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.
Principal Sustainable Development at 3 Pillar Solutions, LLC
United States President, Joe Biden, signed an Executive Order (bypassing congressional approval) to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on his first day in office. Here's the plan he laid out while running for President of the United States:
“We will have 100% clean energy by 2050 with net zero emissions. By 2025 there will be an enforcement mechanism in place to make sure the U.S. stays on track to get there. Then, we're going to make record breaking investments in research and development in zero carbon technologies. This will create 10 million new clean economy jobs. We will hold polluters accountable for the damage they've caused, particularly, in low income communities and communities of colour.”
He also made a commitment to help other countries.
Given that this bold action plan relies on feuding politicians in Congress to pass the legislation, the outcome is uncertain. Republican politicians are already gearing up against it, even though a legislative bill has not yet been presented. They have made very clear that anything the opposing party (the Democrats) present is to be rejected. Republicans are against government regulations, of any kind, against business (including hospitality), even if it benefits the health and prosperity of their own constituents, and themselves, at home. It's like the infamous feud between the Hatfields and McCoys families in the late 1800's.
I am optimistic that some of the climate action our President is proposing will be passed. Will it be enough?