Sustainability goals... is the window of opportunity for hotels closing?
— 10 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?
Co-Founder at KUBE Ventures
The call for sustainability is becoming louder and louder and is totally justified. It is our individual and collective responsibility to bring our environmental footprint down and aim for a more carbon-neutral future.
As mentioned in my observations about “how will you weather the next economic downturn”, the answer to this question is difficult to ask universally to our hospitality industry. Asset light or fully owned companies will have a completely different focus.
Asset light hotel groups will be fully focused on B2C through their brands and direct guest approach. Certifications of all sorts symbolizing the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) will provide a quick fix towards the guest with yes, a positive impact on savings, but far from making the dial really move. Led lighting, use of plastic water bottles and other low hanging fruit are being addressed.
Our industry however is asset-heavy and the real impact on ESG sits way earlier in the design and execution of the hotel developments or major capital improvements.
Building methodologies like modular, materials, tech, mechanical and engineering are all making the true impacts on our environmental footprint and aim for a more carbon-neutral future.
At citizenM we focus heavily on ESG, actually from the very inception and have our ESG Director involved throughout the organization. We wanted to have a true hard measure instead of quick and relatively shallow certifications and have chosen for GRESB.
GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) was launched in 2009 by a group of large pension funds who wanted to have access to comparable and reliable data on the ESG performance of their investments and thus way more building focused.
Measuring is knowing and although our results are very encouraging, not having measured in the past still scurs our today results.
In year 3 now we should start to see a true measure and compare to the hospitality and other industries. Through the many and variety of measured touchpoints we learn also how-to better impact and steer our ESG effort.
If anything, I hope that our collective thoughts are seen as a call to action for all…