Sustainability in the global hotel industry

Article English OPEN
Jones, Peter ; Hillier, David ; Comfort, Daphne (2014)

The purpose of this commissioned paper is to offer some personal reflections on\ud sustainability within the hospitality industry.\ud The paper opens by identifying sustainability as a teasing\ud paradox for the hospitality industry and a short discussion of the characteristics of sustainability. It\ud then explores the growing interest in corporate sustainability and offers a review of the range of\ud academic research into sustainability within the hospitality industry literature. More generally, the\ud authors suggest three fundamental sets of issues that currently face the industry, namely, defining\ud sustainability within the industry, materiality and independent external assurance and sustainable\ud consumption and the industry’s commitment to continuing economic growth.\ud In addressing these three sets of issues, the authors make a number of suggestions. First\ud that definitions of sustainability within the hospitality industry can be interpreted as being constructed\ud around business imperatives rather than an ongoing commitment to sustainability. Second that\ud materiality and external assurance are not treated comprehensively within the industry, which\ud undermines the credibility of the sustainability reporting process. Third that the concept of sustainable\ud consumption and any critique of the industry’s commitment to economic growth are conspicuous by\ud their absence in the both the research literature on sustainability and in sustainability reporting within\ud the industry.\ud The paper suggests that the hospitality industry may need to examine how\ud it defines sustainability, to extend its sustainability reporting to embrace materiality and external\ud assurance and to address the issues of sustainable consumption and continuing economic growth if it is\ud to demonstrate a worthwhile and enduring commitment to sustainability.\ud The paper provides some accessible personal reflections on sustainability within\ud the hospitality industry and, as such, it will be of interest to academics, students and practitioners\ud interested in the hospitality industry and more widely within the business and management\ud community.
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