Increased customers are asking companies to join the environmental movement. Many already have sustainable policies or products, but are they real? Is there a reputational risk in helping the environment?
With the tourism sector contributing between 8% and 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions (WTTC, 2022), travel companies have an important role in adopting greener practices. If companies make false or misleading claims about their sustainability to improve their image without acting, this is known as greenwashing. As a result, companies may face consequences if they fail to meet expectations.
Here are some strategies travel and hospitality companies can implement to avoid losing their sustainability reputation:
Transparency and clear communication: Companies must be transparent about their sustainable practices and communicate clearly and honestly about their initiatives and achievements. This means providing detailed information on their measures to minimize their environmental impact, promote social welfare and contribute to local development.
Set verifiable targets and commitments: Companies can set concrete sustainability goals and commitments, such as reducing carbon emissions, minimizing water consumption, supporting local communities, and others. Of course, to be credible, these goals must be measurable and verifiable to demonstrate real progress, and they must be reported regularly.
Certifications and Recognized Standards - Obtaining certifications and meeting recognized sustainability standards can help support a company's claims and provide confidence to consumers and stakeholders.
Employee Engagement and Training - Engaging employees in implementing sustainable practices and providing training on related topics can result in employees becoming ambassadors for your company and actively contributing to internal initiatives.
Working closely with local communities, environmental organizations, suppliers, and other relevant stakeholders can strengthen a company's sustainable approach and create strategic alliances. This may include participation in community projects, conservation programs, or responsible tourism initiatives.
In short, tourism companies can avoid reputational risks and build a solid reputation as responsible actors committed to sustainability.