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From Net Zero to Nature Positive and Just Transition: Leading Hospitality in Exceptionally Challenging Times


A few Highlights from the Responsible Tourism Track at 2022 ITB Berlin.

If there are a few words to describe expert keynote speakers and panellists at the 2022 ITB Berlin Convention Responsible Tourism Track on March 10th, these are: Passionate, Determined and with a strong Desire for Collaboration.

The hospitality industry has entered the decade of decarbonisation with a series of high-level commitments and pledges towards net zero by mid-century (e.g. Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism; Net Zero Roadmap for Travel and Tourism). Commitments and pledges are important, but actions need to be decisive and an increased pace of implementation is of the essence. Methodologies are needed and available (e.g. Net Zero Methodology for Hotels). In addition, the travel and tourism sector monetizes the natural beauty of destinations and is increasingly expected to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems, paying back into the upkeep and restoration (UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration). War and geopolitical instabilities add to the climate emergency and biodiversity crises; not unrelated, those threats pose multiple socio-economic challenges to destination recovery and resiliency. Much has been written about the tourism and peace nexus and the hospitality sector is showing leadership in positive societal transformation especially in those in exceptionally challenging times.

The following keynotes and panels at 2022 ITB Berlin Convention Responsible Tourism Track are highlights to brush up knowledge on the latest climate science or finding out why the industry is aiming for Net Positive:

Climate Science and Hospitality

The hospitality industry is part of the solution if it can move to carbon positive and nature-positive

World-recognized and leading climate scientists, Prof. Dr. Johann Rockström from the PIK – Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, embarks on a 15-minute review of the latest on climate science with the output of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II on the impacts of climate change, on ecosystems, biodiversity, and communities at global and regional levels. The outlook is bleak. In the words of Prof. Rockström “We’ve crashed through the roof already of climate stability […] it’s time to become stewards”. And there is momentum in the greater tourism and hospitality sectors. Find out why the industry is core to the transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but it’s pace of implementation and actions that matter.

Watch Opening Keynote: Holding the 1.5°C Line – Towards a Sustainable Tourism Industry.

How to Walk the Talk: The Hospitality CEOs on Sustainability

It is in moments of crisis that leaders emerge, leaders who have the courage to step up, leaders who understand that advancing sustainability is no longer a nice to have but who are really committed to walk the talk into actions” – Wolfgang M. Neumann, Chair, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance.

Leading hospitality CEOs gather around the table to tack sustainability, net zero, real estate and the role of employees/guests. Leadership and cooperation with an imperative for Mindset + Methodologies in tackling all sustainability topics.

Wolfgang M. Neumann at the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance launches the “Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality for the Planet” – beyond Net Zero, this is about positively impacting your surroundings (more info and Pathway tools here https://sustainablehospitalityalliance.org/our-work/pathway/).

On tothe CEO panel where Sebastien Bazin from Accor, Marloes Knippenberg at Kerten Hospitality, Nakul Anand at ITC Hotels and Dirk Bakker at Colliers talk leadership, mindset and methodologies (e.g. for Net Zero targets, Net Positive pathway) with on the ground examples around real estate development, employee engagement in sustainability vs. employee turnover, guest participation and local relevance of actions in a global hospitality world.

Watch Keynote & Panel: How to Walk the Talk? The Hospitality CEOs on Sustainability.

Carbon Neutral Destinations & Regenerative Tourism

We can’t give you a download this ‘10-point plan to solving the climate emergency’, ‘fill in the four boxes’ and move on to the next issue; we have to stop seeing climate and everything else as individual separate issues” – Jeremy Smith, Co-founder, Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency.

Caroline Bremner from Euromonitor International shares the latest results from the Sustainable Travel Index Ranking 2021 and divulges which destination is the trailblazer in the regenerative tourism model. This is followed by a panel with Jeremy Smith, co-founder Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency initiative, Jennifer Koskelin, campaign manager at The Palau Pledge, Sally Davey CEO at Travalyst and Petra Thomas managing director at forum anders reisen e.V. – association for sustainable tourism. An increasing number of destinations have made commitments towards carbon neutrality or have already implemented carbon neutral schemes – how does this work? What are the boundaries? And from carbon neutrality to regenerative tourism, what are the steps and measures to look for? What is the role of travelers in destination carbon neutrality?

Watch Keynote & Panel: From Carbon Neutral Destinations to Regenerative Tourism: Boundaries and Implementation.

Challenges and Opportunities in Sustainable Mobility

When you look at the impact on consumer behaviour, sustainability information is now part of the research journey […] people are increasingly looking for sustainable travel options” – Sebnem Erzan, Head of Travel Sustainability, Google.

Moving along the value chain, this panel tackles mobility looking at some of the major modes of transportation for travellers: road transportation and air travel. The panel provides insights into innovations in the face of major decarbonization challenges; how do mobility suppliers plan to reduce impacts? What are the technological advances that foster greater transparency, helping travellers make informed decisions? In a nutshell, how to get to and from a destination sustainably now and in the future? The latest on the sustainability front of mobility is tackled in this expert panel with Fatima da Gloria de Sousa, Vice President Sustainability, Air France-KLM, Dr. Thomas Becker, Vice President Sustainability, Mobility, BMW, Andrea Koepfer, Senior Director Communications, Public Affairs & Responsibility, FlixMobility and Sebnem Erzan Head of Travel Sustainability at Google.

Watch Keynote & Panel: It’s the Journey that Matters: Challenges and Opportunities in Sustainable Mobility.

A Wealth of Material from ITB Berlin Convention Available for Free

Additional topics covered also include crisis management to destination resilience, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in tourism, human rights risks of informal workers in tourism, LGBTQ+ travel and further industry-relevant sessions on eTravel and the Future of Travel. Access the ITB Berlin Youtube Channel for all keynotes, interviews, debates and panel sessions.

Willy Legrand
Prof, Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management
+49 (0) 2224 9605 209
IU International University of Applied Sciences



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