Positive social impact begins inside the business
Truly sustainable businesses don’t only take action to reduce and mitigate their external environmental impacts. They also take responsibility for their role as employers in addressing major social questions.
If employers don't act on today’s prominent social issues—be it increasing the number of women in leadership roles, reflecting racial and ethnic diversity or implementing fair labor standards in their supply chain—customers will quickly lose trust.
Hilton Hotels plans to achieve gender parity in its leadership roles globally by 2027 and increase ethnic diversity among its US leadership roles to 25%.8 Its approach has earned it the number one spot on DiversityInc’s 2021 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.9
Social impact also extends to the sector’s critical role in the fight against human trafficking. Progress has been made on this issue in recent years: It needs to remain a priority. Marriott International, for instance, launched an enhanced version of its human-trafficking awareness training in July 2021, to help its people recognize and respond to the warning signs.10
Decarbonization target corridors
Pandemic recovery, future growth and sustainability go hand in hand. There are two critical spheres for organizations to act in to meet changing customer demands and capture the opportunities of growth and a sustainable future.
The first is picking up the pace on decarbonization. A recent report from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Accenture—A Net Zero Roadmap for Travel and Tourism—proposes a new roadmap framework for net zero. It sets out three different decarbonization target corridors, recognizing that some sectors will be able to move faster than others.
The first step is setting the right baselines and emission targets now for 2030 and 2050 goals. That needs to be followed by monitoring and reporting on progress.
The report also proposes collaboration within and across industries—a rich opportunity for hospitality businesses as a part of the broader travel industry, and for collaboration with local partners wherever they operate.
Building sustainability into hospitality’s DNA
Hospitality companies need to be strategic about sustainability—and to do that they need to understand why it is so important. “What’s frequently missing is the why,” says Andrew Maliszewski, Business Strategy Senior Manager at Accenture.
To truly understand those business drivers and how they can be translated into an effective sustainability strategy, Accenture has developed a new framework for Sustainability DNA. It identifies Five Elements of Sustainable Leadership and 21 management practices, systems and processes spanning all dimensions of sustainability—from improving conditions and creating inclusion for employees, to building a learning culture and engaging in the development of local learning ecosystems.
As many hospitality brands operate a franchise-based business model, it’s vital that brands and owners work together closely as they adopt the Sustainability DNA framework.