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What did we discuss in the Sustainability & Governance panel at R&R 2022?

From October 17th to 19th took place in Algarve Resort Tivoli Vilamoura, the "On the pulse of resort, leisure, and residential investment" Resort & Residential 2022 Event.

With an international audience of owners, hoteliers, investors, and developers, R&R is Europe’s only resort-focused investment conference. This year, Maribel Esparcia Pérez, Partner at European Sustainable Hospitality Club moderated the panel with Rita Marques Secretary of State for Tourism, Commérce and Services - Ministry of Economy and Ocean Affairs, Ramón Aragonés Chief Executive Officer - NH Hotel Group, Alexander Limestone Capital Managing Partner and COO & Co-Founder at Aethos Hotels, and Miquel Ramis Development Director at Garden Hotels.

Image Credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Maribel initiated the conversation with Rita Marques, Secretary of State for Tourism in Portugal. In the context of Portugal's country vision for 2027, the government plans include a goal to be one of the most competitive and sustainable destinations in the world. This includes eight strategies and objectives for social, environmental, and economic progress.

The Action Plan for a circular economy in Portugal with a sectoral agenda for tourism and the 2020-2023 + Sustainable Tourism Plan with key five principles that include achieving the 2027 vision, advance on the SDG 2030 United Nations Agenda, supporting the national energy transition to renewable energy, foster stakeholder collaboration and make changes in the sector value chain.

The + Sustainable Tourism Plan has four main axes:

  • Structure

Sustainable Supply Chain

  • Qualify

Educate tourism professionals

  • Promote

Sustainable destination

  • Monitor

Metrics to measure sustainable tourism performance

One of the questions was how is the goverment working with technology to improve their impacts and transparency. Rita mentioned the NECSTouR, working with the national innovation hub supporting social entrepreneurs, tech companies, hospitality industry and startups.

Image Credit: Simon Callaghan Photography

Sustainability in Hotel Operations

The main topics covered during the Sustainability and Governance: Setting, Measuring, and Tracking KPIs for Sustainable Leisure were:

- Technology implementation

- KPIs and data to monitor impacts

- Guest experience

- Key projects that the respective panelist's companies are developing

How do you measure the effectiveness and significance of sustainability and ESG measures? What technology can be used to integrate KPIs into hotel departments? How can hotels use technology to help support decision-making and reporting? Do your properties have systems and policies to gather sustainability and ESG data? In what ways are investors, regulators, and society influencing your daily operations?

Ramón Aragones, CEO at NH Hotels, shared their community work. the decarbonization plans, more than 65% of their properties in Europe ran in a renewable energy powered. In terms of education, the company is committed to training and educating the workforce to move the strategy into operations effectively. As they are part of Minor, they are very conscious and active. NH has been a leading brand implementing sustainability for many years. The first report being 2006 about sustainability. With that commitment, they have a corporate strategy called Room4people, room4planet and room4 shared success.

With Alexander, we discussed a new project development they have in Mallorca, Mar I Pins, now being refurbished, and how they ensure the property will lead with the right values. They have a concept based on the local culture, and making personalized experience for conscious explorers, Alexander explained how they ensure sustainability in all aspects of their operations from the concept to retrofitting the asset to later the hotel operations.

Lastly, we discussed with Garden Hotels Development Director Miquel, the wonderful practices the have, policies since 2015 and the circular project and their local community efforts. They hotel chain was the first in receiving the AEONOR Circularity certification. Miquel shared how they implemented the strategies. They source 80% locally and engage with social enterprises. At a destination level. Garden hotels has worked with public institutions and local NGOs to support local circular economy and to revitalize local agriculture.

Other topics discussed with panelists were

  • Regarding sustainability and KPIs, what are the many differences between big brands / listed companies and smaller hotel chains?

  • How the owner-operator model can facilitate a value-driven capital allocation approach and effective sustainability implementation,

  • Consumers and regulators expect environmental compliance in most European jurisdictions, the micro-certifications, such as the hotel circularity certificate by Aeonor, an effective tool for internal change,

  • Can company social performance give hotels a competitive advantage?

  • The scope 3/4 and managing impacts and supply chain circularity remain challenging in operations.

  • "ESGs" and the intersectionality between environmental and social impacts. Impact investing, the way forward in the leisure properties investment landscape, and the risks of stranded assets.

We thank you for reading this far, and we thank Questex for inviting us to be part of this panel. You can read more on the R&R 2022 official website here.

If you want to chat with our team, get in touch at !

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