A new report from the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) reveals that the hotel sector must reduce its carbon footprint by 90 percent by 2050 to play its part in keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. As COP23 (the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change) convenes in Bonn, Germany, to further discussions aimed at meeting the Paris Climate Agreement, ITP has revealed the huge contribution hotels must make to help curb climate change.
The report by Greenview, commissioned by ITP, shows that in order to manage the global increase in tourism over the coming decades, the hotel industry must reduce its absolute carbon emissions by 66 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050 to stay within the 2-degree threshold agreed at COP21. The report has been published to complement the launch of ITP’s Goals for 2030 which align the hotel sector’s sustainable activity with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The threshold is a quantifiable “science-based target” which forms the basis of ITP’s Goal on Carbon: “To drive sustainable growth for the future, ITP members embrace the ambition of science-based targets* and encourage the wider industry to join their collaboration to develop carbon reductions at scale.”
“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,” Fran Hughes, director of ITP, said, “The technology exists today to fully de-carbonize 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. 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.”
ITP’s Goals launched in September are a carefully constructed and practically achievable response to four of the core sustainability issues impacting responsible hospitality providers globally. They send a clear call to action to the wider industry about the critical importance of using the SDGs (also called the Global Goals) as a focal point to drive responsible business in hospitality.
Dr. Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) said, “For 25 years the hotel industry under ITP’s leadership has advanced sustainable tourism; developing tools and resources for hotels and lodgings around the world, sharing knowledge and working together for a more responsible future. ITP’s Goals are the next step to ensure continued sustainable development in our sector, setting clear aims for 2030, and bringing the hotel sector together to align with the Global Goals.”
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.”
Greenview’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 de-carbonize while protecting what travelers value. No other sector like tourism will play a role in literally shaping the future of our world.”
*A Science-Based Target is one adopted by a company to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
and is considered “science-based” if it is in line with the level of de-carbonization required to keep global
temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. It is based in scientific research and evidence.