How hotels in Malaysia and globally can go back to sustainability basics

Implementing a linen reuse programme at hotels is one of the measures included in the initiative. — Pixabay

Sustainability is an important hallmark for the hospitality industry, and change needs to begin with the basics.

That consensus, which was reached by industry experts and environmental academics at the recent World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit 2022 in Manila, the Philippines, led to the launch of a new international sustainability initiative.

The Hotel Sustainability Basics by WTTC is a globally recognised and coordinated set of criteria that all hotels should implement as a minimum effort to drive responsible tourism.

At the summit, WTTC president Julia Simpson said the initiative will introduce sustainability measures within a minimum level for the next three years.

“Sustainability is non-negotiable but not every small hotel has access to the science on how to make a difference. This (initiative) gives everyone access to a global standard and provides consumers to travel with conference,” she said.

WTTC president Julia Simpson said the initiative will introduce sustainability measures within a minimum level for the next three years. — WTTCWTTC president Julia Simpson said the initiative will introduce sustainability measures within a minimum level for the next three years. — WTTC

Developed by the industry leaders, the initiative highlights 12 actions which are vital to hotel sustainability. These include reducing use of water and energy, reducing carbon emissions, reducing waste, implementing a linen reuse programme and using green cleaning products.

It also includes the elimination of plastic straws, stirrers, and single-use plastic water bottles, the implementation of bulk amenity dispensers, as well as certain measures than can benefit local communities.

During the summit, Simpson called upon hotel operators and other stakeholders around the world to officially support the initiative and work across their networks to implement the criteria.

“WTTC wants the hospitality industry to lead by example so that sustainability becomes the basic requirement used to drive change forward for this generation and the next,” she said.

It was a call that was reiterated by Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) chief executive officer Randy Durband.

“These Hotel Sustainability Basics are an excellent way for hotels to take the first step on their journey to sustainability,” he said.

According to him, some of these measures have been frequently mentioned by GSTC’s global partners as essential first steps.

“As such, GSTC supports the application of this programme and we encourage users that do not comply to them currently, to take steps to move quickly to do so,” he said.

Sustainable Hospitality Alliance chairperson Wolfgang M. Neumann said the initiative is a great tool for hotels that are just starting to map out their sustainability practices.

“By offering an understanding of the simplest steps hotels can take to become more sustainable, the Hotel Sustainability Basics will help to raise the base level of sustainability across the entire hospitality industry.

He added that the programme will enable every hotel to take a strategic and progressive approach to achieving a positive environmental impact, whatever their starting point.

WTTC’s Hotel Sustainability Basics has currently gained the support from several global hospitality 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 officer Federico J. González said is a step towards becoming net zero by 2050.

“These ambitious targets can only be reached by taking everyone in the hospitality industry on the sustainability journey. With the Hotel Sustainability Basics, we collectively define the common starting point accessible to all hotels and the industry framework to grow sustainable travel,” he said in a statement.

Collectively, the hospitality groups that have backed the initiative represent more than 50,000 hotels and hospitality brands around the world.

The WTTC Global Summit 2022, with its theme of Rediscovering Travel, brought together over a thousand delegates this year to discuss pressing issues related to travel and tourism.

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