A new initiative calling for accountability around sustainability in travel was launched on Earth Day on April 22. NOW’s mission is to create a global community of consumers who are passionate about travel and want to help tackle the environmental and social challenges facing our planet.
NOW Transforming Hospitality is a legacy project created by hotel industry stalwarts Onno and Alexa Poortier. Using their own influence and working in alliance with travel, hospitality and sustainability thought leaders and advisory groups, their long-term mission is to achieve a paradigm shift in the hospitality industry to ensure it thrives Ð but not at the expense of the planet and its people.
Offering a portal for discussion, innovation and research, the NOW website and themed digital content will provide information on how to travel more responsibly. Travellers can discover inspiring and responsible hotels and resorts around the world, many of which have been benchmarked and certified by NOW strategic partner EarthCheck, a global business advisory group specializing in sustainability. A forum will encourage two-way discussions, where consumers can share ideas and make recommendations, with the aim to educate and inspire.
ÒOur purpose is to create a global pressure group demanding sustainability from the hospitality industry,Ó said former luxury hotelier Onno Poortier, the founder, Chairman and CEO of NOW. ÒThe effect of climate change is the most urgent issue of our time. Operating business in a safe, sustainable and socially responsible manner is the biggest challenge. Many hotels are doing excellent work, but many are not visibly transparent with their guests for various reasons. Others are not yet convinced that it is an important topic to today’s traveller.Ó
Poortier added that what hotels do to improve lives and help the planet, and to engage in credible sustainability certifications with independent audits are crucial to gain wide support from travellers and for this responsible form of hospitality to be commercially successful.
NOW will strengthen reputations by inviting hotels to join the NOW Force for Good Alliance and include them in the NOW Good Hotel Tracker, a tool for travellers to track sustainability performance, certification and annual progress in a one-page NOW Transforming Hospitality itmustbeNOW.com scorecard. This will be linked to a NOW Booker so travellers can also book directly and hotels will not be charged commissions.
ÓWe are entrusted to protect our natural heritage and safeguard the future of our children’s children, and we all share this responsibility,Ó said NOW co-founder Alexa Poortier. ÒThe next biggest generations of travelers and hotel staff Ð Gen Y & Z Ð are critically aware that there is a direct link between sustainable business, the environment and people’s lives. They like to continue their sustainable lives when they travel at the hotels they stay at and are globally connected to share their experience. They believe that work should reflect or be part of a larger societal concern with emphasis on corporate social responsibility, ethical causes and greater protection for the environment which makes it important to embed sustainability in the hospitality industry to attract future talents.
ÒDoing nothing is no longer acceptable. We want to ignite global consciousness about the urgency and the need for responsibility, creative solutions and action.Ó