April 13, 2023
Data suggests that 75% of the planet’s surface has been significantly altered by humans, resulting in a decline in biodiversity that is steering towards an ecological crisis. The hospitality industry has some responsibility for a significant portion of this damage, as 80% of all goods and services in the travel and tourism sector depend on nature (World Travel & Tourism Council, 2022). However, being accountable could also present an opportunity for the industry to innovate, revolutionize, and achieve longer-term fiscal security.
The solution may lie within your own ecosystem. Ensuring that your business positively impacts biodiversity could reap the rewards for customer experience, engage with a fresh consumer base, or create a global impact story. For example, the Four Seasons in Atlanta has created a welcoming space for a rare peregrine falcon, while the Radisson Blu Paris Boulogne has developed a private vineyard and houses four beehives in its urban centre, transforming the hotel’s visual appeal and harvesting sustainable produce for consumption and gifting. The Mustique Company in the Caribbean, has supported a coral restoration project since 2015, for which they have already successfully out planted over 11.000 corals, improving the habitat for a variety of fish, enhancing the diversity in wildlife and therefore guaranteeing a future for the coral reef that also enhances guest experiences when diving or snorkelling.
Biodiversity is the measure given to the diversity within any ecosystem. It fuels the food systems we rely on, the air we breathe, and the materials we utilize to create civilization. In the hospitality industry, it is often the catalyst for driving business. Our guests marvel at the natural wonders that invite curiosity to explore and travel. The hospitality sector is uniquely placed to be directly affected by the impact of biodiversity on business factors and, conversely, has the opportunity to make changes and become benefactors in bringing about increased biodiversity.
Choosing to take an interest in biodiversity may no longer be an option as two hard realities become factors. Firstly, the travel industry relies on nature for goods and services and the curb appeal of travel consumers looking to immerse themselves in natural environments or enjoy a beach holiday. Secondly, the hospitality industry faces restrictions and must fulfil specific biodiversity-related requirements. Businesses worldwide will soon be obliged to demonstrate compliance with the national biodiversity impact regulations following a global framework set by the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15).
Regulations are already showing early signs of impacting investment as future investors increasingly consider business reliance on nature, sustainable operations, and supply chains. United Nations-backed biodiversity credits could lead to financial decision-making, with the more bio-diverse your business, the stronger your supply chain and the more attractive your investment prospects.
Consumers are increasingly making informed choices about sustainability, with 41% of visitors to booking.com actively seeking out sustainable hotels. Concerns about the welfare of plants and animals are not just a trend; it’s a global concern shared by 90% of the world’s population (World Travel & Tourism Council, 2022).
So, what’s the next best step for the hospitality industry to increase biodiversity? Whether you’re an urban hotel or a resort chain with more apparent reasons to factor in biodiversity, there are incredible opportunities to engage with your environment and create change within the individual ecosystems your business populates.
At Considerate Group, we offer bespoke toolkits to improve outcomes in sustainable practices. We’ve helped enhanced green spaces in unique and creative ways that improve environmental factors and become uniquely engaging for clientele from green walls and urban vineyards to falconry, mangrove and coral restoration. Our toolkits engage and educate staff, enable the co-creation of KPIs with stakeholders, and develop relationships with local vendors, charities, and specialists uniquely placed in your area. We offer training to staff and teams that might benefit from learning ways to increase biodiversity, making them experts in engaging with guests and creating conversation and collaboration with local communities. Our research will enable you to identify the most pressing and beneficial ways your business can reduce its impact on the local ecosystem and analyse the feasibility of each project.
The hospitality industry has a unique opportunity to revolutionize its operations and help build a more sustainable and equitable future. Integrating biodiversity into business operations is necessary for the planet and the key to building customer trust and engagement by creating compelling change that has a real-world impact.