World Panel
Viewpoint 2 April 2020

COVID-19: A stress test for sustainable development in hospitality?

Sustainability in Hospitality

— 22 experts shared their view

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This viewpoint was created by
Willy Legrand, Professor of Hospitality Management at the IUBH International University
Catherine Dolton
Vice President Global Corporate Responsibility at InterContinental Hotels Group

Momentum was building for 2020 to be a year of pivotal collective action on sustainability, with business and governments coming together to tackle the climate emergency. The Covid-19 outbreak has emphasised more than ever, the importance of future-proofing business for growth and resilience within the context of climate change. 

It will also provide some of the most important lessons for a generation, and it is a crisis that we're all facing here and now. As we work through the many unknowns of this pandemic and consider global and local responses to issues, it has brought a stark reminder of how important it is to act quickly to tackle global risks and to do this collaboratively – both within and outside of our industry.  

At IHG the primary focus, rightly so, is on supporting our people, our owners and our business to tackle the economic and operational impacts. The natural comparisons of this crisis to the climate emergency are obvious, and I anticipate that a key lesson from this will be the shift in focus to our longer-term health, and how a company responds by doing what is right – and that includes by the environment. And so, while the phasing and roll-out of specific sustainability projects may change, we must continue to plan and be ready as we recover.  

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