We’ve begun a journey to become the sustainable alternative to hotels and random rentals. We’re publishing our first sustainability report, sharing our numbers and sharing the ride in hopes of starting a conversation that helps the whole hospitality industry get our sh*t together (us included).
A few years back, we (Bob W’s co-founders) were just regular people worried about where Earth is heading. We did our part by trying to make good, everyday choices. You know, recycling, bringing our reusable bags to the market and buying secondhand. Stuff like that.
Once we founded Bob W, we took on new responsibilities as business owners and have been trying to make good decisions here too across the board, like sourcing local, secondhand furniture at scale, buying 100% renewable energy for all our apartments, stocking biodegradable, refillable toiletries, and always providing our guests with opportunities to recycle.
But as our company has grown, we’ve researched what it means to become a big, international player in hospitality, and we don’t like what we’ve discovered:
- The hotel sector accounts for around 1% of global carbon emissions and this is set to increase (Source: Sustainable Hospitality Alliance).
- The travel and tourism business produces around 8% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by mankind each year (Source: Nature Climate Change).
- UN research shows that emissions from the tourism industry were set to grow 161% by 2035 compared to 2005 levels. The ongoing pandemic has slowed down this growth, but international travel is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels already by 2024 (Source: Skift, “Sustainability in Travel 2021”).
Some international hotel groups are making modest efforts, like planting trees and ditching disposable plastic toiletries, but unless we all do a lot more and fast, we’re in trouble.
Stepping up our sustainability efforts
This is when we decided last year, in 2020, to get even more serious about running our business sustainably. We made it a core part of our company mission and called in reinforcements from South Pole, a climate action organisation. They helped us count all our emissions from 2020, double offset our emissions and are supporting us in learning how to emit less in the first place.
With South Pole’s guidance, we’ve become a certified climate-neutral company. What does being climate-neutral mean? It’s similar to being ‘carbon-neutral’ except that we’ve considered all climate-warming gases in our accounting and offsetting (not just CO2, aka carbon dioxide).
Our top priority is getting initiatives in place to reduce our emissions (find out about them in our Sustainability Report). In the meantime, we’re also double offsetting our emissions. This means that we support verified climate action projects which prevent twice as much carbon from being released into the air as we at Bob W emit.
Challenging the whole industry
Now that we’ve got a picture of our emissions and initial plans on how to start reducing them, we’re communicating our impact with our guests, our competitors and anyone who’ll listen. We believe in transparency and honesty, and that consumers have the right to know the environmental impact of what they’re buying, whether that’s a carton of oat milk (shoutout to Oatly, thanks for the inspiration!) or a night in a short-stay apartment.
So, we’ve got a message for our fellow hospitality providers: show us your numbers, and show them to the public, so consumers can make informed choices. As people living on this planet, this is the race we all need to win.
Check out our sustainability report
You can learn about all our climate action initiatives and download our full sustainability report here. It’s our first, but it won’t be our last.
Co-Founders Niko, Sebastian and Bob