The Long Run Launches Free Sustainability Resources for Hotels.
Thanks to a grant from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, The Long Run has launched free resource efficiency training and tracker for hotels to raise the sector’s sustainability credentials.
The free training course for accommodation providers on ‘Improving resilience through resource efficiency’ has been created in partnership with The Long Run’s Affiliate Member Patricio Gonzalez Morel. Places have been allocated on a first come, first served basis with Long Run members, clients of the Preferred by Nature Sustainable Tourism Programme, and members of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency gaining priority. The subsequent resources will be open access by the end of the year.
What’s the context?
The world is currently facing unprecedented global environmental and social challenges. If we are to help reverse the climate crisis and current dramatic losses in biodiversity, there is a need for all sectors of society to collaborate. The private sector has a leading role to play, particularly tourism. In 2019, it accounted for 10.3% of the world’s economy, 1 in 10 jobs and concerned more than 1 billion travellers (WTTC report). If done right, it has the potential to drive positive change, promote tolerance, peace, conservation and sustainable resource use, contributing to many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (especially SDG 8-Decent Work and Growth, SDG 12-Responsible Consumption and Production, and SDG 14-Life Below Water).
In 2020 the COVID 19 pandemic led to a tourism standstill, causing a 70% drop in international travel, potentially affecting the livelihoods of millions and threatening the conservation work in many areas of the world. As 2021 begins, the crisis is far from over, but some hopeful outcomes can be expected for tourism:
a. Surveys show that more than ever, people are ready to travel more purposefully and with sustainability in mind (EURO monitor, 2020), and
b. Vaccinating has started on a large scale in some countries, potentially enabling people to travel again soon.
The pandemic has weakened the global economy and has also allowed time for reflection. As a result, tourism has a unique opportunity to rebuild better and deliver its promise as a vehicle for sustainable development. Integrating sustainability further into tourism enterprises’ operations will allow them to be more resilient and respond to an emerging social and environmental consciousness. In addition, defining, implementing and tracking operations’ impacts to inform decisions and planning will be core to long-term positive change.
To rebuild better, the sector, especially SMEs, need support.
How will the tracker offer a solution?
Sustainability planning, tracking, improvement and communications are essential steps towards building a more sustainable industry. Adopting positive practices and reducing resource consumption is not only a global responsibility but also makes sense commercially as it:
- Helps meet the increased demand for more sustainable travel.
- Increases efficiencies, reducing costs and potentially significantly augmenting profit.
However, considering the crisis context, tourism organisations are likely to lack time and resources to adopt new practices. In addition, many are daunted by the complexity of sustainability, worried about the cost implications. It’s hard to know where or how to get started. The Long Run’s work with nature-based tourism organisations around the world over the past 11 years has highlighted that significant change and positive impact can be achieved when businesses:
- Take stock of current practices.
- Understand their consumption patterns.
- Establish clear goals and aspirations for the future.
- Think creatively about how to increase efficiencies.
This does not necessarily have significant cost implications but requires a mind shift.
In 2020, The Long Run reviewed the frameworks it uses to help organisations monitor their sustainability goals. In light of its commitment as a signatory of the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency Initiative, The Long Run developed user-friendly tools to support members to estimate and track carbon and environmental footprint.
The Long Run now seeks to refine, test and support the implementation of these frameworks on a broader scale within its network. Inspirational nature-based tourism SMEs affiliated with The Long Run provide an excellent opportunity to pilot best practices, learn and innovate. In turn, their experiences and learning can be harnessed for other stakeholders in the tourism sector (especially SMEs) to take up these practices. This is essential at a time when change needs to accelerate globally.
The purpose of this partnership is to improve and expand our existing tools to make them more effective, accessible and inspire more properties to adopt and monitor best practices. In the context of this collaboration, we will:
- Develop a Performance Tracker to help capture a hotel’s monthly resource consumption.
- Lead a series of micro-lessons for hotel teams to improve resource efficiency. Modules start on June 3rd and continue over four months to demonstrate how minor adjustments can lead to a significant change in consumption, footprint, and costs. Each module will include a 10-minute training video accompanied by a short assignment to practice what attendees have learnt and apply it right away.
- Create a virtual clinic to gather feedback and best practices. This will take place every fortnight between June and September.
- Adapt and scale up sustainability planning, monitoring and reporting across the hotel sector, commencing in September 2021.