Operators should be fully aware of the challenges of implementing sustainability pledges if they want to avoid a "big shock down the line", the chief executive of the Pig Hotels has warned.
Speaking at the Annual Hotel Conference in Manchester on 12 September, Tom Ross revealed that businesses who plan to integrate sustainability into their model should "really believe" in it before rushing to "low-hanging fruit" solutions, such as removing single-use plastics from their premises.
The Pig opened its first property in the New Forest in 2011 and has since expanded to ten sites across regions including Somerset, Dorset and Hampshire. Each hotel has a garden and aims to source produce from within 25 miles.
"Over the last few years in particular, we have taken it upon ourselves to go on this [sustainability] journey and whoever encourages you to do it – whichever stakeholder that is – it's important you really believe in it. A lot of people will have a big shock down the line at how hard it is," he said.
Ross revealed the Pig is about to embark on its B Corp journey, but stressed that it is "so, so detailed", as it covers everything from waste management right down to engagement with the local community.
"These are all mega projects and this has taken us a year and a full-time employee [to work on]. There are a lot of people out there who will struggle to keep up with it. You've got to really believe that you want to make a difference," he added.
His comments come at a time when hotels are already feeling the pressure from corporate clients to up their sustainability credentials.
Speaking to The Caterer, Paul Callingham, chairman of Starboard hotels, said: "Corporate guests are most interested in ESG, particularly the larger PLCs. We had an RFP [request for proposal] season this time of year and we need to say what our net zero aspirations are, what our carbon footprint is. It's the guests first and foremost who are driving the change."