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The hotel industry contributes up to 1 percent of global emissions, a figure that is only expected to increase as demand continues to grow.
This is not surprising for an industry with 24-hour, 365-day-a-year operations, and also given that hotels use more energy than office, retail or manufacturing premises. This places hotels as some of the world’s highest per-square-foot energy and water users.
The hotel industry has recognized this issue by joining the global effort to reach net zero. More than 500 travel companies have now signed the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, which aims to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
Various drivers are shifting the hotel industry onto a path to net zero, including:
- Laws and incentives: Since the global built environment accounts for about 40 percent of global emissions, governments are passing laws and regulations and setting up incentives to bring about change in the real estate industry.
- Meeting customer demands: Guests are becoming more environmentally aware; young millennials, in particular, are increasingly seeking out sustainable hotels and paying attention to hotels’ green credentials.
- Bottom line: Sustainability initiatives can bring financial benefits to different stakeholders in the hotel industry. For example, hotels are a distinct asset where all utility savings pass directly to the balance sheet of the operators.
The hotel industry faces specific challenges in aligning the interests of all stakeholders. Often, separate companies hold the roles of developer, owner, operator and funder. Further, numerous third parties are involved in the development and operation of hotels. With so many parties involved, it is important that each party does its part to reach the common goal of net zero.
- Changing laws, customer demand and improving the bottom line are driving the hotel industry onto a path to net zero.
- The hotel industry faces challenges to align interests of all stakeholders.
- Solutions exist in tailored sustainability provisions governing the relationship between stakeholders.