federico J González, President & CEO Radisson Hotel Group

“Soneva is proud to support the development of the Pathway for Net Positive Hospitality – an industry collaboration led by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. As an industry, it is paramount that we work towards a net positive future and at Soneva we continue to pioneer a more sustainable solution. Our resorts have been carbon neutral since 2012, including indirect emissions such as guest air travel. We aim for half of our power supply to come from renewables by 2023 and to eliminate fossil fuels from our operations, including our own boats and planes, by 2030.” Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and Co-founder of Soneva

“We have a collective responsibility to collaborate as an industry and move quickly to reduce impact. As the world’s largest hotel franchising company, we have a unique opportunity to help make a meaningful impact on the world while making hotel travel possible for all. Through active participation in organizations like the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance we can make great progress together to help ensure the future remains bright.” Dimitris Manikis, President, Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

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The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance brings together engaged hospitality companies and uses the collective power of the industry to deliver impact locally and on a global scale. They work with leading hospitality companies and strategic partners to address key challenges affecting our planet and its people, and develop free practical resources and programmes to enable the wider industry to operate responsibly and grow sustainably.

Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, they commit to drive continued action on human rights, youth employment, equity, diversity and inclusion, and climate action, water stewardship and responsible resourcing. Their members make up 30% of the global hotel industry by rooms and include 14 world-leading hotel companies with a combined reach of over 35,000 properties and 5.5 million rooms.

Emily McLeish
Senior Brand and Marcomms Manager
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