The voice for environmental & social responsibility in the hospitality industry
The International Tourism Partnership drives the responsible tourism business agenda
The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) brings together the world’s leading international hotel companies to provide a voice for environmental and social responsibility in the industry. We work to demonstrate in a very practical way that environmental and social responsibility makes good business sense. ITP does this by highlighting best practice, offering a range of practical products and programmes and tackling emerging sustainability issues through its collaborative working groups.
The hotel industry leads the way on consistent carbon measurement
There are very few industries in which competitors have come together and collaborated to address the problem of inconsistent carbon reporting. Despite increasing concerns that carbon reporting is a ‘tick box’ exercise, non-comparable and ultimately informs little about the actual positive change a company is making, collaboration for the sake of a solution often seems a step too far.
The global hotel industry is proving that it’s not. The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI), created by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and International Tourism Partnership (ITP), is the first consistent approach to reporting in the industry.
With members of both organisations being fundamental in its development the methodology has been created by the industry, for the industry and has consequently proved both relevant and simple to implement. As one ITP member comments, "HCMI looks simple, but a huge amount of effort went into making it simple so that everyone can use it".
The methodology has been developed to be robust enough to meet global carbon reporting standards but also practical enough for any hotel to implement. The voluntary and free measurement is flexible and user-friendly, designed to be applied to any hotel, from huge casino hotels to small bed and breakfasts.
At the recent WTTC Annual Summit in Abu Dhabi, Bill Clinton acknowledged the importance of HCMI in his keynote address, stating that the travel industry has already started to take on the environmental agenda and that he was delighted to see the development of HCMI, thanking all companies involved for their collective efforts on it.
The theme at this year’s WTTC Annual Summit was ‘a time for leadership’ and Bill Clinton praised what the tourism industry has achieved to date. As the voice for sustainability and responsibility in the hospitality industry, and a facilitator of collaboration and leadership, the International Tourism Partnership and its 16 members have played a key role in these achievements through practical programmes like HCMI. Members continually put aside individual interests for the common good.
As well as enabling consistent reporting, HCMI offers a real chance to advance awareness of environmental impacts and help people start to manage these better. Carbon reporting is moving from something which companies do on a voluntary basis to a legal requirement and companies who prepare early can be ahead of the game.
Robert McCann, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Environmental Sustainability at InterContinental Hotels Group states the three main benefits of having a common methodology across the industry to be enabling fairer comparison, saving time and providing greener meetings. He goes on to comment,
“IHG has built HCMI 1.0 into our online sustainability programme IHG Green Engage, which enables our hotels to measure, manage and reduce their environmental impacts and includes over 200 green solutions for our hotels to implement. Providing hotels have up-to-date utility and fuel data in IHG Green Engage and correct information about the hotel such as floor areas, then the carbon calculations are done for them by IHG Green Engage. Therefore, hotels are finding HCMI 1.0 very easy to use because we've been able to automate it for them – which was one of our key objectives when participating in this process. HCMI 1.0 will only be successful if it's used at scale, and embedding in our tool enables just that.”
WTTC and ITP member companies have agreed to have HCMI in place across their portfolios by the 2014 RFP season which is June 2013.
Fran Hughes, Head of Programmes at ITP comments, “We are working hard to embed the methodology and achieve maximum take up. We hope to increase the ‘supply’ of information by reaching out to other hotel groups about HCMI, as well as to travel management companies and global distribution systems to ensure they are aware that carbon footprint information is available and making sure it can be provided to the customer in the most straightforward format.”
In order to achieve consistency across the industry ITP have recently engaged with existing travel trade associations and certification schemes. So far HCMI has achieved significant buy in from, amongst others, the Green Industry Meeting Council, American Hotel & Lodging Association, Ecompter, Green Tourism Business Scheme and the Irish Green Hospitality Programme.
For more information see http://www.tourismpartnership.org/what-we-do/products-programmes/hotel-carbon-measurement-initiative. You can request the methodology, free of charge, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) brings together the world’s leading international hotel companies to provide a voice for environmental and social responsibility in the industry. We work to demonstrate in a very practical way that environmental and social responsibility makes good business sense. ITP does this by highlighting best practice, offering a range of practical products and programmes and tackling emerging sustainability issues through its collaborative working groups. There are 16 members of ITP: American Express, Carlson Rezidor, Diamond Resorts, Fairmont, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Kempinski, Marriott, NH Hoteles, Orient-Express, Starwood, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Whitbread and Wyndham Worldwide.
JANUARY 2013 - For 35 young adults in Mumbai 2013 is a year of great expectations. Having successfully completed the six-month Youth Career Initiative programme, they begin a life full of more opportunity and choice.
As graduate Rohit Gupta, now employed at the Hyatt Regency hotel puts it, ‘the Youth Career Initiative has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me.’
With 75 million youth looking for work worldwide, youth unemployment is a global problem. India is particularly affected, since 50% of its population is under 25 years old. At the same time, businesses lack access to skilled workers, an issue that is widespread in the developing world and can be detrimental to business growth. One programme that closes this gap is the Youth Career Initiative (YCI), run by the International Tourism Partnership.
YCI works with local charities to identify disadvantaged young people, who have completed high school education but have limited or no opportunities of finding employment or continuing education, and then places them in the YCI six-month education programme. The programme has been designed by YCI and is delivered in partnership with the international hotel industry, involving over 750 hours of combined classroom-based and practical training. In India alone Courtyard Mumbai by Marriott, the Four Seasons Mumbai, the Hyatt Regency Mumbai, the JW Marriott Mumbai, the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, the Park Navi Mumbai and the Trident Bandra Kurla Mumbai are all participating in the programme.
The programme is designed to provide students with transferable skills, work experience and job opportunities whilst making good business sense for the hotel companies involved. YCI not only feeds into the hotel groups’ corporate social responsibility targets but also allows them to grow and nurture a pool of committed and loyal staff.
The wider community also benefits. When a YCI graduate is offered a job at the end of the education programme, their income has a positive effect on an average of four additional people in their family. And so the socio-economic impact of the scheme works like a ripple effect throughout disadvantaged communities.
YCI piloted its first India programme in Mumbai in June 2012. Since the six-month programme finished in November, all of the graduates have found employment, with many receiving two or three job offers. They are now working at the participating hotel properties, independent restaurant chains, cafés, and other hotels in the city. One student has gone back to complete his education and is eager to join the hotel industry later on. This 100% success rate was reached within merely one week of the course finishing.
Ms. Majima, Training Manager at Trident Bandra Kurla, says that YCI has given them the chance to get their own hotel staff engaged: ‘The trainers at the hotel felt involved knowing they would transform these kids into something fabulous after six-months. Of course we did have our little ups and downs, highlights of happiness, a little sulking and moments of celebration. This has truly been a rewarding experience for us.’
The Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel hosted the graduation ceremony where the proud students were cheered on by their families and friends, their mentors from the 7 participating hotels and other supporting organisations. Saeid Heidari, General Manager of the Renaissance adds: ‘It’s great to see the transformation in these young people from the day they first walked in to the hotel and today. This programme adds great value to the lives of these youth and we will continue to support YCI.’
The pilot was delivered with the support of a local not-for-profit, the Kherwadi Social Welfare Association, which has been working with underprivileged youth for almost 100 years. Kherwadi was responsible for the recruitment of the participants, the monitoring of the programme and for identifying job opportunities for the graduates.
The majority of students on the programme come from the Dharavi Slums area, where International Tourism Partnership’s Director, Stephen Farrant, recently went on an enlightening Reality Tour. One of Asia’s largest slums, Dharavi is thought to be home to over 1 million people in just 2 sq. km and its small-scale industries turn over an impressive US$ 665 million a year. Commenting on his tour, Stephen appreciated being given the opportunity to see for himself where YCI participants have grown up, ‘Dharavi was full of real energy, creativity and dignity, despite the very obvious hardships and constraints.’ Summer Starr, Executive Director of Reality Gives later commented, ‘I was thoroughly impressed with the YCI graduation - our girls really blossomed in the 6 months they were in the program.’
To find out more about the experiences of the students, mentors and partners participating in the India pilot, watch the latest YCI video.
YCI is currently running in 12 countries, India being its latest addition. Each year, 57 leading hotels empower over 450 young people. Globally, 85% of graduates either go into employment or into further education. YCI is looking to grow in India with the next programme planned for New Delhi. Many Indian hotels have seen the value of this initiative and are keen to participate.
Stephen Farrant, Director of International Tourism Partnership reflects back on 20 years of ITP leading the sustainable and responsible agenda in the hotel industry.
It was in the wake of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the original Rio Earth Summit) that the International Hotels Environment Initiative, now known as the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), was formed. Over the last two decades, ITP has grown and evolved as part of the International Business Leaders Forum, a not-for-profit registered in the UK and US, and with offices in China, India and Russia.
20 years on, this is a good moment to reflect on what has been achieved up to now, and what still remains to be done.
1. What is ITP?
ITP is a unique industry partnership, whose role is to act as the voice for environmental and social responsibility in the global hospitality industry. The hospitality businesses that established ITP recognised that they had a choice to make. They could either choose to ignore the environmental and social implications of their businesses and pursue economic development at all costs. Or they could use their collective might to find and communicate ways of doing business differently. And so ITP was born.
While the precise language used may have changed over the years, the mission of this small not-for-profit organisation with a global reach has remained remarkably constant. Back in the early 1990s the ‘sustainability’ agenda was in its infancy, whereas today every major company has a corporate responsibility function, and ‘green’ initiatives are ubiquitous. So what have been the accomplishments, lessons and developments along the way that have kept the partnership together for so long?
2. What have we learned over the years?
When tackling some of the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges, finding the best solutions that already exist and then taking them to scale remains the holy grail for many organisations, whether they be businesses, NGOs, Governments or multi-national agencies. It has often been said that if we took the best in class and made it the norm tomorrow, we would be half way there already. ITP has always had a key role in highlighting and encouraging best practice in environmental and social responsibility across the industry, and that role continues to this day.
When asked what ITP has contributed to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Alex Leclerc, Associate Director Global Citizenship EAME, acknowledged that ‘ITP has been a valuable platform for best practices – this has been a source of inspiration and motivation, strengthening our commitment to doing the right thing for the environment and communities in which we operate.’ Founding member and Chairman Ian Carter of Hilton Worldwide adds ‘we’ve enjoyed membership for many years; we feel that ITP has represented our industry very well on a number of issues that actually pertained to all of the members rather than individual companies.’
However, over the years we have also learned that best practice alone is not enough to drive real change. There has to be action to match the words. So ITP has also developed a range of practical opportunities for companies (at whatever stage they may be on their sustainability journey) to engage with the big issues and take the next step forwards. Examples include our Youth Career Initiative (YCI), Going Green, the “Environmental Management for Hotels” and “Sustainable Siting, Design and Construction” publications, and more recently, the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (“HCMI”), a major collaborative programme that ITP leads in partnership with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Yvo de Boer, formerly Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and now Special Global Advisor, Climate Change & Sustainability at KMPG, commented on HCMI that “this initiative ensures that hotels are aligned in their approach to carbon measurement, which is a vital step in addressing the challenge.”
And on the Youth Career Initiative, Catalin Popa, National Director World Vision says "World Vision Romania is proud to work together with YCI in facilitating a practical education for a new generation of young men and women of disadvantaged backgrounds who otherwise would have few opportunities."
Inge Huijbrechts, Director of Responsible Business at The Rezidor Hotel Group recently commented that, “ITP gets people around a table to discuss sustainability openly, whilst also coming up with practical solutions. This is unique; in the industry organizations of the motor industry sustainability was on the agenda mostly from a government relations perspective, but here you see genuine exchange and a platform for sharing information.”
And more than this, we also know that, in some areas of the broad, complex and fast-moving sustainability agenda, there may not always be suitable best practice in existence that we can point to. That is one of the reasons why ITP is also now putting an increasing emphasis on forming and co-ordinating a range of thematic working groups, so that through collaboration we can work with the industry to co-create new practical solutions (for example, in areas such as water, supply chain and human trafficking), where none may currently exist.
Ed Fuller, former President of Marriott International adds ‘What’s unique about ITP is the consolidation of the competitive membership and the cooperative spirit they have displayed in all efforts, alongside the acceptance of ITP and partnerships by other organizations such as WTO and WTTC.’ Which is an opinion shared by those organisations on the other side of the coin; Neill Wilkins from Staff Wanted Initiative, a joint project between the Institute of Human Rights and Business and Anti-Slavery International added ‘We were very pleased with the level of engagement at the UK government roundtable on human trafficking and it certainly seems that ITP has played no small part in organising the hotel industry around this agenda.’
3. What have been some of the milestones along the way?
4. Five lessons in developing a business-led sustainability agenda
a. You can take a horse to water...
As has been noted previously, no matter how compelling a case study or a particular example of best practice may be, these things alone are rarely sufficient to drive action or lead to real change. For example, some of ITP’s publications have gained widespread recognition and acclaim as points of reference for the industry, but any argument can be easily overlooked if it is not supported by some of the points that follow.
b. Engage with and involve your audience
The hospitality industry is above all else a people business, so engagement has to be the first step in achieving any kind of success. One of the most effective areas of ITP’s work has been its increasing focus in recent years on collaborative working groups. Topics are identified jointly with member companies, and have ranged from subjects as diverse as human trafficking and carbon measurement. How can one NGO have depth of technical expertise across such a broad agenda? Well, ITP doesn’t always try to; our focus is on our partnering and facilitation skills, underpinned of course by strong industry and subject area knowledge, to bring the real experts together. With a stake in the origins and design of each piece of work, member companies (along with academics, partner organisations and other NGOs where appropriate) are more likely to want to engage in, contribute to, and learn from the work itself.
c. Co-creation is vital
Making meaningful progress on sustainability is a significant challenge for any business; and there are limits to what any one company can achieve alone, no matter how inspirational the leadership or how committed the workforce. That is where the multiplier effect of collaboration comes in. The old adage of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts is fundamental to ITP’s approach, and the clearest possible evidence of the existence of a genuine partnership.
d. Sector-specific initiatives get the best results
The name of the International Tourism Partnership implies a broad focus on a huge global industry. But over the years we have learned that greater shared interest and therefore real traction can best be achieved by focusing single-mindedly on a single constituency, in this case the major international hotel companies. Trying to be all things to all people doesn’t work.
e. Keep your head in the sky but your feet on the ground
ITP always endeavours to understand and, where possible, contribute to the big debates in the responsible business agenda. Seeing the big picture and trying to anticipate the future is essential (and inevitably we approach this from a slightly different vantage point than multi-national companies), but it is vitally important to couple this with programmes and activities that are practical, tangible and sufficiently real-world to allow business to see a clear benefit.
5. And where next?
With its strong membership base and unique position at the interface of the global hotel industry and the sustainability agenda, ITP is well placed to act as a driving force for positive change, and to demonstrate the power of pre-competitive collaboration.
The early pioneers that founded ITP made their choice clear. They chose to do business differently – to do business as if people and the planet matter – in short, to do business responsibly. Over the intervening decades, hundreds of other hospitality companies have also become advocates of the responsible business message. The collective achievements of the sector are impressive. But so much remains to be done if it is to reach its true potential as an industry delivering environmental and social improvements alongside economic development. In a finite world, this requires us all to find new ways of achieving growth; growth that is smart, inclusive and responsible.
Looking to the future, ITP intends to play to the full its part in creating the best sort of growth:
1. Smart growth, by helping to create an open and transparent marketplace for environmentally responsible products and services, as the industry is already starting to do through the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative
2. Inclusive growth, and addressing the global challenge of youth unemployment, by taking the Youth Career Initiative (already supported not just by hotel companies but also by the likes of Accenture, Starbucks, national Governments, local NGOs and many others) to full scale around the world
3. Responsible growth, by highlighting where the industry’s future success depends on finding new solutions to resource constraints (for example, water in specific locations) - and where collaboration is essential to achieving this.
We have already seen repeatedly that by working in partnership, and through strong leadership, real progress can be made. The opportunities for those leading companies who are focused on this agenda are significant – in terms of profit, people and planet.
In which other industry sectors could this model of competitive collaboration be used to support the development of a more sustainable world?
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The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), in collaboration with 23 leading global hospitality companies, are today launching a methodology to calculate and communicate the carbon footprint of hotel stays and meetings in a consistent and transparent way.
The group saw an opportunity to improve how the hotel industry communicates its impacts. Currently, approaches to measuring and reporting on carbon emissions vary widely. This can lead to confusion amongst consumers, particularly corporate clients, looking to understand their own potential carbon footprint and meet their own goals/targets in this area. In addition, the number of methodologies and tools in use make transparency of reporting within the hotel industry difficult to achieve.
The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) Working Group, comprising of hotel members within ITP and WTTC, was formed in early 2011 at the request of member companies to devise a unified methodology based on available data and to address inconsistencies in hotel companies’ approaches. The methodology, named ‘HCMI 1.0’, launched today is a consolidated move, led by the hotel industry, to establish a global standardised approach to this common problem for the hotel sector and its corporate customer base.
The methodology, informed by the GHG Protocol Standards, was first developed in 2011 and has since been tested in hotels of different style and size in different geographical locations and refined through a stakeholder engagement process, with input from consultants KPMG. It has also been reviewed by the World Resources Institute.
HCMI demonstrates how effective collaboration can provide solutions which benefit customers, individual companies, and wider industry. Through common measurement and language, stakeholders will now be able to greater understand their footprints and impacts.
David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC said, “WTTC has long been advocating that industry speaks with ‘one voice’. Through this initiative we have seen major hotel companies come together to agree a means of communicating carbon impacts which ultimately will result in more transparency and clarity for the consumer. HCMI has broken new ground in its industry driven approach and I congratulate the companies involved on their leadership in ensuring this important initiative comes to fruition. We expect this industry common language to be widely used within the next two years.”
Stephen Farrant, Director of ITP said, "This has been a model of competitive collaboration that may serve as a useful template for other industry sectors to learn from in addressing the challenges of carbon management. It is inspiring to see so many leading hotel companies across the industry working together over so many months to make this unique and ground-breaking initiative a reality.”
Yvo de Boer, Special Global Advisor, Climate Change & Sustainability, KMPG added, “Carbon measurement is one of the key challenges of our time and the myriad of systems to measure and report carbon usage, particularly in the hotel sector, results in confusion and scepticism amongst consumers. This initiative to ensure that hotels are aligned in their approach to carbon measurement is a vital step in addressing the challenge.”
The Working Group comprises of leading international hotel companies such as Accor, Beijing Tourism Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Diamond Resorts International, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels, Hyatt Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Marriott International Inc, Meliá Hotels International, MGM Resorts International, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Orient-Express Hotels Ltd, Pan Pacific Hotel Group, Premier Inn - Whitbread Group, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, TUI AG, Wyndham Worldwide.
The priority for the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative moving forward will be to maximise the take up and recognition of the methodology by a broader range of hotels and their customers. A review process has been put in place to ensure the methodology may be further refined as user feedback and new research come to light.
Notes to Editors
• The International Tourism Partnership (ITP), founded in 1992 and part of the International Business Leaders Forum, brings together the world’s leading international hotel companies to provide a voice for environmental and social responsibility in the industry. It works to demonstrate in a very practical way that environmental and social responsibility makes good business sense. ITP does this by highlighting best practice, offering a range of practical products and programmes and tackling emerging sustainability issues through its collaborative working groups. ITP’s programmes and products include, among others, the Youth Career Initiative, the Green Hotelier online magazine, the Environmental Management for Hotels handbook, and Sustainable Hotel Siting, Design and Construction. The combined reach of the membership extends to over 22,000 properties, over 3.2 million rooms and over 1.5 million employees in over 100 countries worldwide.
• The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism. It promotes sustainable growth for the industry, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity. Travel & Tourism accounts for 255 million jobs globally. At US$6 trillion (9% of GDP) the sector is a key driver for investment and economic growth. For more than 20 years, the World Travel & Tourism Council has been the voice of this industry globally. Members are the Chairs, Presidents and Chief Executives of the world’s leading, private sector Travel & Tourism businesses. These Members bring specialist knowledge to guide government policy and decision-making, raising awareness of the importance of the industry as an economic generator of prosperity. WTTC’s Sustainability Initiative has already concluded a number of projects aimed at driving sustainable economic recovery and growth, namely: the ‘Leading the Challenge on Climate Change’ report, and ‘Climate Change – A Joint Approach to Addressing the Challenge’.
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