AccomNews, Summer 2024

Page 38

Pathway to net zero: A guide for accommodation providers By Sarah Davison, Industry Reporter

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s 2008 Responding to Global Challenges report, the hotel sector is responsible for around one percent of the carbon emissions in the environment. Locally, recent research has shown that an overnight stay in an Australian hotel produces an alarming 35kg of CO2 on average. The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance’s Global Hotel Decarbonisation Report states that the sector needs to reduce carbon emissions by at least 66 percent by 2030 and up to 90 percent per room by year-end 2050. Hotels for Trees Australia manager Hugo van Roermund says that globally, there is an increasing guest demand for more sustainable ways to travel and places to stay. “On the one hand this is triggered by an increased awareness amongst travellers of the global environmental challenges and issues,” he said. “On the other hand, this is the

result of business travellers wanting to book, meet and stay in more sustainable hotels as the result of their company strategy or increasing push on ESG.” Plastic Free Southeast Asia and Australia founder Sarah Rhodes believes that embracing sustainability is increasingly becoming key to long term success. “Two of the biggest reasons I see for hotels to move toward sustainable practices are that investors and the workforce are demanding this now more than ever,” she explained. “The finance sector is making significant shifts and investors want to know that they're putting their money into sustainable and ethical businesses. This is probably the most impactful shift I see for the sector right now. “Equally, people want to work for places that align with their values. The tourism sector took a huge hit during the pandemic and many hotels are still struggling to build their workforce back up. I predict that sustainable hotels will retain those staff a lot longer.” When considering the environmental impact of your hospitality business, it can be daunting to know where to begin.

Image courtesy of Vendella

However, Ms Rhodes believes that engaging with your team and creating a culture of collaboration is the best place to start. “I believe that the most important area of focus should be with team engagement and awareness raising. By finding the opportunities to reduce waste as a team, the implementation will have a lot more impact,” she explained. “Food waste and single-use plastics are highly visible and impactful areas to start with, with energy and water consumption being two of the highest contributors to a hotel's footprint.” Mr van Roermund adds that finding initiatives that can get guests involved adds another

38 AccomNews - Summer 2024


layer to your pathway to net zero. “By informing and inspiring and providing them easy options to contribute, guests will be able to go along on the sustainability journey with you,” he explained. “Embrace initiatives that are simple and effective and allow guests to make a small adjustment (such as skipping a day of cleaning and planting a tree instead) that has a measurable effect.” When it comes to enduring success with sustainability, both Ms Rhodes and Mr van Roermund agree that it has to start at the top and involve the whole team. “The key to success is the hotel leadership being intrinsically motivated to do the right thing,” Mr van Roermund said. P40

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