A speech given by James Davis at the Hotel & Resort Innovation Expo
10th October 2023, London ExCel
Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I’m James Davis, the Sales Manager at Hotel Suppliers, the world’s biggest online marketplace for the hotel and hospitality industry.
Today, I’m here to discuss the remarkable journey we’ve embarked on towards reducing carbon emissions within the hospitality sector.
Did you know that the wealthiest 1% of the world’s population is responsible for over half of the world’s recreational carbon emissions? In stark contrast, the poorest half of the global population contributes merely 7%. What if I told you that as leaders in the realm of luxury recreation and hospitality, we possess the unparalleled potential to steer our planet away from the brink of a climate crisis?
The Urgency of Change
The urgency of this change is not lost on our industry. In fact, quite the opposite. Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016, we’ve been diligently working to diminish our significant ecological footprint. We comprehend the grave consequences of our carbon emissions, from rising sea levels to escalating global temperatures.
Having said this, it’s no secret that the hotel sector suffered a severe blow during the pandemic. As travel and hospitality ground to a halt, many independent establishments struggled to survive. When the world reopened, priorities shifted, and numerous sustainable initiatives were reversed in favor of more cost-effective alternatives essentially putting us back at square one.
Today, the industry has not only recovered but is flourishing with relentless innovation emanating not only from hoteliers but also from the companies that supply them. From state-of-the-art EV infrastructure to zero-waste amenities, renewable energy sources, and eco-friendly architecture, our industry’s foremost scientists, engineers, and thinkers are ensuring that we can continue to offer top-tier luxury experiences while significantly reducing our colossal carbon footprint.
We stand at a tipping point, and the data clearly indicates that the key to reducing emissions lies within the luxury sector. Here’s how we can achieve it:
The Three Pillars of Sustainability
Hotel sustainability can be divided into three vital pillars: Operational Efficiency, Waste Minimization, and Guest Engagement.
Operational efficiency involves the integration of smart energy management systems and hotel infrastructure. Companies like SMS provide comprehensive solutions, including solar energy storage, smart meters, and EV infrastructure options. These solutions enable hoteliers to embrace planet-saving alternatives that are both future-proof and economically viable. With consultancy teams offering tailored assessments and guidance, the integration of renewable energy systems is becoming increasingly accessible within the industry.
The next pillar is Waste Minimization. In the luxury sector, we aim not to simply “minimize” but to shift and elevate practices to more sustainable alternatives. Companies like SNOAP, Repurpose, and Bamboovement showcase this shift, offering zero-waste solid soap dispensers, compostable hotel tableware, and bamboo amenity kits respectivley. These products help reduce the substantial carbon emissions associated with waste management.
Finally, we have Guest Engagement. Eco-friendly practices, dining options, and products can foster a culture of sustainability within establishments, educating and involving guests in emission-reducing efforts. Ecotel Consultancy is a prominent player in this field, offering eco-certification for hotels and expert advice on reducing carbon footprints within hospitality systems. Adopting practices of vegan cuisine, waste segregation, informative packaging, and eco-friendly architecture can make a substantial impact. Recent studies indicate that 78% of luxury travelers are willing to pay more for sustainable accommodation, so embracing these pillars not only reduces emissions but can also increase revenue and occupancy.
Our Role: Redefining the Hotel Supply Paradigm
Hotel Suppliers stands as the world’s most widely-used hotel procurement platform and marketplace, and it falls upon us to ensure a green future for the hospitality industry. Our goal is to reshape the supply and demand paradigm to reflect more sustainable industry practices.
We work diligently to provide vetted, high-quality solutions to hoteliers in a market often saturated with inconsistent offerings. We ensure that suppliers align not only with hoteliers’ budget and quality requirements but also with their emission reduction goals. As an increasing number of LEED-certified, zero-carbon, and eco-resort hotels enter our procurement process, we are redefining the supply chain with a strong focus on accessible and genuine sustainable solutions.
We shoulder the sustainability burden for many of the hoteliers who utilize our services, making it easier to find legitimate solutions in a world filled with greenwashing and false statistics. On the flip side, we offer a platform for smaller, sustainable businesses to compete with industry giants that often have much larger carbon footprints. These companies can gain a foothold in what can otherwise be an exceedingly inaccessible industry.
Your Role: Shaping the Future of the Industry
The hotel industry’s emissions are poised to decline thanks to the surge in renewable energy solutions, zero-waste amenities, and more. However, one thing remains abundantly clear: we cannot achieve this alone. We provide the backdrop, the paradigm, and the landscape, but ultimately, it is your platform—sustainable hotels and suppliers—you hold the power to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint.
With this in mind, I would like to personally reach out to any truly sustainable companies that might find a fitting place in our industry, whether they specialize in zero-waste amenities or EV infrastructure. I invite you to inquire about joining our efforts.
I extend my gratitude to the sustainable hoteliers who are spearheading crucial decisions within the industry, creating a demand for solutions that result in significantly lower carbon emissions across the industry. Let’s be part of the solution and transform that 50% emission into a resounding 0.