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 at NH Hotel Group
More and more, guests, institutions and employees are demanding that companies pay more attention to environmental aspects as a key part of their decision-making and business strategy, clearly showing a shift in the general perception of the importance of climate change and responsible behavior.
Luckily, at NH Hotel Group we'd had this responsibility with our planet clear for some time now. Between 2007 and 2018, we have approved, deployed and invested in various sustainability plans that have allowed us to reduce our global energy consumption in 31%, our water consumption in 27% and our carbon footprint in 67%. These results have garnered international recognition and clearly demonstrate our solid commitment to leading the hotel industry towards a carbon-neutral future. For example, in the latest CDP Climate Change assessment of 2018, our Company obtained an A- assessment in the Climate Change Index. This places us among the leading companies in taking measures to effectively reduce emissions, indicating an advanced environmental management of which we are extremely proud.
But we do not intend to stop there. In 2019 we have publicly committed to a new and ambitious target: to reduce our carbon emissions of scopes 1, 2 and 3 by yet another 20% by 2030 (using 2018 as base year). NH has also been the first Spanish hotel company and the 5th in the world, to have this objective validated by the Science Based Target initiative, which means that it is in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – to limit global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
I am sure that meeting this commitment will require the full collaboration and in some cases accelerated transformation of our organization, but we are willing to take up the challenge and look forward to continuing to be a benchmark when it comes to environmental responsibility within the sector.