The hospitality industry was estimated to be worth a staggering $4,699.57 billion in 2023 on a global scale, so its reach is huge. With travellers’ concerns about environmental issues and sustainability increasing every year it is little wonder that the topic of sustainability within hospitality is one that is much discussed. 

Research indicates that the hotel industry is responsible for around 1% of global emissions of carbon, and this is a number that isn’t decreasing. Therefore, it is necessary for business owners in the industry to look at making reductions in their business energy consumption and current rates of carbon emissions of 90% per room by 2050. 

Some of the larger hotel chains have already adopted a range of sustainability strategies in order to help improve the impact they are having on the environment. Marriott has removed single use toiletries from all of their hotels which saves around 500 million small plastic bottles going to landfill every year, whilst the same move from IHG sees 200 million not being sent to landfill. The hotel industry rarely recycles small toiletry bottles due to time constraints. 

Parkroyal Hotel Singapore Asia
The Parkroyal Hotel, Singapore’s first ‘Garden-in-a-Hotel’ a champion of sustainability, environmental responsibility and advocate for green innovations in the hospitality industry

What can make a hotel sustainable?

Green or sustainable hotels are ones which are actively working on reducing their carbon footprint. They have already put in place eco-friendly practices across both their services and products, supply chain and maintenance. This can mean working on:

  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Minimising food and plastic waste 
  • Introducing practices to decrease water consumption
  • Using automation and other software to digitises the customer experience

In the short term, it can be difficult to become completely sustainable. However, with a lot of work and diligence, sustainability is a reachable target in the longer term. Starting small and working your way up to bigger measures will show results. 

How to be more sustainable

There are a number of measures that hospitality can take to be more sustainable; some of which will not cost as much as you might think. 


This is a great way to reduce both plastic and paper wastage. Automation can be used to bypass the more traditional check-in methods and can even remove the need for a keycard. Software can send instructions and passcodes to guests’ phones.  

solar panels on roof of hotel
Solar Panels help off-set the hotels energy consumption

Solar panels

This is a good way to help with energy consumption and can be used to help generate hot water for showers etc. 

Cut back on plastic

Plastic straws, bottles and small toiletries, these all add up to a significant amount of each year. Switch to glass bottles, biodegradable straws and large toiletries that can be refilled rather than replaced. Compartmented recycling bins will help to improve the way in which you dispose of the plastic you used.  

Reduce water use

Whilst you can’t control how much water your guests use, you can educate them to consider their water use behaviour. Little notes in taps and showers can help and there are shower heads you can use that will help with water usage.  

Consider transportation 

You can’t prevent your guests from arriving in vehicles that are less environmentally friendly, but you can encourage those who have more environmentally friendly ones to choose your hotel by installing on-site charging for electric vehicles. 

You could also consider changing your hotel’s transportation to fully electric or hybrid vehicles instead. Having bikes for guests to hire is also something you may want to consider, and it may well make a mark on their personal sustainability once they return home.