Sustainability goals... is the window of opportunity for hotels closing?
— 12 C-Suite executives shared their view
As we enter a decisive decade for sustainability, is the window of opportunity for hotels closing?
Following a decade of growth which brought jobs and fostered local and regional development, the tourism and hotel industry has repeatedly outperformed the global economy.
More than 3,000 new hotels will open their doors in 2020 alone. However, the industry is also responsible for nearly one-tenth of all carbon emissions globally, with the hotel sector accounting for almost a quarter of all tourism emissions.
Under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the hotel sector must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions per room per year by 66 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050 compared to 2010 (ITP, 2017). The technology required to decarbonize the industry is available now.
How do you see the calls for more sustainability within your organization and, in particular, our responsibility to bring about a carbon-neutral future?
Chief Executive Officer of the Kempinski Group
Kempinski Hotels is fully aware of the challenges presented by climate change to the planet, and to the tourism industry in particular. We recognize our role in mitigating the changes of climate through significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and we are taking immediate steps in acting upon it. As the highest impact related to greenhouse gas emissions in the hospitality industry is linked to the energy use in the hotel buildings, our primary focus is directed on reducing energy consumption in already operated buildings, and incorporating best available technologies that provide the most efficient energy use in newly constructed buildings.
- We continually review our Standard Operating Procedures in order to include energy efficiency measures in Kempinski operated hotels;
- When we are in control of the construction process, we ensure that a holistic approach is taken to building design and high energy efficiency standards are applied. Several of our hotels were constructed following LEED requirements, or are LEED certified. These hotels benefit from energy use optimisation by implementing various technological solutions.
- We are rolling out a Hotel Optimizer Energy and waste measuring tool across our portfolio. It allows us to measure the 'Genuine performance' based on energy and waste data in relation to various operational activities and variables of the hotel (guest nights, occupancy, heating and/or cooling degree days, etc.). This simple measuring allows to identify first points for targeted optimization of energy use, allowing in most cases reductions of utility use by 10%;
- We are rolling out the EarthCheck certification programme – a sustainability label for hospitality business – which requires hotels to go “green” by measuring and minimizing their impact on the environment. Currently, 40% of our portfolio has already signed up with EarthCheck and we expect to have the majority of all our hotels enrolled by the year 2020, and certified by 2021.
- Several of our hotels have already implemented various energy efficiency measures, bringing considerable cost savings, such as upgrading Building Management System, and Guest Room Management System, which allowed us to save 10 % of energy within the first year. In our central Technical Services department, we have identified numerous opportunities for energy savings that also present highly attractive financial benefits. We widely recommend those to the owners and investors of our hotels, especially during the maintenance phase or refurbishment.
In addition to energy efficiency measures, we also reduce carbon footprint through water-saving measures. We incorporate water use efficiency together with all the above-listed measures directed on energy saving, and this way reduce energy consumption required for water heating. Our efforts on optimizing the water-energy nexus translate into reduced greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption. At the same time water-saving measures prepare us to a growing strain on water resources due to climate change and the future increase of water cost.
We also implement measures directed at preventing food waste. We gradually introduce a technology, directed on optimizing the procurement of food in line with the food and beverage demand from the side of our guests. Such measures help to reduce food waste that would otherwise be directed into a landfill, causing emission of highly potent greenhouse gas methane.
These proactive measures directed on reducing carbon footprint, bring also tangible benefits in economic terms, by reducing our operating costs. This win-win situation of economic benefit while reducing environmental impact on climate fosters our efforts in reducing our carbon footprint at a fast pace.