Unless you’ve been avoiding all forms of social media, information platforms as well as news, you're aware of the United Nations climate change conference happening in Glasgow. And if you’ve been asking yourself or others around you ‘What is Cop26?’, I’m here to answer that question. Moreover, I’ll explain what this conference means for hospitality and its sustainable development.
So, What Is COP26?
For almost 30 years nearly every country in the world has been coming together for the UN global climate summits. Otherwise known as COPs, which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’, are days when climate change issue becomes a global priority. Every year the nations meet to discuss their progress and promise changes to reach a common goal – climate action.
This year is the 26th summit, hence COP26, which takes place from October 31st – November 12th in Glasgow with the UK as the President. 197 countries have gathered to address the global climate crisis as its effects have never been more apparent. Events like smoke from fires reaching North Pole or floods shutting down transportation are only a preview of what’s to come.
Findings from the latest IPCC report show that the levels of CO2 haven't been this high in 2 million years. Moreover, the past 5 years have been the hottest on record since 1850. That's why this year’s global climate change conference has a tone of urgency. We’re nowhere close to meeting goals set in the Paris Agreement six years ago. Countries, industries, businesses, and legislators need to take action now or the climate clock will strike midnight before we know it.
The Sustainable Future of Hospitality
Hospitality is one of the biggest sectors in the world. What comes along with it is also the amount of carbon emission and waste it produces. Some businesses have already taken action and committed to sustainable developments. For example, Compass Group UK announced its new food strategy which will ensure sustainable, responsible, and healthier choices. They plan for all packaging used to be reusable or recyclable by 2023. SEC will also use high-quality, environmentally friendly local suppliers for fruit, vegetables, meat and bread. Moreover, to fight food waste they aim to reduce kitchen wastage to under 1% of food purchases by 2025 or sooner!
The next example is Liberty Wines that have become the sole ‘carbon neutral plus’ UK wine supplier and offset more emissions than the business generates. Another great example is RBH Hospitality Management group which strives to be a carbon-neutral company by 2025. Their reduction and offsetting plans have been broken down into six core areas: energy, water, waste, supply chain, travel and buildings. Moreover, by 2025 RBH wants to remove all single-use plastics and reduce landfill waste by 25%.
UKHospitality COP26 Event
To highlight the industry's progress towards net zero carbon emissions UKHospitality is holding an event on Wednesday 10th November. The host will outline current achievements and goals for hospitality and its sustainable developments. Moreover, it's free to attend and Parliamentarians, senior Government Ministers, other businesses as well as the public are invited. It's to show how Hospitality can be a leading example of cutting down carbon emissions and becoming fully sustainable.
Why Is COP 26 So Important?
In case you missed all the points, we need to take action to save our planet NOW. This is our last chance to make decisions that will allow future generations to experience a 'normal' climate. Our goal is to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, current pledges to cut emissions will raise the planet's average temperature to 2.7C. As you can probably imagine, this would supercharge the destruction by intensifying storms, heat, floods, etc.
Each country, sector and business needs to do more. We all share responsibility so we all need to do our part. For example, Africa is responsible for only 3% of global emissions and yet it's suffering the most consequences of the climate crisis. It's our responsibility to listen, educate ourselves, and implement sustainable changes wherever we can. The summit is a great opportunity to have this discussion and propose solutions as well as hold each other accountable.
I hope this blog answered your questions about what is COP26 and how it affects hospitality. We're happy to see the industry that is close to our hearts make the necessary changes. And if you want to be part of it as well, visit our job site for thousands of hospitality jobs.