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The Sustainable Energy for All initiative was launched by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize action and partnerships focused on sustainably meeting the increasing energy requirements of businesses and society. The initiative has set three primary objectives, to be met by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
This report looks at the travel and leisure industry and identifies six priority actions it can take to reduce its energy use and drive renewable energy generation, while simultaneously driving high performance.
Air travel and the energy consumption of buildings operated by hospitality companies are the two most energy-intensive aspects of the travel and leisure industry.
Over half of the world’s 5.9 million hotel rooms are located in Europe. Approximately 90 percent of these European hotels are small, independent businesses that, studies show, are less proactive about reducing their negative environmental impacts than large hotel chains, which have generally made more of the historic energy efficiency improvements in the hotel sector. Thus, looking broadly across the global hospitality industry, significant opportunities exist to improve energy efficiency at scale.
Reviewing the airline industry, the International Council for Clean Transportation reports that energy efficiency of commercial aircrafts has doubled since 1960 due to the introduction of new aircraft designs. However, progress has stagnated in the last 20 years. This could result in greater issues in the coming years, as passenger air travel is expected to sustain a six percent or higher growth in the next five years. At this pace, increased demand will outstrip business-as-usual efficiency gains, causing energy consumption in the commercial airline component of the travel and leisure industry to continue to increase.
The travel and leisure industry is well positioned to contribute to increases in energy efficiency and the further development of renewable energy in response to rising fuel and energy costs, pressure from environmentally conscious consumers, and changes to the regulatory environment.
Some of the actions the industry could take include:
Specific to the commercial airline industry, companies can work to optimize operations and upgrade their fleets to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewables. These initiatives can yield cost savings and positively impact shareholder value as a result of an enhanced brand, and more effective management of regulatory risks and operational costs.
In the lodging sector, heating, cooling and lighting can represent as much as 60 percent of total energy use, so increasing energy efficiency provides direct bottom-line benefits.
A company’s investment in energy efficiency can also enhance brand image. A stronger brand image can help both attract customers and potentially command a premium on room rates.
Based on this research, Accenture and the United Nations Global Compact have identified five priority actions the travel and leisure industry can take to become more energy efficient, and advance their business opportunities in the sustainable energy market:
October 2, 2012
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