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International Hospitality Investment Forum 2022 & ESGs

Updated: May 27, 2022

This year, the International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF) annual forum attracted more than 2,300 delegates to the InterContinental Hotel in Berlin.

The conference held educational sessions on market trends, opportunities in hospitality investment, development, and operations. In the International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF) session Sustainable Operations: How to Operate Sustainably and Profitably? We discussed how sustainability contributes to the business and drives value for investors, owners, and operators. What are the challenges, and what is the cost of not taking action?


  • Materiality: Increasing recognition that ESG factors affect risk and return.

  • Regulation: More guidance from regulators that considering ESG factors is part of investors' fiduciary duty.

  • Client demand: Growing demand from clients for greater transparency.

We had an insightful conversation with excellent panelists.

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive Officer at Energy & Environmental Alliance (E&EA), shared her insights on the regulatory frameworks and how their alliance members are transitioning towards nature-positive operations. The alliance is pioneering the first universal, scientifically robust standards and metrics for sustainable design, construction, and management of hotels and other hospitality assets. Initiate access to green finance, sustainability-backed loans, and improve asset values and supports to obtain energy at low cost and carbon free, among other initiatives.

Angus MacDonald, Chief Hospitality Officer at Phoenix Capital Partners, shared that they are raising a 200M Red Ribbon Green Hotel Fund in Gibraltar to deploy technology and sustainability strategies into developments and operations. Gesa Rohwedder, Head of Hospitality at Drees & Sommer, spoke about challenges with investors and operators and how to collaborate to advance sustainability solutions. She explained a cradle-to-cradle example recently used in a project. Last but not least, Ivaylo Lefterov, Managing Director of Hotel Developments, Svart Eindom AS, showcased one of the leading hotel projects energy-positive, now part of the Six Senses brand, and his experience developing such innovative, forward-thinking, and technology-driven concept.

Image Credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Tim Wheeldon, a sustainability pioneer and one of the session attendees, shared his work on a carbon-neutral hotel, a net-zero carbon position without offset considerations set to open in 2024. He also shared all the resources available on his website, Zeal Hotels.

During the event in Berlin, the European Sustainable Hospitality Club Managing Partner Maribel Esparcia Pérez participated in the IHIF 2022 Sustainability Council.

Thank you to Xenia zu Hohenlohe and Julie Rey-Gore for making it possible and to the incredible team at Questex and InterContinental Hotel Berlin GmbH.

The Hospitality Industry is changing at a rapid pace, from investment to consumers.

So, what are the possible costs saved with operations efficiency? How standards and metrics can help hotel assets' sustainability performance? How do you support net-zero carbon energy for hotels?

  • ESG factors can potentially affect risk and return.

  • Data is fundamental.

What are data collection challenges?

What are investors looking for in the capital allocation process?

What are the tangible and intangible benefits of sustainable operations,

and ESG implementation?

Regarding the educational needs, how to overcome the lack of training and empower staff with tools and education to make sustainable decisions?

Furthermore, we discussed how investors, owners, and operators collaborate to deliver value to all stakeholders leaving no one behind and being profitable and nature-centric.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria are already driving investment decisions, with brown discounts and green premiums expected to become a decisive factor in the valuation of assets by the end of this decade.

What is driving this change?

Image credit: European Sustainable Hospitality Club, 2021

Closing Insights.

  • Data management and technology implementation are the essential priorities for hospitality stakeholders, and they will help operators manage their ESG impact and monitor performance.

  • Stranded assets and brown discounts on asset's value if action is not taken.

  • Profitability & Sustainability. Understanding the connection between regulation, litigation, guest expectations, transparency, and risk mitigation strategies is fundamental for business strategy success.

  • Emphasize that environmental sustainability cannot be decoupled from social sustainability and the governance and leadership capabilities necessary to ensure its success.

Hospitality Insights Roundup

Here you'll find all the event content coverage from IHIF 2022.

The time has come to make our industry committed, resilient, collaborative, and transparent for the benefit of all stakeholders.

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