COVID-19: A stress test for sustainable development in hospitality?
— 22 experts shared their view
"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?
Senior Research Fellow in Sustainability at Hotelschool The Hague
I fully believe that this is a stress test. A stress test because even stronger than before the corona crisis, any advocate of sustainable development will need to work harder in convincing others that we need to remain thinking Triple Bottom Line (a.k.a. People, Planet, Profit). So recovering the corona crisis will be tough, and doing this in a way that is also having a positive effect on the climate crisis will even be tougher! But it is, even more, a stress test, because the fact that the Coronavirus spreads so fast, we should realize that we really need to rethink the way we live and do business. We need to innovate to remain connected as people, but not actually let people and goods be moving around in such large numbers and in such an in-efficient way. These two characteristic are two important ingredients of both the fast spread of COVID-19 and the current Climate Crisis!