Driving Resiliency and Sustainability in Hospitality: Five Priorities for 2021
— 23 experts shared their view
Recovery, resilience, recalibration, or bouncing back are a few examples of keywords that are at the center of any discussion surrounding the hospitality industry's economic prospects this past year. However uncertain the economic future may be, major crises of earth systems are unabated to date. While similarities exist between resiliency and sustainability (i.e. both concepts refer to the state of a system or organization over time in response to instabilities), there are notable differences, and conflicts, in the two concepts (i.e. achieving short-term economic resiliency at the expense of socio-environmental wellbeing). Looking forward, all eyes are on resiliency (growth!) in hospitality but how do we decouple growth from impacts, most notably carbon emissions? How do we ensure that sustainability is a component of resiliency (or vice versa)? What are the five priorities the hospitality industry should set to tackle resiliency and sustainability at the same time in 2021?
University Professor at the University of Lleida - Faculty of Law, Economics and Tourism and Founding Partner at the ESHC
How do we decouple growth from negative impacts in hospitality? Many authors and institutions have acknowledged that we are in an age of high levels of social inequality and ecological degradation. Thus, concepts such as post-growth, post-capitalist, post-development, and degrowth are emerging and discussed by governments, academia, and the private sector. Taking real action is now a social imperative for hospitality businesses to thrive. The five priorities for the hospitality industry to be resilient and sustainable as we hopefully blossom from COVID-19 are:
- Integrate sustainability practices as an innovation strategy. There are actions we can undertake to improve-social wellbeing that are not necessarily costly or require many resources, such as actions to support community - based tourism.
- Focus on technology skills and sustainability education at all company levels.
- Use technology (such as blockchain) to accelerate supply chain sustainability, biodiversity conservation, sustainable procurement initiatives, workforce and human rights best practices, food security, and waste prevention, etc.
- GHG emissions: do not rely on offsetting programs. The solution lies in making deep cuts in rising greenhouse-gas emissions; paying up instead isn't solving the problem. If there is no way because the assets are old, we want to offset third-party emissions from guests or other stakeholders, then support projects of local communities to meet offsetting targets (SBTi /CDP).
- Encourage investors/owners' commitment to ESG and responsible investment for capital allocation.