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Hotels climate change commitment means 90% reduction in carbon

Hotels must cut carbon by 90%

Hotels must cut carbon by 90%

The hotel sector needs to reduce its carbon footprint by 90% to meet climate change commitments according to a report from the International Tourism Partnership (ITP).

The Hotel Global Decarbonisation Report [1] released today in the week before COP23 climate discussions, reveals the true extent of change required by the sector if it is to play its part in keeping global warming below the 2 degrees Celsius target made in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Commissioned by ITP as part of its work on the ITP Goals and Vision for 2030 [2], the report by Greenview says the sector needs to aim for a 66% reduction in carbon by 2030 against a 2010 baseline, and a 90% reduction by 2050. It calls for hotel groups to adopt 'science-based targets' for carbon reduction; a methodology which uses accurate assessments of CO2 consumption and growth forecasts to set targets which will achieve the 2-degree cap on global warming.

Announcing the report, ITP director Fran Hughes said, "These figures are significant, but we believe they are achievable. They are representative of the level of reduction the whole hotel sector needs to make in order to decouple its growth, from growth in emissions. The reductions individual companies need to make may vary, dependent on where they are located and their infrastructure. That's why we're encouraging hotels to develop their own science-based target.

"The technology exists today to fully decarbonise the sector. Solving the issue of climate change becomes how to accelerate the solutions which are currently available. To do so, hotel industry leaders will need to support an evolution of thought and approach to make it happen through carbon pricing and how projects are financed."

The report calls for hotel groups to shift the current culture of progressing sustainability projects only if return on investment (ROI) can be demonstrated, and instead to act because it's the right thing to do.

It asks: 'What is the ROI on the marketing department? What is the ROI on the CFO? What is the ROI on charitable giving? It is likely that sustainability is the only area that is viewed under the lens of needing to prove ROI as a line-item rather than being viewed as a core component of the company. If carbon reduction is only dependent on obtaining a satisfactory ROI based on reduced cost and from sources using a traditional cost of capital), then science-based targets are unlikely to be realised.'

The report highlights a number of actions and new approaches hotels will need to adopt if they're serious about mitigating their contribution to climate change.

Hughes said, "ITP's members support our vision and our four ITP Goals which tackle carbon, water, youth unemployment and human rights. We are supporting our members with research and best practice sharing to build their capacity to develop science-based targets. Going forward we want to explore opportunities to collaborate where we can deliver carbon reductions at scale."

Paul Simpson, CEO & co-founder of CDP, the Carbon Disclosure Project, supported ITP's Goal on carbon saying, "The work ITP is doing to promote science-based target setting and to support its members and the hotel industry to get involved is enormously valuable. Science Based Targets help companies understand exactly what they need to do to help keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius. They provide a roadmap for emissions reductions that will put the world on a sustainable, low-carbon path."

Wolfgang M. Neumann, ITP Governing Council Chair and industry thought-leader, commented, "ITP believes that the hotel industry can be a force for good and make a positive contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and to the COP21 climate agreements. Our vision for 2030 is for sustainable growth and a fairer future for all. We understand that bigger impacts can be achieved faster through the industry working together at scale; for this reason we invite other hotel companies to join with us in our commitment to these four critical goals."

Report author and Greenview [3]'s founder, Eric Ricaurte, added, "We all share one planetary KPI: 2-degree temperature rise or less. Now translating that to each industry and company, we can shift focus toward the opportunities to decarbonise while protecting what travellers value. No other sector like tourism will play a role in literally shaping the future of our world."

Greenview developed the Hotel Science-Based Target Estimation Method for ITP's members to enable them to calculate their own target. To learn more about ITP's Goals, to download the report, or to get more information on ITP and how it works with the world's leading hotel groups on sustainable growth and collaboration for faster impacts as responsible businesses, visit the website [4].