Two-weeks of negotiations in November 2015 led to the Paris Agreement. The culmination of 20 years of discussions, concessions and compromises. Is the Paris Agreement an important document to the hospitality industry? Without a doubt. Science-based targets driving the industry decarbonisation efforts are based on the 2°c (1.5°c) threshold as per the agreement.

COP26 in Glasgow will see countries submitting new or updated targets which is an integral component of the Agreement. A good time to take stock of how much (or little) has been achieved since 2015. Despite the pandemic, the International Energy Agency predicts that emissions are on course to surge, reversing the 2020 decline (-5.8%) due to the pandemic [1, 2]. No wonder many are asking: when are we going to get it right? [3].

It is with desperation that reports [4, 5] are published indicating that some large, global corporations with proclaimed climate commitment, are actively impeding stricter legislations (on fuel, carbon etc.) through lobbying. Regulation is a core component (as many argued and discussed here a few months ago: Sustainability-driven legislation: setting the right conditions for hospitality?) to ensuring a level-playing field as it is sending a decisive message that climate emergency must be dealt with, with all tools we have available.

For hotel development and operations, it is a mixed bag which can actually lead to new opportunities. In the bag are the regulatory and transition risks for inefficient assets, imminent carbon market systems for buildings, a decreasing costs of capital for sustainability-driven investment and access to cheaper technologies (e.g. market for photovoltaic).

So from your stance, experience and position, why is COP26 important? Why should our industry care? There has been talk also in this panel (see The (Green) Recovery Imperative: Hospitality Re-Set Or Bouncing Forward?) about post-COVID-19 green recovery. Is this happening and can COP26 foster this somehow?

Inge Huijbrechts
Inge Huijbrechts
Global Senior VP Sustainability, Security and Corporate Communications for Radisson Hotel Group
Nelly Gedeon
Nelly Gedeon
Founder and CEO of Wayaj, Inc.
Patrick O’Meara
Patrick O’Meara
Interim CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance
Cassia Patel
Cassia Patel
Program Director of Oceanic Global
Marloes Knippenberg
Marloes Knippenberg
CEO of Kerten Hospitality
Xenia zu Hohenlohe
Xenia zu Hohenlohe
Partner/Director at the Considerate Group
Johanna Wagner
Johanna Wagner
Co-Founder of La Belle EDuC, Founder of Upside Up Hotel Asset and Guest Lecture at ESSEC MSc in Hospitality Management (IMHI)
Sarah Habsburg-Lothringen
Sarah Habsburg-Lothringen
BA Hons, PGCE & MSc, Tourism Training Specialist & Business Mentor for Small, Independent Hotels
Lucienne Mosquera
Lucienne Mosquera
Co-founder of SustainUK and currently developing services to accelerate and simplify decarbonization and optimization of building and retrofit projects.
Trevor Girard
Trevor Girard
Director of Standards and Accreditation at Hotel Resilient
Nancy Scanlon
Nancy Scanlon
PhD, Professor at Florida International University
Federico Vignati
Federico Vignati
Principal Executive at CAF - development bank of Latin America
Jonathon Day
Jonathon Day
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Frauke  Fischer
Frauke Fischer
Founder, Agentur Auf!
Ioannis S. Pantelidis
Ioannis S. Pantelidis
PhD, FIH, SFHEA, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies at Brighton Doctoral College
Benjamin  Lephilibert
Benjamin Lephilibert
Founder & CEO, LightBlue Environmental Consulting
Franziska Altenrath
Franziska Altenrath
Co-Founder at TUTAKA
Stefan Gössling
Stefan Gössling
Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University

Climate change mitigation is tourism's new imperative. COP26 will set the framework. While this will undoubtedly force many tourism businesses to think differently (the cost of energy/emissions will increase), this is a challenge and an opportunity. Consumers expect the sector to act on climate change, and being a frequent air traveller is no longer seen as altogether desirable. Early adopters will profit, and COP26 is thus an opportunity for everyone (big or small) to look into halving emissions by 2030, with a view to net-zero by mid-century.

Celine Vadam
Celine Vadam
Founder & CEO of WE(i) Think
Willy Legrand
Willy Legrand
Professor of Hospitality Management at the IU International University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Suzann Heinemann
Suzann Heinemann
Founder and CEO of InfraCert GmbH
Ricardo Moreira
Ricardo Moreira
Managing Director at XCO2

We are in urgent need of ambitious top-down commitments and mandates on carbon emissions, as the bottom-up approach clearly has not been sufficient to achieve widespread action. Bold targets at the national level with clear and detailed action plans, alongside carrots and sticks, could influence investment, legislation, standards and practice. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Margaret Steiner
Margaret Steiner
Head of Business Development & Communications at Mandaworks