Sustainability-driven legislation: setting the right conditions for hospitality?
— 21 experts shared their view
Legislation regulates the way we utilize natural resources, avoid pollution and harmful substances, manage waste and protect ecosystems and human rights. Supporting sustainability through the use of proactive legislation is nothing new. Rather than being a constraint to businesses and individuals, proactive legislation can eliminate competitive disadvantages and thus be an instrument paving the way to a successful and sustainable future (Berger-Walliser et al., 2016). In many cases, however, legislation is enacted as a last resort. In Germany, a new law on packaging makes it mandatory for the gastronomy sector to provide reusable containers as an alternative to single-use items from 2023 onwards. This is, arguably, a long overdue legislation based on a EU Directive. In a recent representative survey conducted by the German Packaging Institute (DVI) and World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), 85% of respondents are in favor of introducing a deposit refund system for reusable containers. And while citizens around the globe view climate change as a major threat, the most recent report from the UNFCC warns that climate action plans put forward by nations ahead of COP26 are nowhere close to meeting the goals set in the Paris Agreement. Looking at legislative initiatives in your country, where do you see room for improvement? In which area under the sustainability umbrella do you see the need for more (or less) regulations? Can you share some best (or worst) practices?
Berger-Walliser, G., Shrivastava, P. & Sulkowski, A. (2016). Using Proactive Legal Strategies for Corporate Environmental Sustainability, Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, 6(1), 1-27.
Founder & CEO of WE(i) Think
Sustainability-driven legislation should not be only falling on the governments, but also be a responsibility for hospitality operators and investors, using the various legal documents they have at their disposal: design standards, lease/management/franchise agreements, operating guidelines.
These are effecting tools to enforce, monitor and report on sustainability practices at property level. Currently, only a limited number of hotel operators/investors are using these tools but as benchmarking becomes more available, there is an opportunity to set sustainability targets for CO2 emission, waste management, water and energy consumption, procurement cycle, employment equalities,... and enforce them into operating agreements.