Waste, in particular food waste, is a key sustainability issue in the hospitality and travel industry. According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), hotels in the UK produce an estimated 79,000 metric onnes of food waste every year, the equivalent weight to more than eight Eiffel towers. Restaurants in the UK produce 915,400 tonnes of waste each year. But environmental sustainability in the hospitality and travel industry is of growing importance for businesses, with many sustainable practices being adopted through cutting down single-use plastics and reusing surplus food.
Hotels are one of the most energy intensive facilities and, as such, energy usage makes up the largest part of their carbon footprint. Through lowering energy usage and subsequently the carbon footprint, businesses can improve brand reputation as increasingly customers look to spend their money with businesses who share their values. Heating and hot water, lighting and catering are all areas where businesses can look to save energy and ultimately costs.
Bourne Leisure, the largest provider of holidays in the UK, have achieved their first year of Planet Mark certification by measuring their carbon footprint and engaging their employees and wider stakeholders. Having already reduced their carbon by 43% between 2013-2019, Bourne Leisure plan to further reduce emissions through Planet Mark by a minimum of 2.5% every year.
Worldwide, tourism accounted for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions from 2009 to 2013 according to a 2018 study. Tourists contribute to climate change in several ways, not only through air, rail and road travel but also through consuming goods and services. As the number of people who can afford to travel grows, so too will the industries carbon footprint. Businesses in the hospitality, travel and tourism industry must adopt sustainable practices and act to reduce their own footprint to ensure a future-proofed business that is making a positive impact on planet and society.