Ufi Ibrahim heads new industry body to help sector tackle climate change
A new industry body is aiming to help hotels and other hospitality businesses reduce their environmental impact, warning action "needs to start now".
The Energy and Environment Alliance (EEA) launched today (6 October) and is being led by Ufi Ibrahim, former chief executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and Peter Till, managing director of Choice Hotels UK and Western Europe.
It is partnering with energy trader Businesswise Solutions to offers its members net zero carbon energy from sources such as hydroelectric, wind or solar power.
Ibrahim said: "It is critical that we launch now despite the pandemic and the devastating impact on society and our industry.
"The climate risk is so much greater than the Covid risk. Action really needs to start now as developing and deploying innovation to tackle this issue will take time and it's not going to be easy, which is why we need to get started as an industry."
A report by Ignite Economics, commissioned by the EEA, found that the UK accommodation sector increased its energy usage by 47% since 2000, more than any other industry.
This is compared to a 20% decline in energy usage across the wider economy.
Though the accommodation sector grew 70% over the past 20 years, it is still only one of three industries to have seen energy intensity - the amount of energy required per unit of economic output - increase over the same period.
The overall UK economy reduced energy intensity by 53% from 2000-18.
The EEA is a not for profit organisation and has waived membership fees for 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It plans to eventually broaden its offer to members to cover sustainable materials, water and waste management, as well as new environmental initiatives.
Ibrahim said: "The world has changed. Delivering the triple bottom line of profit, people and planet is now expected and long-term environmental risk is beginning to worry investors. The trend is gathering momentum and the challenge for the hospitality sector is how to get ahead of it."