Sustainable building design

Promoting the business benefits of sustainable hotels for all industry stakeholders.
  • 19%

    energy-related GHG emissions from buildings

  • 2.4 million

    pipeline of new hotel rooms


We are working in collaboration with IFC (International Finance Corporation), a member of the World Bank Group. IFC provides insights based on their extensive experience investing in sustainable building projects and their EDGE green building certification system, which is available in most international markets.
Logo of IFC, International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group

Sustainable development in the hospitality industry

Why we are doing this

Rising carbon emissions are accelerating climate change with considerable impacts across communities and ecosystems, businesses and economies. The hospitality industry is particularly exposed, with extreme weather events increasing the cost of operations whilst simultaneously decreasing the popularity of some destinations across the world.

  • The hotel industry accounts for around one per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.1
  • Buildings more broadly generate 19 per cent of energy-related GHG emissions and consume 40 per cent of electricity globally.2
  • The hotel sector had a growth rate of 17.7 per cent from 2008 to 2018 and there’s a global pipeline of 2.4 million additional hotel rooms.3

What is required for progress?

If all new hotels built in the next ten years integrated simple sustainable upgrades, the industry would save the equivalent to the yearly greenhouse gas emissions of 9 million cars.

However, a hotel property can be built, financed and owned by different businesses than the brands or individuals that run them. This complex ownership structure is often a challenge to building and operating more sustainable hotels.

But, far from being an impediment to business, a sustainable hotel offers considerable benefits for all industry stakeholders.

About this programme

Our aim is to increase commitment to incorporate sustainable hotel design and improve collaboration across the different members in a hotel property value chain

Building the business case for sustainable hotels

We are working in collaboration with IFC, our members, and other industry specialists to provide compelling evidence that building and operating a hotel sustainably has both financial and reputational benefits.

We have prepared recommendations tailored for each stakeholder in the hotel property value chain with evidence and tangible actions for acting more sustainably.

Our research, the Business Case for Sustainable Hotels, shows that:

  • Costs are not as high as perceived to implement sustainable measures and often quickly covered by utility savings
  • Sustainable design future-proofs hotel properties and protects investments
  • More governments are offering incentives for building sustainably, whilst increasing penalties for companies that aren’t acting responsibly
  • Sustainable hotels attract more guests that are willing to pay higher room rates

Increasing collaboration across the hotel value chain

Maximum benefits and cost-savings for all stakeholders can only be achieved by working together.

Through this project, we are engaging with all stakeholders in the hotel property value chain:

  • Investors and asset managers
  • Owners and developers
  • Operators
  • Franchisees

All stakeholders in a hotel property can use our research to support conversations with their business partners, and create a more joined up approach to building, refurbishing and operating sustainable hotels.

Find out more
Business case for sustainable hotels cover

Business Case for Sustainable Hotels

This report provides a thorough analysis of the business benefits of building sustainable hotels for all stakeholders and offers tangible recommendations.

Help us to increase sustainable design in the hotel sector

Find out how to become a partner

We are seeking partnerships across the hotel value chain to move the entire industry onto a greener path.