Sustainable Hospitality Alliance launches ‘pathway’ to sustainability

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, a leading global network in responsible hospitality, has launched the Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality for the Planet. The vision of the pathway is that every hotel around the world can, and must, aim for net positive environmental impacts, whatever its starting point.

To achieve this goal, the pathway provides a practical, four-stage guidance framework as a free resource that supports all parts of the hospitality value chain to progress in a cohesive, strategic manner. It includes detailed action guidance for hotel operators, brands and asset owners, applicable to both single- or multi-unit organizations.

The pathway outlines increasing environmental ambitions and scope across the four stages which take account of the different levels of sustainability maturity across the industry. The accompanying resources enable users to build individualized action plans which are relevant to their specific situation and location.

The pathway recognizes that sustainability is crucially important to the sector’s long-term success and that all businesses need to evolve and innovate as stakeholder needs and expectations change. With 83% of global travelers stating that sustainable travel is vital, combined with the vulnerability of the industry to environmental impacts such as extreme weather and water scarcity, a robust sustainability strategy is now an essential element for all hospitality businesses.

Climate action failure is ranked as the top global risk in the 2022 World Economic Forum Global Risks Report, which also includes extreme weather, biodiversity loss, human environmental damage and natural resource crises. The pathway has addressed these key environmental issues in relation to the hospitality industry, and includes emissions, water, consumption, waste and biodiversity in the action planning.

The Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality has both been created in direct collaboration with the hospitality industry and its value chain, in consultation with environmental and industry experts. The vision and approach is supported by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global travel & tourism private sector, and aligns with their work to provide a robust foundation for sustainability across the industry.

“Our pathway fills the current vacuum of a coordinated and focused strategic plan across the hospitality industry to tackle the urgently needed climate actions,” said Wolfgang M. Neumann, chair, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. “It is a practical tool for any hotel, no matter their starting point, to obtain guidance on how to prioritize and sequence targeted and measurable climate actions. The Alliance wants to encourage all hotels to embrace the journey all the way to net positive. We are spearheading the dialogue beyond having ‘zero’ impact and setting a vision for what we can be putting back into the natural world with a lasting ‘positive’ impact on our planet and its people.”

To prioritize supporting the industry with its near-term needs, the first two stages of the Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality launched this month. The final two stages of the pathway will be released later this year after further consultation to account for the changing landscape and fully explore the more complex challenges.

Various industry leaders shared their thoughts on the launch of the pathway.

“It’s a matter of moving from compensation to contribution,” said Sébastien Bazin, chairman/CEO, Accor Group. “In order to do this, it cannot only be talk. You need a pathway and you need a guide. You need to think together and act together, totally regardless of how big or how small you are. Within this pathway and within this ambition, we are going to make a marker.”

“Our industry’s future depends on a planet that can support and sustain our growth,” said Chris Nassetta, president/CEO, Hilton. “While Hilton is proud of the strides we have made over the last several years, climate change is undeniably an area where we need the full participation and collaboration of the entire hospitality industry. By uniting us on a common pathway that’s been designed to be supportive and inclusive, this initiative and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance give us an enormous opportunity to profoundly and positively impact the communities where we live, work and travel.”

“We are proud to be part of the creation of the Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality—underscoring our industry’s commitment to protect the environment and limit the effects of climate change on our planet,” said Anthony Capuano, CEO, Marriott International. “Led by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, this collaboration will allow the hospitality industry to have a much greater impact collectively than we can individually. We encourage others in the industry to join us on this pathway, to help our communities remain vibrant places to live, work and visit, and create a better, more sustainable future for all.”

“We have a collective responsibility to collaborate as an industry and move quickly to reduce our environmental impact,” said Geoffrey A. Ballotti, president/CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “We have a unique opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the world and through active participation in organizations like the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, we can make great progress together to help ensure the future remains bright.”

“No one company can shape the future of responsible travel alone,” said Keith Barr, CEO, IHG Hotels and Resorts. “It requires teamwork and a collective effort across the industry to achieve a common goal. The pathway will help create tangible change locally and internationally at scale, supporting every hotel globally, no matter their starting point. Alongside our own clear sustainability plans and programs, IHG looks forward to working with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance to ensure the pathway plays its part in helping write a more sustainable future for us all.”

“The Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality provides an excellent framework for the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance’s planet work going forward,” said Federico J González, president/CEO, Radisson Hotel Group. “The hotel industry needs to come together to define a clear and common framework for basic hotel sustainability, in all transparency to the traveler and suitable for hotels just getting started on the journey.”

“Today is our industry’s carpe diem moment,” said Marloes Knippenberg, CEO, Kerten Hospitality. “Collectively, we need to act to end the planet damage we’ve been causing, both environmentally and socially. That is why it is important to combine policy drafting and rule implementation with the support and motivation of our teams globally to act on their ideas NOW. The reference we make as Kerten Hospitality to the ‘butterfly effect,’ whereby the softest flutter of a wing can affect the molecules around it, setting off a chain reaction that amplifies into major change that have lasting impacts on the surrounding environment.”

“We have only one chance with planet Earth,” said Marcus Bernhardt, CEO, Deutsche Hospitality/Steigenberger Hotels AG. “Deutsche Hospitality with its approximately 11,000 employees is aware of this responsibility. Participation in the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance’s ‘Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality’ therefore, is a matter close to our hearts. Let’s seize the opportunity to make a big difference together.”

“Soneva is proud to support the development of the Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality—an industry collaboration led by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance,” said Sonu Shivdasani, CEO/cofounder, Soneva. “As an industry, it is paramount that we work towards a net positive future, and at Soneva we continue to pioneer a more sustainable solution. Our resorts have been carbon neutral since 2012, including indirect emissions such as guest air travel. We aim for half of our power supply to come from renewables by 2023 and to eliminate fossil fuels from our operations, including our own boats and planes, by 2030.”

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