Sustainability in Lodging: Why Measure Carbon Emissions
By Nancy Loman Scanlon, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, FIU | May 24, 2015
Driving sustainability practices in lodging companies is the two-fold need to reduce operating costs and the impact of resource use on the communities in which hotels and resorts operate. From Los Angeles to Miami, hotels need to reduce water and energy use. In New York, Chicago and San Francisco city wide efforts to reduce carbon emissions is causing hotels to search for methods to measure and report. The corporate responsibility reports of major lodging companies publish company-wide carbon emissions goals and reductions as well as the results of waste, water and energy conservation. For many hotels and lodging companies measuring carbon emissions can be a new challenge.
Why Should Hotel Owners and Operators be Concerned?
There is a growing voice in the community and stakeholder pressure for hotels and resorts globally to measure reduce and report carbon emissions. Cities such as New York are taking the lead in the United States to reduce their urban impact on cities and surrounding regions. New York City has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 relative to 2005 levels according to the New York Environment Report of Sept, 2014. 21% of all carbon emissions in New York City are produced by commercial buildings, of which hotels are a part.
What is so Important About Carbon Emissions to the Lodging Industry?
Risk management and good governance is the answer. As has been seen in the past 5 years, severe weather events are occurring with much greater frequency and intensity. Directly in the path of these weather events are hotels, resorts and tourism attractions. Flights are cancelled, roads are impassable, and property is damaged resulting in economic disruption. The insurance and banking industries are pressuring all businesses to be more aware of these impacts and evidence efforts to secure assets and work to reduce the impact of weather. Hotel employees, their families and communities are also in the path of these disastrous weather events. Helping to secure the communities in which we operate by preserving jobs and infrastructure is part of the obligation of operating local businesses.
How will Reducing Carbon Emissions Help to Reduce Severe Weather?