World Panel
Viewpoint13 July 2020

The Future of Sustainability Certification: Micro-Certification?

Sustainability in Hospitality

— 14 experts shared their view

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This viewpoint was created by
Willy Legrand , Professor of Hospitality Management at the IUBH International University
Franziska Altenrath
Co-Founder at TUTAKA

Comprehensive Micro-Certifications can combine both main advantages of certifications: building trust and sending a clear message to consumers. Existing sustainability certifications often struggle with the latter. What is a “sustainable hotel”, consumers might rightfully ask.

The question remains, whether it needs external approval on the micro-level in an age of transparent consumer reviews and the ever-present fear of reputational losses. I think external validations and quality systems are important from a management and not a marketing perspective. Communication, on the other hand, should then mirror the management efforts to steadily become more sustainable. Trust can be achieved through a credible, public, multi-level communication strategy, regular reporting, and an open handling of shortcomings. A plant-based menu does not need external validation. Neither does an “x% plastic-free” promise. Hotels might be open about their energy sources, but they will need to back the information up (publicly). Companies might disclose their suppliers and include them in their social media communications. These efforts might pay-off more than “putting a stamp on it”. 

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