Hotel industry collaborates to launch first-ever global sustainability goals for sector

Food and drink cuts across many industry sectors and tourism, hospitality and the hotel industry is one such area. For this reason it was interesting to note the launch this week of the first-ever hotel industry-wide global commitment to sustainability.

Launched by the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), the new initiative has set sustainability goals aimed at helping employees working in the industry and its supply chains as well as focusing on environmental objectives.

ITP members have agreed upon four main goals as the focus for their sustainability activities up to 2030. These are youth employment, carbon, water and human rights.

While these broad goals are not food and drink specific I would assume these will impact on how hotels address their food offerings, food supply and procurement practices if they are to achieve their goals – for example, there is already plenty of activity in this area by hotels not least in relation to sourcing seafood.

Wolfgang M. Neumann, ITP Governing Council Chair and industry thought-leader speaking about the new global goals said: “ITP believes that the hotel industry can be a force for good and make a positive contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and to the COP21 climate agreements. Our vision for 2030 is for sustainable growth and a fairer future for all. We understand that bigger impacts can be achieved faster through the industry working together at scale; for this reason we invite other hotel companies to join with us in our commitment to these four critical goals.”

In more detail the four goals are:

  • Youth employment: The hotel industry regards itself as well-equipped to offer meaningful work and career development options to young people, as it is growing at 4% each year, and currently providing around one in ten of all jobs. ITP members will aim to collectively impact one million young people under the age of 25 through their own employability programmes by 2030, thereby doubling the industry’s current impact on global youth unemployment.
  • Carbon: This goal wants hotel businesses to embrace science-based targets, and encourage the wider industry to join in reducing emissions at scale – the hotel industry must reduce its absolute carbon emissions by 66% by 2030 and 90% by 2050 to stay within the 2˚C threshold agreed at COP21.
  • Water: The aim is to see the industry embed water stewardship programmes to reduce the number of people affected by water scarcity; and improve water-use efficiency and identify ways to address water scarcity – for example, ITP members will be encouraged to use the Hotel Water Measurement Initiative, a common methodology for measuring and reporting on the water footprint of a hotel stay or meeting.
  • Human rights: This goal aims to raise awareness of human rights risks in the hotel industry, embed human rights into corporate governance, and address risks arising in the labour supply chain and during hotel construction, and includes fighting modern slavery and human trafficking.

The ITP is a member-based organisation with the aim to drive responsible business in the hospitality industry and is an initiative from the UK’s Business in the Community. Its members collectively manage 26,000 hotels and include major international hotel chains such as Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Diamond Resorts International, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, NH Hotel Group, Soneva, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd, Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces, Whitbread and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.