The good old 'Think Global Act Local'? or is it 'Think Local, Act Global'?

It is clear that not one organization, business or nation can resolve the global climate or biodiversity challenges; 'Think global, act local' calls for concerted efforts, with the accumulation of local actions translating into global shared benefits. 

'Think local, act global', on the other hand is represented by the global actions on sustainability issues (e.g. activists or businesses building on local strengths to activate, generate an impact via global actions).

In sustainable hospitality, it gets trickier. Hotels may decide to adopt a recognized global standard while still trying to ensure a local relevance which means acknowledging the local needs and requirements. One way forward is for hotel organizations to have a clear understanding of matters that are material to their organization, that is, identifying issues and risks that have financial, reputational and legal impacts. Usually this automatically includes matters of global nature such as climate change (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions) and biodiversity loss (e.g. food supply chain) as well as issues of local relevance such as recruitment (e.g. diversity, equity and inclusion) and health and safety (e.g. employee wellbeing). 

In the complex world of sustainable hospitality, there is room for global standards as an opportunity to raise the bar on sustainability performance enabling for benchmarking performance and ensuring a recognition of efforts. There is also room for a more tailored and local-specific approach to tackle issues that are unique to a destination. This can be represented by the adoption of regional standards or micro-certification on a specific material issue.

We are all living in the Anthropocene where our collective actions have impacted and transformed our planet. The concept of Anthropocene is 'global by nature'. However, and as stated by Biermann et al. in an article published in 2016 in Global Environmental change

Using the Anthropocene lens must not mask the diversity of local and regional contexts and situations, nor the diversity and disparities in the conditions, contexts, and distribution of wealth, consumption and environmental impact across human societies” 

This applies particularly well to the hospitality sector, global by nature with innumerable local linkages and intricacies – think and act, both local and global.

Reference: Biermann, F., Bai, X., Bondre, N. et al. (2016). Down to Earth: Contextualizing the Anthropocene. Global Environmental Change, 39, 341-350. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.11.004