“It’s not easy being green,” said Kermit the frog. It’s a lament we can empathise with despite ‘being green’ topping the priority list of business travelers across the globe. 87% of CWT’s customers surveyed last year said they wanted sustainability information provided to their traveling employees at the point-of sale. Now that business travel is well and truly taking off again, industry publication The Beat reports that domestic and short-haul business trips in North America and Europe are already back to 2019 levels – so too is pressure on the planet.
Hot on the heels of World Environment Day on Sunday 5 June 2022, many are wondering how we go forward in a more sustainable fashion.
That’s the subject of our latest podcast episode, ‘A green standard in hospitality’ featuring CWT’s Chief Growth Officer Belinda Hindmarsh and Kit Brennan, Co-founder and Director of award-winning carbon intelligence platform Thrust Carbon.
CWT became the first major global travel management platform to partner with Thrust Carbon to activate point-of-sale emissions data enabling travelers to make the most eco-friendly decision at the time of booking.
“Sustainability is very focused on airlines…but getting to ‘net zero’ means every part of the travel sector says Kit Brennan. “Looking at the hotel sector you start to see a myriad of things that all need to be worked out in tandem - from construction to food, amenities, single-use plastics and everything in a wider ESG (environmental, social and governance) sense. It’s mind-bogglingly large.”
There are great strides being made and much more to be done.
Three priorities can help the sector evolve.
Transparency - “It’s one thing if a hotel is measuring its carbon emissions but trying to find out can be difficult if there’s no public sharing,” says Brennan. “We have a lot of magic that happens behind the scenes to put together our hotel sustainability index but without accurate data on a per-property level, it can be difficult. We need to see something happen on an industry body level in a standardised way, and governments will need to step in to demand that hotels publicly share data.”
Inclusivity – “There are measures in place today but it’s voluntary and doesn’t necessarily include everything,” says CWT’s Belinda Hindmarsh. “Indeed, if the wider industry can get even more carbon data then you can really start educating customers at point-of-sale and evolve the discussion. It’s about expanding the methodology and having a system that everyone needs to report into,” adds Kit.
Built-in, not bolted on - “ I don’t think I’ve seen an RFP come through the door in two years where there hasn’t been questions about sustainability,” says Belinda. “Organisations are trying to figure out the sweet spot between cost, wellbeing and greener travel. I was shocked to learn that around 90% of our consulting engagements since Q4 last year were focused on responsible travel, getting the right hotels in the program and the wellbeing and green travel balance. Sustainability needs to be built into the travel program, not seen as a bolt-on.”
For more on evolving sustainability in the hotel sector and what you can do as a traveler listen to ‘A green standard in hospitality.’