Leading hospitality brands have agreed on a shared vision for a prosperous and responsible sector that gives back to the destination more than it takes, signalling the dawn of a new era for the once-fragmented hospitality industry.
Ambitions include development of a shared definition of sustainability standards
The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance has unveiled its bold five-year strategy which will translate into action on the ground, leveraging market power to catalyse system change. The Alliance’s vision for Net Positive Hospitality will be achieved through a number of initiatives including introducing standard sustainability metrics across the industry.
Announced yesterday (15th May 2023) at the Alliance’s Summit in Berlin, the strategy adopts a holistic approach to inspire the industry and positively impact the environment, communities, and the economy- giving back more than we take. Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance, Glenn Mandziuk led the strategic planning session over the last 12 months, working with donor members, external partners and systems change consultancy Systemiq.
As part of the strategy the Alliance aims to implement a benchmarking process to track progress on the Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality and facilitate industry dialogue to develop a shared definition of hospitality sustainability standards, harmonise metrics, and streamline reporting requirements. This process allows the hospitality industry to hold itself accountable and work towards a common goal.
The Pathway for Net Positive Hospitality was unveiled last year with the aim for the industry to go beyond Net Zero and impact positively on the environment, communities and destinations it operates in. This includes across facilities and supply chain, protecting and regenerating nature and culture, generating good jobs and growth, and working with local destinations to build resilience to climate impacts.
With a growing network of member hotels and resorts, the Alliance, which was founded over 30 years ago, now represents over 50,000 properties and 7 million rooms globally, meaning that the Alliance has increasing influence and leadership in the sector.
One of the strategic initiatives includes the establishment of a Net Positive Pathway which is an action-focused programme outlining shared visions and actions, combined with a shared definition of sustainability standards. This will be supported by an Academy platform to equip the industry to translate vision into action.
To drive large-scale change the strategy will see the launch of Hospitality High Ambition Movers. This initiative brings together the most ambitious donor members of the Alliance to forge bold commitments and partnerships that leverage their market power and investment capacity to drive catalytic shifts towards net positive.
Similarly, the founding of Net Positive Accelerators is aimed to inspire the Alliance’s members and leverage their footprints and operations to launch collaborative pilot initiatives targeting systemic issues in specific destinations. The aim is to capture critical learnings and potential for scaling and replication, which will systematically disseminate to the broader industry.
One such example of strategy in action is a project in Africa focused on improving supply chains in the industry. The project is supported by the Special Initiative "Decent Work for a Just Transition" of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), which also operates under the brand Invest for Jobs.
The project includes local supplier training, hotel guidance and impact reporting on fair employment, diversity and environment. There is tremendous potential for hotels to source more through local supply chains, thereby increasing their positive impact in local communities as well as potentially improving on their own environmental and social sustainability.
The strategy’s five-year timeline means the Alliance is adopting a phased approach and leveraging a network of partners will be critical to target resources effectively and drive widespread impact – unlocking transformative results over time. By 2028 the Alliance aims to;
- Have all mainstream private and public leaders convinced of economic opportunity in Net Positive
- Equip business teams/talent to embed Net Positive into strategy
- Pioneer nature and people positive solutions that are competitive with incumbent alternatives; innovations securing investment
- Launch Policymaker engagement; prompting meaningful reform
- Advance partner collaboration to advance Net Positive in destinations worldwide, inspired by opportunities unlocked within the past five years
Sustainable Hospitality Alliance Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Mandziuk, comments: “I am delighted the industry has come together to back our shared vision to go beyond net zero. We look forward to implementing our five-year strategy which includes bold initiatives such as the Net Positive Hospitality Academy and standardised metrics for the industry. This strategy can drive large-scale, tangible change, creating net positive leadership. Our environment and communities will undoubtedly benefit from this strategy, and I foresee a prosperous and contributory future for the global hospitality sector.”
Jeremy Oppenheim, Senior Partner at Systemiq, who delivered the keynote speech at the Alliance's summit and co-developed the strategy says; “We know that the travel & tourism industry could cut emissions by 40%, as soon as 2030. And while much of the industry is still not moving fast enough, momentum around sustainable hospitality, and the work of the Alliance, can drive that industry-wide transition. Hospitality has a rare opportunity for outsize impact, as one of the few industries that connects to both global industries and local communities through its supply-chain. Collaboration is critical to leverage this opportunity and overcome barriers to change: the Alliance provides a critical platform for hospitality players to partner across sectors and destinations to achieve net zero.”
By fostering collaboration, creating partnerships, and working together towards shared goals, the Alliance has built a strong network of donor members, partners, and stakeholders committed to sustainability in the hospitality industry. This integrated approach involves establishing an Executive Committee; expanding the Senior Advisory Council; creating a Youth Leaders Council, Standing Committees, and Regional Chapters; and integrating with the Sustainable Markets Initiative Hospitality and Tourism Taskforce.