Together, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Sustainable Hospitality Alliance unveiled their joint Hotel Sustainability Basics label at ITB Berlin 2023.
The aim is that by fulfilling 12 criteria in three categories, every hotel owner can actively set course for a sustainable future, regardless of size, location or corporate structure.
On condition the criteria are met within three years, companies will receive a seal of approval showing guests they are taking the sustainability concept seriously.
WTTC President Julia Simpson was impressed. “The tourism industry wants self-imposed sustainability criteria to encourage the entire hospitality industry to engage with this concept.” With this seal of approval every type of accommodation could show it was willing and could implement it as a bare minimum. Requirements include measuring and reducing energy and water consumption, programmes for re-using clothing, use of green cleaning agents, choice of vegetarian dishes, plastic avoidance as well as evidence of benefiting the community and reducing inequality.
The travel and tourism industry had for some time already been making a clear move in the direction of greater sustainability, Simpson said. At the same time many hotel companies still faced big challenges in this area, in particular due to financial hardship and staff shortages.
For that reason, the world’s hotel industry was coming together to determine decisive first steps which every hotel, regardless of size, resources and progress to date could and should undertake in order to establish a basic level of sustainability across the entire sector.
The criteria were intended as a first step on the path to gradually embracing sustainability which could then branch out in more ambitious directions such as the Pathway to Positive Hospitality of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, added: “Collectively, hospitality is a force not be underestimated. Our vision is that of a thriving and responsible hospitality sector that gives destinations back more than it takes.“
By pursuing the Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality with a holistic approach the aim was to bring people, planets, places and wealth together to create a better and more sustainable future for everyone“, Mandziuk said.
“Now is the time to act!“ agreed Inge Huijbrechts, global senior vice president, Sustainability, Security and Corporate Communications, Radisson Hotel Group: “A lot of guests would like to see corporate management be more sustainable, but many hotel owners have no idea where to start. That is where the seal of approval comes in.”