Enough talk – Here’s how to make hospitality sustainable


If you’re in the hospitality business, mentioning sustainability should make you feel equally concerned and excited. Concerned that hotels contribute 1% of global carbon emissions and tourism as a whole is responsible for 8%. Excited because there are a lot of innovations happening to make this change happen. But what can your hotel business do or support to reduce its carbon footprint? This question was widely addressed by the various speakers of the Shiftin ‘2021 festival, organized online by the hotel school. The rocks Global Hospitality Education, November 17, 18 and 19.

First of all, let’s stay positive here. Yes, we are at a crucial time in the future of the human race and the viability of this planet to support life as we know it.. But, we still have opportunities to turn the tide. Our businesses can reduce their carbon emissions while providing excellent service, be profitable and satisfy customers and shareholders.

“The bottom line after Glasgow is that we are not yet inevitably doomed to the inevitable future of escalating weather disasters and feedback loops.”says SUNx Program Co-Founder, SUNx Malta President and former UNWTO Deputy Secretary General Prof. Geoffrey Lipman. “But also, we haven’t really come off the brink of 2-3 degree warming by the end of the century.”

“A pact between people and the planet”

In his speech at the ShiftIn ‘Festival, Prof. Lipman’s speech, Climate Friendly Travel – A Code Red Plan For Our Kids, discussed steps the hospitality industry needs to take to help meet the 1.5 degree target. the Paris Agreement for 2050.

“We need regulations that encourage good practices and penalize bad ones, like the EU Fit for 55 program. We also need active carbon markets that stimulate industry innovation in clean energy,” but we must take into account the precautionary principles which are the basis for the protection of nature and planetary borders.

How shopping can save the planet

Consumerism is often disparaged as a key factor in increasing carbon emissions, but the way we buy things commercially can actually help reduce global warming. Explaining how, during a ShiftIn Festival workshop, Laura Turley, teaching assistant and doctoral student, University of Geneva, shared her knowledge about sustainable purchasing in the public sector and opportunities for the hospitality sector.

“Sourcing as a powerful driver of change, whether it’s incorporating more criteria on environmentally friendly services or implementing low carbon sourcing requirements. Companies can look deeper into supply chains to see where things are coming from and, rather than just looking at the cost, ask themselves: is buying that item or service causing carbon emissions? more important? “

Integrating sustainability is essential in the hospitality industry

In the early days of corporate social responsibility (CSR), many companies greened their core businesses by investing in sustainable side projects. For Laura, the opposite of this “checklist” approach is needed in the hospitality industry, and she believes sourcing offers a powerful way to achieve it.

“Embedding sustainability means embedding it in core business, and sourcing is a way of preaching. For example, Deutsch Hospitality has a clear social and environmental policy for all the products and services it purchases. And IHG’s Green Supplier Scorecard resulted in 23% of contracts awarded to sustainability-focused suppliers in 2020. ”

Carbon is complex, but keep your solutions simple

It’s fair to say that climate change is one of the most complex challenges the human race has ever faced, if not the most complex. With so many countries, companies, people and ambitions around the world, aligning everyone’s attitude and actions is a difficult task. For Matthew Lambert, CEO of Summit and Director of Operations at the International Hotel School, Invictus Education schools in South Africa, the leading hotel institution of the Sommet Education network, with Les Roches, meeting this challenge is possible. for hotel companies when they implement the KISS framework.

K – Keep it simple
“When you narrow your problem or opportunity to four words, you become very specific about what you need to solve and what you need to accomplish. “

I – improvise
“When you tackle a problem, you have to look at what exists, then experiment and improvise to find a solution. “

S – Subtract
“As humans, when we are looking to improve ourselves, to innovate or to do something better, our natural reaction is to add rather than subtract. You have to come back to the problem you need to solve; subtract characteristics and focus on the specific challenge you, or those you seek to help, are facing. “

S – Scale
“Scale is the key to any initiative you introduce to support sustainability. Your innovation must apply to a wide audience, otherwise it turns into a simple gadget ”

As hospitality professionals we can all get things done in the right direction, and as Professor Lipman, Laura and Matthew all agree, we can do it through regulation, procurement and simplifying things.


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