Sustainability in the hospitality industry: some personal reflections on corporate challenges and research agendas

Jones, Peter ORCID: 0000-0002-9566-9393, Hillier, David and Comfort, Daphne (2016) Sustainability in the hospitality industry: some personal reflections on corporate challenges and research agendas. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 28 (1). pp. 36-67. doi:10.1108/IJCHM-10-2012-0180

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The purpose of this commissioned paper is to offer some personal reflections on sustainability within the hospitality industry. The paper opens by identifying sustainability as a teasing paradox for the hospitality industry and a short discussion of the characteristics of sustainability. It then explores the growing interest in corporate sustainability and offers a review of the range of academic research into sustainability within the hospitality industry literature. More generally, the authors suggest three fundamental sets of issues that currently face the industry, namely, defining sustainability within the industry, materiality and independent external assurance and sustainable consumption and the industry’s commitment to continuing economic growth. In addressing these three sets of issues, the authors make a number of suggestions. First that definitions of sustainability within the hospitality industry can be interpreted as being constructed around business imperatives rather than an ongoing commitment to sustainability. Second that materiality and external assurance are not treated comprehensively within the industry, which undermines the credibility of the sustainability reporting process. Third that the concept of sustainable consumption and any critique of the industry’s commitment to economic growth are conspicuous by their absence in the both the research literature on sustainability and in sustainability reporting within the industry. The paper suggests that the hospitality industry may need to examine how it defines sustainability, to extend its sustainability reporting to embrace materiality and external assurance and to address the issues of sustainable consumption and continuing economic growth if it is to demonstrate a worthwhile and enduring commitment to sustainability. The paper provides some accessible personal reflections on sustainability within the hospitality industry and, as such, it will be of interest to academics, students and practitioners interested in the hospitality industry and more widely within the business and management community.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Global hotel industry; hospitality, sustainability
Related URLs:
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 23 May 2014 18:43
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2023 11:42

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