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?
Founder and Partner of CityHub
The decade that is about to start is going to be a decisive one for sustainability. A shift in priorities seems therefore unavoidable, firstly for ethical reasons but also because it is going to be demanded both by stakeholders and consumers. On the other hand, I don't see the fact that tourism is responsible for a large share of carbon emissions as a deterrent to traveling itself. Instead, statistics show that Millenials are the generation driving growth in the hotel industry and that Gen Z isn't far behind (source: Expedia).
People are traveling and will continue to do so, but we can already see that they are becoming more and more mindful about their choices and more aware of their footprint as travelers. Sustainability will also be high on the agenda of political leaders and, as a matter of fact, will also play a big role in the choices regarding urban development, driving decisions of municipalities and investors. As a hotel brand, sustainability needs to be top of mind both on a development and an operational level.
What we notice at CityHub is that modern generations tend to have large travel experience and are generally aware of their environment and feel responsible for the footprint they leave behind. We try to facilitate these travelers to meet their needs by developing hotels that include environmentally conscious choices and a positive social impact as main values. One of our core principles is to enhance existing buildings in our target cities in a smart and effective way. Thanks to the space-efficient design of our sleeping units (Hubs), we manage to repurpose vacant buildings for which there is no other function. In this way, we can develop hotels with relatively low energy consumption and maximise the use of limited free space in the city. Additionally, we make sure to use the most updated technologies in terms of energy efficiency and to reduce waste to a minimum, for example, in case of need, our Hub can be disassembled and reassembled, making it fully recyclable.
We are aware that there are still many opportunities in the field of sustainability and that, as a brand that wants to be future-proof, the pressure on making impactful changes it's high. Therefore, CityHub is committed to improving its sustainability strategy and making it a driving factor in decision making for both our development and operational strategy.