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Hospitality + ESG in APAC: Outstanding Practices and What is Next

July 20, 2021

Initiatives related to ESG have been getting traction in most segments all over the world. Hospitality industry, which has been managing huge upheavals in the operational processes since the beginning of the pandemic, has invested more and more in ESG practices. How far have the ESG plans come so far?

Financial institutions and investors are strongly committed to ESG principles on taking investment decisions. Focusing on the Planet, People and Profits, the hospitality industry has created business value and started its journey on the way of framework definition, standardization, measurement of the new ESG programs and the operational income. In the same way, after more than a year of the pandemic, the clients are ready to pay more for health-prepared assets.

With this in mind, how ESG impacts values regarding Social expectations, Environmental aspects and Governance issues? Since many countries from the APAC region were represented in the eMeeting on June 30th, which was led by Robert Wilson (Chairman, Minett Prime Square), we were offered an outlook of the extension of the plans and points of view regarding investment risks to generate a sustainable return.

Tori Shepherd (Global Lead for the Hospitality Sector, Asia Pacific, International WELL Building Institute) was the Special Guest and in an open and free-flowing discussion, the Co-chairs - Esther An (Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited), Reza Abdulmajid (Chief Risk Officer, Sinar Mas Land), Jan Smits (Co-CEO and Deputy Chair, Pro-invest Group), Sanjay Sethi (Managing Director and CEO, Chalet Hotels Limited) and Yaying Lin (Director, China Resources Land Limited) - shared their impressions about ESG related challenges and the development of their action plans, bringing together a diversity of ideas and perspectives.

There is a plethora of regulations on a global and national level and the ESG issues nowadays are how to build and enhance climates and business resilience for the operations, brand value and products. This year the top of ESG issues is health, according to the Global Economic Forum survey, followed by five climate issues.  

Sustainable investments associated with long-term value, engagement and high commitment to employees´ physical and mental health were some of the discussed topics. This commitment to the community has attracted huge investments having an outstanding performance at cleaning protocols in catering, including technology investments, such as the usage of robots in the room services.
On Governance and still considering Social aspects, some very interesting and successful initiatives have brought up processes transparency and women leadership programs.

Regarding the Environmental side, many action plans towards green building and improvements on building management have considered heating, cooling and ventilation systems, revamping on design aspects, technology innovation to make entertainment places more sustainable and well-being KPIs at buildings. Substantial reduction in water consumption, adoption of water recycling, waste management and energy efficiency programs have reached great results.

Highlighting energy management, more and more the replacement of non-renewable by renewable energy is a reality in hospitality. Installing solar panels to generate electricity in hotels, resorts, other  commercial buildings and residences has been an assertive decision for supporting ESG policies and decreasing electricity costs.

After all, it has increasingly been all about the Planet, People and Profit!

By Tatiana Munhoz

Access the International Well Building Institute material here.

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