Sustainability goals... is the window of opportunity for hotels closing?
— 12 C-Suite executives shared their view
view details of this viewpoint
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?
President & Chief Executive Officer at Hilton
The hospitality industry is in the midst of what I call a Golden Age of Travel. As middle classes expand around the world, more people are traveling than ever, and they are craving unique, authentic experiences. That's an incredible business opportunity that we are rising to meet. The flip side of that opportunity is the critical responsibility we have to protect our communities and environment, so we can ensure destinations remain vibrant and resilient for generations of travelers to come.
At Hilton, we're doubling down on our Travel with Purpose commitment to cut our environmental impact in half and to double our social investment by 2030. We are taking the threat of global climate change seriously, and we were proud to be the first major hotel brand to set science-based carbon reduction targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.
In my role as chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), we're also calling on our members to accelerate toward a carbon-neutral future with our new sustainability action plan, unveiled at the first-ever WTTC Climate and Environment Action Forum in New York this September.
Ultimately, our industry has a responsibility to the communities where we live, work and travel. And while we may compete in many ways, I feel strongly that sustainability should not be one of them.