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Inside Kendall

COP21 and Green Hospitality: Predictions for 2016

5DA_7080-XLThis December the World’s leaders are meeting in Paris to set goals for limiting global warming to within 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels.  What could this mean for the hospitality and tourism industries in 2016 and beyond?  What are the implications for students and professionals?

Hotels:  Any agreement is likely to accelerate the green hotel movement.  As 24/7, energy-intensive operations, hotels use an average of 70,000+ BTUs of energy per square foot or more[1].  In contrast, green buildings use on average use 26% less energy, emit 33% less carbon dioxide, use 30% less indoor water, and send 50%-75% less solid waste to landfills.[2] Recent studies indicate that green hotels enjoy average operational savings of 1% and energy savings of 15%.[3]

Airlines and Cruise Ships:  Growth in international tourism has been projected to reach 1.6 billion trips per year by 2020. At the same time, the World Tourism Council states that the travel and tourism industry accounts for 5% to global CO2[4]. Thus, as tourism continues to grow, so will pressure on large carbon emitters, such as airlines and cruise ships, to increase efforts to stabilize the industry’s CO2 emissions, providing greater urgency to the search for alternative fuels and other innovative operational and design strategies[5].

Meetings and Events:  Multinational corporations are likely to align their goals with global benchmarks, placing greater pressure on event venues, destinations and other event suppliers to meet CO2 reduction goals. As of 2013, 15,000 hotels around the world have adopted the HCMI methodology to calculate and communicate the carbon footprint of hotel stays and meetings, and many others are participating in carbon offsetting initiatives.[6]  To truly address climate change, event organizers and suppliers will also have to employ green event strategies to reduce the overall impact of their meetings and events.

cop21-label_reduit_transparentImplications for Hospitality Students and Professionals

Green businesses are only as effective as the people who manage them.  The industry will need managers and front-line staff who understand sustainability and can help maximize the benefit of green technologies and operations.  In recogn
ition of this fact, an increasing number of students are taking advantage of Kendall’s courses in sustainable management of hospitality and tourism along with the opportunity to concentrate in this growing field.


Deborah Popely has more than 30 years’ experience as an event planner and meeting facilitator. She is the founding executive director of Green Events Source, a non-profit dedicated to increasing sustainability in the events and hospitality industries. She has served as a presenter and keynote speaker for national industry organizations including Hospitality and Sales Marketing Association International (HSMAI), Meeting Planners International (MPI) and the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC). Ms. Popely actively participates in the events industry and conducts research in order to educate and propel the hospitality industry forward in the area of sustainability. 

[1] US Department of Energy (2007). Energy Star Building Manual, Retrieved from here.
[2] USGBC (2009). Practical Strategies in Green Building: Hotels. Retrieves from here.
[3] McGraw-Hill Construction (2013). Green Hotels and Retail: Capitalizing on the Growth in Green Building Investment.  McGraw-Hill: Bedford, MA.
[4] World Travel & Tourism Council (2015). Global Travel & Tourism leaders hopeful for positive outcome at COP21 talks. Retrieved from here.
[5] World Travel &Tourism Council (2015), Ibid.
[6] Hasek, G (2013). Green Lodging News. Retrieved from here.

  • GREEN HOSPITALITY sounds better than hospitality.

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