"Covid-19 is climate change on warp speed" (Wagner, Mar.10, 2020). The current pandemic has catastrophic consequences on the hospitality sector. The ways the industry currently deals with the crisis (for example, see: COVID-19 - Survival Guide for the Hospitality Industry) offers a glimpse into the crisis management endeavors in building a business case for disaster and climate resiliency. Climate emergency is not dissimilar to the coronavirus threat, whereby 'both demand early aggressive action to minimize loss" (Cobb, Mar. 12, 2020). However, with hotel companies facing an existential crisis, or large-scale downsizing, what will be left of the sustainability programs and initiatives once this pandemic is overcome? Will we be starting from scratch or is the coronavirus crisis the opportunity to implement a swift change in risk assessment and management facing the climate crisis? What are the key lessons from the coronavirus crisis on how to deal with the climate emergency?

Jan Hein Simons
Jan Hein Simons
Managing Partner at MRP hotels

To what extent do primary 'life' expectancies, as defined in Maslow's Pyramid (or Hierarchy) of needs, have anything to do with sustainability or circular economy and COVID-19? Everything! As long as we continue to predominantly focus on the linear economical model of growth (for shareholders), we disregard the fact that our earth is a 'closed system' (=circular), in/on which resources are limited and cannot be mined endlessly while many stakeholders are excluded.

Hence, if the COVID-19 virus had been more actively managed by Chinese and other international officials, rather than suppressing its existence it for economic reasons, its spreading would have been curbed long before it could have started spreading. While it moved towards Europe, even here, under the initial political disregard (to safeguard the economic interests), governments were very much underestimating its impact, just as much as Mr. Trump initially did in the US. We are actively witnessing an unfolding pandemic, which we could have prevented altogether. Humankind, in its conquest for everlasting growth, was irresponsibly irrational, although we had been warned in the recent past. L'Histoire se répète, as they say in French. How many more times do we repeat this saying, before we smarten up? When we actively become sustainable in our approach to life on this world and our sane use of resources, we'll be glad (and smart) use different yardsticks to measure our success and free up time to avoid pandemics such as Corona.

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