Leading hotel companies launch Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, which brings together 14 of the world’s leading hotel companies, has launched with the renewed vision of responsible hospitality for a better world. The organization will be taking forward the work of the International Tourism Partnership, its global youth employment program, Youth Career Initiative, and sustainability communications platform, Green Hotelier.

As the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have demonstrated, now is the time that nations, businesses and people need to be taking co-ordinated global action to address the significant social and environmental issues that are impacting the world. The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance uniquely represents how the hospitality industry is taking collective responsibility to ensure that destinations and communities are being supported and protected now and for future generations.

The organization was first formed in 1992 by a consortium of chief executives from 10 global hotel companies as a result of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. First known as International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI), a program of the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), for the past seven years it has been part of Business in the Community (BITC), the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. After developing strong partnerships and impactful programs around the world, it now launches as an independent charity.

Sustainable Hospitality Alliance members make up 25% of the global hotel industry by rooms, including Marriott International, Hilton, IHG, Hyatt and Radisson Hotel Group. The Alliance works with senior executives from their members, and other partners, to assess the key social and environmental challenges, and prioritize their activities and programs where they can collectively deliver the most positive impact. Aligned with the UN SDGs, they commit to drive continued action on human rights, youth employment, climate change and water stewardship.

The global pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on lives and prospects among already vulnerable communities. As the world begins to recover, the hospitality industry can play an important role in mitigating against the risks that may arise from people’s increased vulnerability, while also ensuring that the industry builds back stronger and more sustainable.

Sustainable Hospitality Alliance Chair Wolfgang M. Neumann, senior non-exec director in hospitality, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has cemented the sector’s commitment to corporate responsibility and given a renewed focus on building back better. While this is a time of great change for the world, and our industry, our members remain committed to addressing the issues that impact our planet and its people, and working together for a more sustainable and resilient future. We are grateful to BITC for the fruitful partnership and successful incubation period which has enabled the Alliance to begin operating independently.”

Sustainable Hospitality Alliance Vice Chair Katie Fallon, EVP/global head of corporate affairs, Hilton, said, “When it comes to protecting the environment and enhancing social welfare, the hospitality industry recognizes that by working together we can achieve far greater impact than as individual companies. Through the Alliance, the industry convenes to take bold, collective action to address the scale of the challenges and opportunities we face.”

Madhu Rajesh, CEO, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance said, “The industry has the collective strength to drive meaningful action on major issues. Hotels generate an annual revenue of over $550 billion for their local economies and provide opportunities in communities all over the world. It is important that we use this scale to foster inclusive environments where new opportunities are reaching those who need them the most, while also building on the commitment and momentum we’ve seen towards sustainability over recent years. We’re pleased to support any hotel whatever stage they are on their sustainability journey.”

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance offers a range of free tools and resources to enable every hotel to operate responsibly and grow sustainably, in addition to developing collaborative programs that bring together the hospitality industry with public sector, non-profit and other strategic partners.