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Future-Proofing Hotels: Unveiling Key Insights from IHIF 2023

Sustainability at the main discussion in hotel management and asset performance.

On Tuesday, May 16th Maribel Esparcia Pérez, Managing Partner at the European Sustainable Hospitality Club participated at the IHIF Event in Berlin.

The International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF)

On May 15th, 16, and 17th, the IHIF took place in the InterContinental Berlin, where delegates gather to connect, be inspired, and create deals that change and keep advancing our industry forward. Questex’s International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF), gathers the global hotel community together, with more than 2,500 industry professionals, including investors, owners, and developers in attendance.

IHIF also attracted more than 500 investors representing 20% of the total audience, and $74.9bn of hospitality assets under management (AUM). Active investors acquiring hospitality stock in the first quarter of 2023 were all present, including ADIA, Axa IM, Bain Capital, Extendam, Hines, Pandox and Stonewge SA, demonstrating that IHIF is the home of the deal-makers and investors were clearly looking to build their deal-pipelines. - Questex

Image Credit: Simon Callaghan

Maribel Esparcia Pérez was one of the 230 world-class experts from hospitality, real estate, asset management and academia that shared sustainability-related insights, and views to help shape the future of the sector.

The European Sustainable Hospitality Club Participated at the ESG Hub led by Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the Environmental Energy Alliance (EEA).

The first event.

Supply Chain Roundtable with participation in Berlin, Maribel Esparcia Pérez Managing Partner, participated at the MindClick's Roundtable on Tuesday alongside Prof. Willy and JoAnna.

The discussion focussed on how sustainability practices can enhance hotel assets value across the supply chain. In hotel circularity, the focus is increasingly placed on construction materials, furniture, fixtures, and equipment, taking into consideration factors such as embodied carbon and hotel impacts on biodiversity.

According to the proposed Green Claims Directive by the EU, environmental claims must be supported by an assessment that meets specific criteria to prevent misleading claims, supported by recognized scientific evidence and technical expertise.

These efforts are supported by the EU's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which expects Scope 3 disclosures, as well as initiatives like the Sustainable Product Initiative (SPI), aimed at promoting circular products and preventing waste. Additionally, the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), the Deforestation prevention directive (EU’s directive to manage consumption and trade of commodities and products to avoid them to contribute to deforestation and further degrading forest ecosystems), and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), amongst others. The regulatory frameworks and initiatives go beyond compliance and offer opportunities to create impactful actions and projects that resonate throughout the value chain.

Image Credit: Simon Callaghan

The second event:

Adapting the Supply:Refurbishing Hospitality Properties for ESG Compliance​

The panel participants were JoAnna Abrams CEO, Mindclick​, Alejandra de Cordoba Estepa London MD, WATG,​ Lorenzo Felici Managing Director - Global Hospitality at Artelia,​ Olivier Granet, Managing Partner & Chief Executive Officer at Kasada Capital Management​, Caroline Tivéus SVP, Director of Sustainable Business at Pandox AB and as moderator Maribel Esparcia Pérez Managing Partner, European Sustainability Hospitality Club​.

During the panel discussion, several key questions were addressed regarding ESG considerations in the context of refurbishments and sustainability efforts. The participants delved into the role of leading ESG-related certifications and standards in supporting future-proof refurbishments. They explored how these frameworks can guide and ensure that refurbishments are aligned with sustainable practices and long-term environmental goals.

The panelists also highlighted the significant role of technology in achieving ESG compliance for assets. They discussed how innovative solutions can assist in various sustainability areas, such as energy efficiency, waste management, and water conservation. Technology was recognized as a powerful tool to enhance environmental performance and contribute to overall ESG objectives.

Another topic of discussion was capital allocation and its potential to improve hotel ESG criteria performance. The panelists explored strategies and approaches that enable capital to be effectively utilized to drive sustainability initiatives within the hotel industry. They emphasized the importance of smart investment decisions that prioritize ESG considerations and contribute to long-term value creation.

To ensure that refurbishment efforts align with stakeholder needs and expectations, the panelists discussed the critical role of engagement and communication.By understanding and addressing stakeholder concerns, hotel brands can ensure that refurbishment projects meet sustainability and conservation goals while delivering on stakeholder expectations.

The discussion explored how ESG data helps with market intelligence, anticipates shareholder expectations, and maintains strong governance oversight. The panelists emphasized the value of comprehensive ESG data to make informed strategic decision-making. By leveraging this data, hotel owners, operators, and asset managers can proactively align their operations with ESG principles, monitor their environmental and social performance, and respond to market and shareholder demands, risks, and opportunities.

During the panel, the importance of collaboration between landlords and operators, for effective implementation was emphasized. The focus was on working with existing properties, conducting renovations, and measuring the impact of these efforts. Participants stressed the need for a common language to define and align ESG expectations among operators, brands, and owners.

Pandox's SVP, Caroline, insisted on the crucial role of regulations in driving action, highlighting their capacity to incentivize sustainable practices. Tangible examples from ongoing projects were shared to illustrate successful initiatives such as Alejandra, MD at WATG, shared a retrofit project in Greece, recently renovated, and their cooperation with MindClick, Artelia shared a Pilot project they are creating to manage energy efficiently, especially in assets with high seasonality.

Mindclisk's CEO, JoAnna, made a statement about the need for FF&E transparency and credible data to track sustainability efforts.

Finally, Oliver CEO at Kasda Capital, shared the importance of recognizing investors' best practices with entities such as PRI, one of the leading ten entities driving responsible investment globally. the impact of ESG factors and sustainability performance on risk and return was highlighted, emphasizing the benefits that sustainable practices can bring to organizations in terms of both financial performance and resilience.

Image Source: Ufi Ibrahim

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