Slowly but surely, supply chains and procurement practices are taking their rightful place on hospitality's sustainability agendas. For too long, the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts linked to the industry's procurement practices have remained unnoticed, overlooked and, ultimately, accepted. Whether food and beverages (F&B), furniture, fixture and equipment (FF&E), operational supply and equipment (OS&E), utilities or services, there is room for improvement in every stage and in every area. In a highly competitive market such as the hotel industry, decision are often driven by cost efficiency. As a consequence, supply chains are often oriented towards the lowest wages and cheapest materials, especially in regards to OS&E and FF&E. What are the key objectives steering procurement practices in hotels today and tomorrow? Which measures have shown great results and how can improvements be tracked? What does a sustainable supply chain management mean to you and your organisation? And, what role do guests play in supporting sustainable procurement practices?

Willy Legrand
Willy Legrand
Professor of Hospitality Management at the IU International University of Applied Sciences, Germany

There is disagreement amongst researchers on the overall share of embodied carbon over the hotel building's total lifecycle emissions, and estimates range between 30% and 70%1,2. The remaining emissions are the so-called operational carbon from the daily operations. Considering the ever faster cycles of hotel refurbishment, embodied energy (and carbon) in material and equipment results in a substantial carbon emission share of the overall building life cycle. And carbon is only a very small component of the socio-economic and environmental impacts linked to supply chain.

The hospitality supply chain is complex and multifaceted, however, we see an increase in ratings of environmental and social impacts throughout the lifecycle of products. A greater transparency facilitates the decision-making process for hoteliers (beyond price, design, delivery schedule…) on the path to net zero carbon. Much of our hospitality infrastructure which was built for the Holocene that now needs to adapt to the Anthropocene.

(1) ARUP (2021). Transforming Existing Hotels to Net Zero Carbon. Arup, Gleeds, IHG Hotels & Resorts and Schneider Electric.

(2) Filimonau, V., Dickinson, J., Robbins, D. & Huijbregts, M. A.J. (2011). Reviewing the carbon footprint analysis of hotels: Life Cycle Energy Analysis (LCEA) as a holistic method for carbon impact appraisal of tourist accommodation, Journal of Cleaner Production, 1-14.

View all 13 views in this viewpoint