TUI ties credit lines to sustainability targets for the first time

WORLDWIDE: TUI has extended 2.7 billion euros of credit lines until summer 2026, with terms tied to sustainability targets

WORLDWIDE: TUI has extended 2.7 billion euros of credit lines until summer 2026, with terms tied to sustainability targets.

TUI has extended the maturity of its existing credit lines of 2.7 billion euros by a further two years, and for the first time it will be linked to the achievement of the Group’s emission reduction targets confirmed by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). 

The SBTi defines and promotes best practice in emissions reductions and net-zero targets in line with climate science.

TUI CFO Mathias Kiep said: “The successful extension of our credit lines is essentially the result of the TUI Group’s operational and balance sheet recovery and a vote of confidence in our business model and future strategy. This lays the basis for profitable growth and we remain the industry’s pioneer in climate protection. TUI is on its way to former strength.”

TUI’s emission reduction goals include emissions to be significantly reduced in the hotel segment by at least -46.2 per cent by 2030. Goals also include TUI Airlines (-24 per cent), and cruises (-27.5 per cent).

Earlier this month TUI Hotels & Resorts published Green Building Guidelines for the first time, to provide its own hotels and hotel partners with concrete recommendations for their construction and refurbishment projects. 

The guidelines contain the most important aspects for reducing environmental impact and achieving savings in water and energy consumption. They also cover topics such as monitoring systems, sustainability certification and stakeholder communication. The guidelines were reviewed by external experts.

Jessica Kuthe, director portfolio management, TUI Hotels & Resorts said: “We are pleased to see our Guidelines promoting sustainable construction decisions around the world. They bring together proven measures and the expertise of our sustainability and construction experts for all our hotel brands. Our hotel partners, architects, engineers and contractors can benefit from this knowledge and commit to using the Guidelines as they develop hotels for a more sustainable future.” 

TUI hotels has already started implementing measures from the Green Building Guidelines, particularly in the area of energy savings.

The long-standing joint venture partners RIU, Atlantica and Grupotel have increased the number of their photovoltaic systems, e.g. in Spain, Cape Verde and Greece. In Italy, the Robinson hotel brand operates one of the largest photovoltaic plants of any hotel in Europe. 

In February Sustainable Hotel News reported on TUI’s sustainability agenda and the Force for Good programme.

Image: TUI

Nature-inspired 1 Hotels to open in Mayfair

UK: Luxury lifestyle hotel brand 1 Hotels has announced the opening of its debut property in the UK, in London’s Mayfair, this July. 

UK: Luxury lifestyle hotel brand 1 Hotels has announced the opening of its debut property in the UK, in London’s Mayfair, this July. 

SH Hotels & Resorts manages the 1 Hotels brand, as well as Baccarat Hotels, Treehouse Hotels and SH Collection. 1 Hotels is its sustainable offering and the Mayfair property is described as a nine-story “sustainable sanctuary” overlooking Green Park. 

Barry Sternlicht, 1 Hotels founder and chairman of SH Hotels & Resorts said: “We are delighted to bring nature and our mission of sustainable luxury to Mayfair, the very heart of London, one of the most important travel markets in the world. We are thrilled to bring our unique fusion of fresh comfort, conscious sustainability, exceptional bespoke service, understated elegance, wellness and nutrition to London.”

Opting for reconstruction over new construction, the hotel has been built to BREEAM Excellent standards, and has utilised 80 per cent of the existing structure.

All of 1 Hotels US operated properties are 100 per cent certified carbon neutral since 2018, and the brand has offset 19,171 tons of C02 (the equivalent of 49,145,794 miles driven by an average diesel car).

SH Hotels & Resorts chief executive officer Raul Leal said: “We’ve reimagined the traditional luxury hotel experience for Mayfair by infusing our love for nature with effortless sophistication. With this opening we celebrate our distinctive brand’s entry into Europe and the dynamic and culturally rich city of London.”

All 181 rooms, including 44 suites of the Mayfair hotel, has walls lined with native British moss and there are more than 200 local and regional plant species throughout the property. Living green-trellised exterior walls transform former hard surfaces into natural vertical landscapes. 

The restaurant, Dovetale, from two Michelin starred chef Tom Sellers will feature seasonal, organic, locally sourced ingredients. 

For the full list of locations of the 1 Hotels brand as well as hotels coming to Europe and the US soon, click here.

Image: 1 Hotels, Mayfair

Highgate publishes first ESG report

WORLDWIDE: Real estate investment and hospitality management company Highgate has outlined a series of sustainability goals in its first ESG report. Mark Caswell reports.

WORLDWIDE: Real estate investment and hospitality management company Highgate has outlined a series of sustainability goals in its first ESG report. Mark Caswell reports.

The group’s portfolio comprises over 80,000 rooms across more than 500 owned and/or managed hotels in the US, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean, with nearly half of its properties falling under the Marriott family of brands.

The ESG report highlights that more than 200 of Highgate’s hotels are now powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, through investment in Green-e certified renewable energy certificates (RECs). Green-e focuses on clean energy and carbon offset certification, helping businesses (and individuals) to purchase verified clean energy.

Other areas of focus for the group’s sustainability programme include requiring its hotels to install smart thermostats in guest rooms, and 100 per cent LED lighting, as well as reducing food and landfill waste, eliminating single use plastics and supporting biodiversity projects.

Highgate is also performing an analysis of onsite solar and battery storage opportunities across its portfolio, and by the end of this year all full-service properties will offer parking areas with electric vehicle charging stations.

Highgate said that it had cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 21.8 per cent and energy use by more than 170,000 megawatt hours (MWh) when comparing 2021 with 2019. To put that into perspective, one megawatt hour (MWh) is the same as 1,000 kilowatts of electricity generated per hour. Over the next two years the group will be collecting environmental data from its suppliers, including greenhouse gas emissions metrics.

Individual properties, which have been highlighted in the report include the Alohilani Resort, which recently became the first hotel in Hawaii to commit to the internationally recognised PAS 2060 Standard for Carbon Neutrality. PAS 2060 was developed by the British Standards Institution in 2009 to create a common definition and method to achieve carbon neutral status. Alohilani Resort has partnered with the Hawaii Legacy Reforestation Initiative to reforest more than 1,200 acres of trees, and has installed water bottle refill stations throughout the property. 

Other hotels of note are, The Graduate Roosevelt Island, which was awarded LEED Silver certification for new construction, and the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA, which completed a property renovation using 60 per cent of products made from recycled, sustainably harvested or rapidly renewable materials. Check out our Glossary of Sustainable Hotel terms for more information on some of these phrases.

As well as Highgate’s sustainable practices the ESG report highlights the group’s work on diversity, equality and inclusion, including its ‘Opening Doors Together culture’ which aims to “support a culture where all associates are accepted, valued and encouraged to fully engage with each other and the Company”.

The company has also launched a self-paced learning “designed to expand learners’ understanding of various types of bias and microaggressions”, with the training including during the on-boarding of new employees.

Commenting on the report, Highgate’s CEO Arash Azarbarzin, said: “We all share an urgent responsibility to reduce our impact on climate change, and this is especially true for the hospitality industry. Highgate is very proud to be a leader on this front by presenting this analysis that can serve as a roadmap to help drive hospitality management toward a net-zero future without compromising the guest experience.”

The full ESG document can be read here.

Report by contributing editor, Mark Caswell.

Image: Reception Alohilani Resort – Courtesy of Alohilani Resort Gallery

Wood from the Trees: Questioning carbon neutral and net zero claims in the hotel sector

The Advertising Standards Authority is clamping down on environment-focussed phrases when describing a product. What does this mean for the hotel sector?

The Advertising Standards Authority is clamping down on environment-focussed phrases when describing a product. What does this mean for the hotel sector?

Some hotels describe themselves as green, others as eco, and the phrases “net zero” and “carbon neutral” are common place. But there is some confusion generally among consumers about what these terms actually mean.

Last year, as part of its Climate Change and Environment Project, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) did some research to find out what consumers understand about certain “green” phrases.

The main phrases included net zero and carbon neutral. The results, which were published last autumn, showed that most consumers struggle with the meaning of these phrases.

A spokesperson from ASA said: “…worryingly, consumers struggled in particular with terms like “carbon neutral”… by often believing that this meant companies would be reducing their carbon emissions when this was not the case. Consumers were also confused by carbon offsets and, when the role that carbon offsets played in carbon neutrality claims was revealed, consumers told us that they felt misled.” 

The results from ASA’s research found that respondents believed when a company says it is carbon neutral it means it is actively reducing its carbon emissions. This is not actually true – carbon neutral can mean emissions are offset, so a company – or hotel – could be producing massive amounts of emissions, but offsetting them, and still be carbon neutral.

There are currently no fixed definitions that govern terms like “carbon neutrality” or “net zero” and there are no sources of authority that govern how such schemes should be delivered via agreed methodologies. Consumers who responded to the ASA research said they think that such terms and schemes should be defined and agreed, but this is not something ASA can do alone – there needs to be legislation backing up this thought.

When Sustainable Hotel News asked ASA what this all meant for the hotel sector (for hotels defining themselves as carbon neutral, or achieving net zero, and if they should be providing science-based evidence to prove these statements), ASA said it could not comment on individual sectors at the moment. 

However, the spokesperson added: “We’re currently monitoring these claims in ads, to determine what evidence advertisers will need to have to make claims about claims like ‘carbon neutrality’, and this is likely to include claims around carbon offsetting. However, we wish to emphasise that no decisions have yet been made on the forms of evidence, including off-set schemes, that are more or less likely to be considered as acceptable evidence to substantiate such claims. We’ll announce our findings in due course.”

If these terms have to be proved by hotels before they can call themselves eco or carbon neutral or net zero, there is surely a lot of unpicking to do, unless there is a clear reporting baseline to work from. e.g send in the sustainability auditors and get third party reporting on science-based evidence collected over a year, and then keep on repeating, reporting and improving year-on-year to gain a GSTC-certified accreditation.

Being carbon neutral or net zero is not something which can be proved overnight. For example, the Hotel Marcel, which is the first “Net Zero” hotel in the US has already received its Passive Building Certification, meaning it uses 80 per cent less energy than the average US hotel. It has also been certified by the Green Building Council and has a LEED Platinum rating, but it will have to take readings and measurements of its output and input (readings from solar panels, as well as waste and emissions) for one year, in order to produce a report which can verify if it is net zero. 

With the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) this year, not only will companies have to prove their sustainability reporting, but it will affect their supply chains too, such as travellers staying in sustainable hotels, so there may be the perfect marriage of CSRD making it legally binding to produce accurate sustainability reporting, and the Advertising Standards Authority saying you can’t just call yourself green, you have to prove it.

Unqualified claims are likely to breach existing rules, and the ASA will be taking proactive action immediately to address such claims. How this is directed at the hotel sector remains to be seen.

Updated ASA guidance below for advertisers in order not to mislead consumers – taken from the ASA website:

  • Avoid using unqualified carbon neutral, net zero or similar claims. Information explaining the basis for these claims helps consumers’ understanding, and such information should therefore not be omitted.
  • Marketers should ensure that they include accurate information about whether (and the degree to which) they are actively reducing carbon emissions or are basing claims on offsetting, to ensure that consumers do not wrongly assume that products or their manufacture generate no or few emissions.
  • Claims based on future goals relating to reaching net zero or achieving carbon neutrality should be based on a verifiable strategy to deliver them.
  • Where claims are based on offsetting, they should comply with the usual standards of evidence for objective claims set out in this guidance, and marketers should provide information about the offsetting scheme they are using.
  • Where it is necessary to include qualifying information about a claim, that information should be sufficiently close to the main aspects of the claim for consumers to be able to see it easily and take account of it before they make any decision. The less prominent any qualifying information is, and the further away it is from any main claim being made, the more likely the claim will mislead consumers.

Image: Pexels Free Photos

Sustainability and disability in the hospitality sector

EUROPE: The European Network for Accessible Tourism and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance have joined forces to support disability inclusion in the hospitality sector 

EUROPE: The European Network for Accessible Tourism and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance have joined forces to support disability inclusion in the hospitality sector 

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance is partnering with the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) to increase disability inclusion and promote universal access in the hospitality industry. 

The partnership will see both organisations working together to make the world’s hospitality industry accessible to all. 

ENAT aims to be the front runner in the study, promotion and practice of accessible tourism and by partnering with the Alliance, it will have the opportunity to engage 50,000 properties globally. 

The partnership combines the Alliance’s expertise and global network with ENAT’s experience improving the accessibility of tourist information, transport, infrastructure, design and service for visitors with all kinds of access needs, providing models of excellence in accessible tourism for the whole of the tourism industry. 

Sustainable Hospitality Alliance CEO, Glenn Mandziuk, said: “Here at the Alliance we are delighted to welcome the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) as a partner.  ENAT’s work striving for greater inclusion for people with disabilities, will greatly support the work the Alliance is doing in opening up the sector.  This partnership is an opportunity for both organisations to share best practice, align on research and produce tangible solutions to make the hospitality industry more inclusive for people with disabilities.” 

ENAT President, Anna Grazia Laura said: “We, at ENAT see the agreement signed with Sustainable Hospitality Alliance as an important step forward to increase the possibility for tourists with specific access requirements to have a wider opportunity to be welcomed in facilities that will respond to their requirements in terms of comfort and quality. We are delighted to engage with the Alliance to offer our expertise and resources in training and planning according to Universal Design principles, strengthening the accessible offers provided by the members with the ultimate common goal of achieving the highest levels of customer satisfaction.”

Sustainability and hotels is not all about carbon emissions and plastic-free toiletries. The UN’s 17 SDGs cover environmental aspects, but there are many more SDGS which focus on the social side of sustainability, including the support of disability inclusion. Hotels and those looking at updating their ESG policies should take into account the UN’s SDGs, which focus on inclusion, and work out what that means for their inclusivity policies and sustainable practices.

Sustainable Development Goal 9 “Industry Innovation and infrastructure” to build resilient infrastructure, to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

Sustainable Development Goal 10 “Reduced inequalities” to reduce inequality in and among countries

Sustainable Development Goal 11 “Sustainable cities and communities” to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

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