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How eco-certification is helping the hospitality sector prioritise their ESG commitments

Simon Catterick, Founder and Chief Exec of mission : net zero

Hotel Investors, Owners and Operators are increasingly embedding ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations into every stage of a hotel investment lifecycle, from due diligence to acquisitions and from leasing to asset management, and subsequent exit strategy.

Similarly, the opportunity to report and disclose ESG performance attributes of individual assets, portfolios and institutions is increasing, with regulatory disclosure requirements and pressures also rising.

As ESG considerations become increasingly integral to investment lifecycle decisions, we are seeing more and more hospitality clients turning to internationally recognised certification to demonstrate credible engagement with ESG factors. These are certifications or eco-labels awarded to hospitality businesses (and in our case, hotels and serviced accommodation providers) that meet specific environmental performance criteria related to energy efficiency, water conservation, materials usage, and overall environmental impact.

This is welcome news for investment stakeholders

Certification for the asset performance can mitigate risks associated with changing environmental regulations and increasing awareness of sustainability issues. Investors with certified sustainable properties are better positioned to navigate evolving market dynamics and meet the expectations of stakeholders.

Asset-level certifications covering a broad range of ESG factors for the built environment are in wide use. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is widely recognised globally

  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is prevalent in the US

  • The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB Green), recognised in the US

  • The Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star rating.

  • Certain single-issue certifications are also available, such as WELL and Fitwel, focused on health and well-being, as well as an increasing number of net zero carbon buildings standards developed by individual country members of the World Green Building Council.

Investors should ensure that certification is not limited only to the design of a building but extends also to an assessment of its actual performance, ensuring both design and operational performance are certified by the relevant entities.

Badging the green wave for UKHospitality

Likewise, certifications exist to validate authentic ESG achievements mandated by hotel Investors, owners and operators. We work with passionate hotel ‘Green Teams’ who are responsible for implementing their ESG roadmaps and keeping departments accountable so that targets can be met.

These roadmaps offer practical, strategic frameworks and should they wish to work towards certification, a successful audit is a testament to these hotels that meet rigorous environmental, sustainability and social impact standards. Notable hotel sector certifications that are recognised internationally include, but are not limited to

  • Green Key International

  • Green Tourism

  • Green Globe

  • EarthCheck

  • Greengage ECOSmart

Choosing the most appropriate eco-label accreditation for your hotel involves considering sustainability objectives, regional relevance, and operational requirements.

Sustainable Hospitality Alliance has recently launched the Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality which, while not a certification process, promotes environmental and social responsibility within the industry. It focuses on minimising negative impacts, conserving resources, and fostering positive contributions to local communities. It aims to create a regenerative impact, where the hospitality sector not only reduces its carbon footprint but actively enhances the well-being of the environment and society. Like eco-label accreditation, it provides a framework for responsible business practices, reduces operational costs through efficiency measures, and helps a hotel play a proactive role in creating positive social and environmental impacts.

Ultimately, gaining certification for the asset performance and management & operational accomplishment of individual assets and portfolios offers a competitive edge, cost savings, and risk management benefits for the hotel sector, whilst contributing to global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Apart from meeting the criteria, we have all been enlightened to more sustainable and eco-friendly working practises, with the whole team becoming more aware of the environmental impact of what we do” says Louise Bird – Operations Manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Oxford City Centre.

This is the most echoed feedback we receive from hotel General Managers and Green Team Leaders and sums up why eco-certification is rising in popularity.

mission : net zero helps clients to reduce their business’ impact on the environment.

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