Sustainable production and consumption relates to the efficient use of resources, resource conservation and use of renewable sources. The indicators here focus on resource use in the hotel industry. Improvements in efficiency year-on-year are measured, in addition to intensity benchmarks for resource use per guest night and per square metre. Data are from EarthCheck.

Leading hotels are able to improve resource efficiency in the order of several percent per annum.

Several SDGs relate to sustainable production and consumption, including Goal 6 that focuses on water, Goal 7 that addresses energy, and Goal 12 that specifically deals with developing new patterns of production and consumption. Hotel resource use plays an important role in achieving these goals.

The indicators in the Dashboard measure the increase in efficiency per guest night for carbon emissons, energy use, water use and waste production. Data stem from EarthCheck certified businesses that have been in the programme for multiple years. Annual improvements are derived by comparing each businesses’ resource use in a more recent year compared with the previous year. The median is taken across all businesses for each carbon, energy, water and waste. A percentage change (whereby positive means an improvement/reduction) can be calculated. In addition, the median of resource use across all businesses is calculated to provide a preliminary benchmark. Further extensions of the database are planned to include a broader range of accommodation businesses.

Since the businesses used for the calculations are all environmentally certified they represent the ‘leading end of the spectrum’. The demonstrate what is possible with current efforts of resource savings. More broadly, consumption is likely to be higher, and improvement rates are not necessarily positive.

Key facts

  • Energy use per guest night has improved steadily, but only in the order of 1-2% per annum, and 2.6% between 2015 and 2016.
  • Carbon emissions, measured in terms of percentage change per guest night, tracked between 3-5.5% per annum between 2012 and 2014. Improvements were only around 2% between 2014 and 2015 and 2.7% between 2015 and 2016. Possibly a green ceiling of ‘low hanging fruit’ has been reached.
  • Reducing water use per guest night seems more challenging, with an increase in 2015. However, this was reversed with a positive efficiency gain of 2.4% between 2015 and 2016.
  • Waste efficiency gains in 2016 have been low (1.8%), compared with earlier years.
  • In 2014, total hotel carbon emissions were in the order of 150.2 Mt of CO2-e. The global estimate is largely driven by China and the USA, which collectively represent nearly half of the global hotel supply. Figures will be updated in 2017.
  • Whilst carbon emissions per guest night have reduced in 2016 in absolute terms, water use has increased. These figures are based on all properties in the EarthCheck database and not only on those who have been a member of several years.