Hospitality industry leaders from around the world identify multiple challenges

New environmental, social and governance (ESG) research conducted by King’s Business School in partnership with the Energy & Environment Alliance (EEA) underscores that the hotel and travel industry must move to become more environmentally and socially responsible.

The research involved 250 hotel leaders from around the world, all of whom shared insights on ESG issues, and the key finding of the effort was that there are “multiple concerns around the implementation of ESG measures, as well as regional differences in priorities.”

Survey participants identified several barriers to progress on the ESG front, including:

The proliferation of different reporting standards for ESG efforts.
Stakeholder skepticism and lack of commitment to ESG standards
Concerns about guest reaction to ESG measures
Lack of skills and knowledge both within the industry and among potential advisors.
For example, one research participant commented as part of the survey, “It is difficult to measure and compare performance and assess value. This makes it complicated to align key stakeholders and convince others with a proper payback calculation.”

What’s more, a significant 73% of leaders identified reporting and benchmarking as one of the top three areas in which they would like to see more ESG education for senior management in the hospitality sector.

Meanwhile, others raised the issue of conflicting priorities among hotel industry stakeholders. In that regard, one respondent said, “Most hotel brands focus on guest satisfaction and dissatisfaction, without looking at sustainability.”

In addition, many leaders shared concerns about the quality of ESG advice currently available to them, according to TravelPulse.

“It is sometimes difficult to find the right advisors who are knowledgeable and able to help companies think holistically, rather than focusing on a particular topic or certifications or labels,” said one participant.

The research also revealed that there are regional differences in priorities when it comes to ESG implementation and that European leaders emphasize energy-related initiatives more than their peers located in other regions.

“Industry leaders are keenly aware of the urgency of ESG issues and are clear that a common approach to addressing and reporting on ESG issues will be an important driver of change,” said Ufi Ibrahim, executive director of the Alliance for Energy and the Environment, a non-profit Coalition of investors, developers, asset managers and hotel operators working to transition the industry to Net Zero Carbon and ESG management.

“Developing a rigorous understanding of the issues and potential solutions across the industry is a critical part of that change process,” he added.



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