– According to the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, tourism contributes about 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions — a figure they expect to grow by 130% by 2035. Meanwhile, the International Tourism Partnership found that for the hotel industry to align with the Paris Climate Agreement, it will need to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions per room per year by 90% by 2050 (compared to a baseline from 2010).
Sobering statistics they are indeed, especially considering the current and forecasted rates of growth of the industry.
In the past five years, the global hotel industry has grown by 2.3% to reach revenues of over €1.28 trillion in 2018 (IBISWorld, 2018). At the current pace, more than 80,000 hotels will join the existing supply by 2050.
So, the challenge we face is not an insignificant one. As sustainable hospitality expert Dr. Willy Legrand explains it, we need to find a way to grow the industry, accommodating more and more guests and building more and more properties, and at the same time reduce the sector’s carbon footprint to achieve complete decarbonization by 2050.
Here’s a look at how some organizations and properties are tackling that challenge.
Current trends in sustainable hospitality
According to Dr. Legrand, whose expertise about sustainable hospitality was instrumental in creating this article, “A large section of the hospitality industry is joining the unprecedented mobilization across the globe in mitigating negative environmental impacts and facing the many societal challenges ahead.”
The guest editor-in-chief of the Hotel Yearbook 2018 — Sustainable Hospitality and the Hotel Yearbook Special Edition — Sustainable Hospitality 2020, Dr. Legrand pointed out several key eco-friendly hotel industry trends, such as:
-Cutting down on food waste. For example, by growing food onsite, sourcing food locally, and shifting social norms to ensure that “plate waste” is no longer considered acceptable (Benjamin Lephilibert, HYB2018).
- Minimizing water usage beyond the hotel room. In addition to encouraging guests to be mindful of their water and towel usage, some properties are turning to innovations such as showers that filter their own water (Inge Huijbrechts, HYB2018).
A step beyond recycling, doing away with single-use plastic products can help limit the huge amount of waste stemming from creating and discarding these items. Getting rid of plastic water bottles and plastic bags is a good place to start (Jeanne Varney, HYB2020).
- Conserving energy. This “economically sustainable method” is effective and easy to apply, for example by redesigning the guest experience to encourage guests to apply adaptive behaviors. One way is to replace the mini-fridge and coffee machine in each room with a communal amenities area in an open guest space (Christopher Warren, HYB2020).
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*InstaSteam Pods, are a perfect alternative to the old fashion plug in iron, for the hotel and lodging industry. InstaSteam is the world’s first electricity free, and hands free clothing steamer which completely eliminates the guest necessity of having to utilize electricity to press, steam, or deodorize their garments while enjoying their lodging. Decreasing energy bills, while also increasing profits makes alternatives like InstaSteam one of many tools the industry will be leaning towards as business owners discover more and more ways to deliver on eco-friendly lodging practices for not only their overall guest experience and property value but for the entire worlds benefit.
–Creating a paperless hotel.
A task made easy by a modern property management system, which will simplify operations and streamline the guest experience while reducing carbon emissions (Terence Ronson, HYB2018).
-Integrating sustainability into the hotel architecture. In building new properties, there is a “three-zero-concept” approach: using local construction materials and skills (zero kilometers), prioritizing energy management and lower emissions (zero carbon dioxide), and introducing life-cycle management into the building process (zero waste) (Matteo Thun, HYB2020).