The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA), a prominent global network dedicated to responsible hospitality, has announced a new sustainability benchmarking framework and tool. Developed in collaboration with EY, this initiative aims to consistently track and compare sustainability progress within the hospitality sector.
Earlier in 2023, SHA published the 'Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality', a comprehensive roadmap designed to accelerate the industry's progression towards a more sustainable and contributory future. This pathway outlines achievable milestones and provides tools and guidance for measuring sustainability performance. It thus enables hospitality companies to develop robust, transparent measurement systems.
Both the Pathway and the newly launched benchmarking framework tool have been conceived as responses to the glaring lack of consistency across existing sustainability frameworks in the sector. With heightened awareness of the hospitality industry's substantial ESG footprint, several specialised sustainability frameworks have sprung up. These assist hotels in assessing their environmental impact, tracking their sustainability performance, and gauging their progress.
However, the abundance of these frameworks, each with its unique set of metrics, criteria, and guidelines, makes it a daunting task for hotels to compare their performance and gauge their industry standing. Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, explained that this profusion of inconsistent frameworks poses more challenges than solutions, resulting in confusion among customers and investors and difficulties in tracking progress.
SHA's new framework and tool offer a streamlined solution, incorporating all major hospitality industry and general frameworks into a single sustainability tracking and benchmarking tool. This development marks a significant step forward in the industry-led endeavour to facilitate every hotel's journey towards a net positive impact, irrespective of their starting point.
Mandziuk reiterated SHA's goal to reduce complexity and unify the existing and emerging sustainability frameworks. He assured that both the Pathway and the new benchmarking tool would continuously align with present and future regulations and initiatives, maintaining the Pathway's relevance as a standard for future development and standardisation.
By utilising this new tool, hospitality companies can exhibit the proactive measures they're taking towards a sustainable future. Such action not only appeals to new customers and investors but also sets these companies apart from their competition.
Understanding the new Pathway tool
The process of developing the Pathway involved considering all major hospitality industry and general frameworks. A materiality assessment was also carried out to ensure the inclusion of all relevant sustainability topics within four dimensions: planet, people, place, and prosperity. Multiple working sessions and surveys were held with SHA's member hotels to ensure no topic or stakeholder was overlooked.
The Pathway tool employs a list of actionable 'to-dos' or checkboxes for each ESG topic at each maturity stage. This allows users to tick off measures they've implemented, thus adjusting their maturity score. The maximum total score a user can achieve is 100%, indicating they've achieved net positivity across all ESG topics by implementing all the recommended measures. The tool's unique scoring system allows hotels to stand out positively during benchmarking, even if they've only advanced in specific areas.
Applying the Pathway tool
The Pathway tool can be applied in four stages depending on data quality and availability. The tool helps identify data gaps for a rough assessment and enables regional weighting for consideration of regional relevance. If data is available at the individual hotel level, the assessment can be run locally to account for regionality. The Alliance aims to further refine the measures and introduce quantitative metrics once these are defined and high-quality quantitative data is available at the hotel level.
The new framework addresses regional adjustments, allowing businesses to focus on the most relevant and practicable ESG topics for their specific operation locations. It includes an option for regional adjustment to scoring, thus enabling businesses to put more weight on the most critical or problematic ESG topics for their region of operation.
About the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance
The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance unites the hospitality industry and strategic partners to address major challenges impacting the planet, local communities, and destinations. They create practical, free resources and programmes to develop a prosperous, responsible hospitality sector. Their members represent over 50,000 hotels (over 7 million rooms) and include leading global companies such as Choice Hotels International, Marriott International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and others. The SHA network also encompasses other elements of the hospitality value chain, including owners, investors, and suppliers, further driving unified action on sustainability. For more information, please visit: www.sustainablehospitalityalliance.org.