Sustainability is an important feature of the hospitality industry, and change must start with the basics.
This consensus, which was reached by industry experts and environmental academics at the recent World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit 2022 in Manila, Philippines, led to the launch of a new international initiative for sustainable development.
The WTTC’s Hotel Sustainability Basics are a globally recognized and coordinated set of criteria that all hotels must implement as a minimum effort to foster responsible tourism.
At the summit, WTTC President Julia Simpson said the initiative would introduce sustainability measures at a minimum level for the next three years.
“Sustainability is non-negotiable, but not all small hotels have access to the science on how to make a difference. This (initiative) gives everyone access to a global standard and allows consumers to travel with a conference,” she said.
Developed by industry leaders, the initiative highlights 12 actions essential to hotel sustainability. These include reducing water and energy consumption, reducing carbon emissions, reducing waste, implementing a linen reuse program and using environmentally friendly cleaning products. .
It also includes the removal of plastic straws, stirrers and single-use plastic water bottles, the establishment of bulk hospitality product dispensers, as well as certain measures that can benefit local communities.
During the summit, Simpson called on hoteliers and other stakeholders around the world to officially support the initiative and work through their networks to implement the criteria.
“The WTTC wants the hospitality industry to lead by example so that sustainability becomes the baseline requirement used to drive change for this generation and the next,” she said.
It’s a call that was reiterated by the CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Randy Durband.
“These hotel sustainability basics are a great way for hotels to take the first step in their sustainability journey,” he said.
According to him, some of these measures were frequently mentioned by GSTC’s global partners as essential first steps.
“As such, GSTC supports the enforcement of this program and we encourage users who are not currently in compliance, to take steps to act quickly to do so,” he said.
Sustainable Hospitality Alliance President Wolfgang M. Neumann said the initiative is a great tool for hotels that are just beginning to define their sustainability practices.
“By providing an understanding of the simplest steps hotels can take to become more sustainable, the Hotel Sustainability Basics will help raise the baseline of sustainability across the hospitality industry.
He added that the program will enable each hotel to take a strategic and incremental approach to achieving a positive environmental impact, regardless of its starting point.
The WTTC Hotel Sustainability Foundations have currently gained support from several global hotel groups. These include Accor, Barcelo Hotel Group, Melia Hotels International, Louvre Hotels Group and Radisson Hotel Group, as well as the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Hotel Association of India.
Radisson Hotel Group chief executive Federico J. González said it’s a step towards net zero by 2050.
“These ambitious goals can only be achieved by leading all players in the hospitality industry on the path to sustainability. With the Hotel Sustainability Basics, we collectively define the common starting point accessible to all hotels and the industry framework for developing sustainable travel,” he said in a statement.
Collectively, the hotel groups that have supported the initiative represent more than 50,000 hotels and hotel brands worldwide.
The 2022 WTTC Global Summit, themed Rediscovering Travel, this year brought together more than a thousand delegates to discuss pressing issues related to travel and tourism.