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WTTC Launches Hotel Sustainability Basics

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recently launched the Hotel Sustainability Basics verification scheme to help tourist accommodation providers from around the world begin their sustainability journey, regardless of their size.

Basics is a globally recognized and coordinated set of criteria that all hotels can implement as a minimum to drive responsible and sustainable travel and tourism.

Spurred by demand from global hotel brands, Basics is meant to serve as an achievable starting point that will encourage all hospitality businesses to begin their sustainability journeys. Made up of 12 key criteria, the Basics are accessible for all hotels to implement as a bare minimum. Basics’ criteria includes measuring and reducing energy, water, waste and carbon emissions; replacing items such as plastic water bottles and mini toiletry bottles; using green cleaning products; offering vegetarian food options; and benefiting the local community.

Basics has also been recognised by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance as the starting point for a net positive industry.

Verification Scheme 

In order to ensure the validity of the programme, WTTC partnered with Green Key and SGS to develop a simple online verification system to allow hotels to provide evidence and ensure they are following the Basics.

The verification scheme enables hotels and other tourist accommodation to be officially verified for meeting eight of the 12 criteria in the first year and demonstrate their commitment to working toward all 12 of the criteria by year three.

Hotel Partners 

Six major international hotel groups, collectively representing tens of thousands of sites from around the world, have now joined Basics as inaugural partners. The first hotel groups include well-known brands such as Accor, Jin Jiang International, Louvre Hotels Group, Meliá Hotels International, Meininger, and Radisson Hotel Group.

“The initiative is a response to the sector’s need for a baseline for hotels and other tourist lodgings to start their sustainability journeys,” said Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO.

“Our research shows that most business owners are aware of their responsibility to the environment, but many sustainability practices – such as efficient water-use initiatives – are patchy. Basics fills the gap by creating that level playing field for the sector.”

Radisson Hotel Group has committed to implementing Hotel Sustainability Basics in its 1,100 hotels by 2025, together with Radisson shareholder Jin Jiang International, their affiliate Louvre Hotel Group and other major hotel groups and destinations around the world.

Green Lodgings Trend Report 

WTTC also carried out an international benchmarking exercise through the Green Lodgings Trends Report, learning from 27,000 accommodation providers on how they are currently performing against the 12 criteria. This benchmark will allow WTTC to track the progress of Basics over time.

Nearly 100% of accommodation providers implement at least one initiative to reduce inequality, and 96% have adopted linen reuse programs.

The report also showed many hoteliers are establishing sustainable practices, but those practices are not yet common across the sector.

Two-thirds of those surveyed have already begun to eliminate the use of certain single-use plastics, such as straws, and are implementing other waste-reduction initiatives.

Nearly half of respondents have replaced small plastic toiletry bottles with bulk dispensers, and one-third now provide vegetarian options for every course in their food and beverage offerings.

To learn more about Hotel Sustainability Basics please visit