With sustainability and ESG high up on the agenda at the Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) in Dubai this week, we asked a number of industry partners how they are leading the change when it comes to sustainable tourism and hospitality.
Heat records, draught, floods, and forest fires this summer make it clear that we are living a climate emergency and that immediate and tangible action is needed to bring Tourism & Travel to Net Zero. The IPCCC (the UN climate scientist organization) confirmed in their 2022 report that in a ‘business as usual’ (BAU) scenario the world is heading for 3 degrees warming by the end of the century.
We need to act now towards Net Zero if we want to avoid this catastrophic scenario, and Radisson Hotel Group is leading this change as a long-standing sustainability pioneer in the hospitality industry. As one of the large international hotel companies, it is our duty to drive concrete action in our hotels, to involve guests and stakeholders such as hotel asset owners and guests in Responsible Travel.
Net Zero is a big goal but the good news is that it can be achieved, by any type and size of organization. The solutions we need for a 1.5° future are available today. Those who want to read more can consult Project Drawdown drawdown.org , the top 100 solutions to meet the Paris accord targets.
Earlier this year, at Radisson Hotel Group, we announced our ambition to be Net Zero by 2050 and we are finalizing our net-zero targets in line with the SBTi Net-Zero Standard. As part of this commitment, we also joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign and the UNFCCC Race to Zero to move the dial even further but we can’t do this on our own. This is why we fully stand behind and help develop the cross-industry Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality and Hotel Sustainability Basics initiative.
The Pathway encompasses four clear stages and practical tools that guide the industry towards a regenerative impact on the planet. The Hotel Sustainability Basics is
a common and transparent set of sustainability criteria to help the hospitality industry get started on essential actions for Planet and People. The Hotel Sustainability Basics framework has been defined ‘by the industry for the industry’ under the leadership of the World Travel & Tourism Council and is being adopted by thousands of hotels as a standard of reference for hotels and clients alike. The key objective is to create consistency across the industry and provide clear-to-recognize, easy-to-implement, and meaningful steps to accelerate sustainability at any given hotel, and we need to work together to achieve these goals.
Following the pandemic, we have seen a strong increase in travel, across both business and leisure. As we continue on this road to recovery, we are seeing a huge demand from both consumers and business travellers for eco-conscious options to minimize their carbon footprint.
Incidentally, over 90% of travelers indicate they want to travel responsibly but at the same time +70% state that it’s unclear what hotels are doing. We have been consistently making it easy for guests to ‘Do good by booking right’ and are integrating various options in the value proposition.
In 2019, we were the first hotel group in the world to launch our 100% Carbon Neutral Meetings where we automatically offset the carbon footprint of every meeting and event held in our hotels in EMEA and APAC. Since the launch, we have offset 37,800 tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking 6,500* petrol driven cars of the road at zero cost to our clients.
According to the 2022 Global EV Outlook, sales of electric cars (including fully electric and plug-in hybrids) doubled in 2021 to a new record of 6.6 million, with more now sold each week than in the whole of 2012. With this increased demand for electric vehicles, there is also an increased demand for charging points. In 2021, we recognized this need and established two key e-mobility partnerships. The first is with Allego, a leading pan-European provider, to bring EV charging solutions to all our European properties by 2025. The second partnership is with Sunfuel in India to equip our 100+ properties in the country with EV charging stations.
These are just some of the ways we are leading the change and movement to Net Zero. Net Zero may sound daunting, but it is a necessary and achievable target. The important thing is to get started.
After all, as philosopher Lao Tzu taught us: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”