City of Sydney on why sustainable accommodation procurement matters

Image shows hotels at Sydney's Circular Quay and a ferry.

The City of Sydney is urging all three levels of government and businesses to join its effort to reduce the environmental consequences of travelling by preferencing accommodation providers that have a third-party performance rating.

NABERS ratings are currently voluntary for hotels, meaning that government and corporate procurement will be essential to increase the number of hotels signing up to get rated.

“More and more corporate businesses are looking beyond just air travel to understand the environmental impact of their accommodation stays, and using ratings as part of their annual procurement of preferred hotel suppliers,” City of Sydney Sustainability Engagement Coordinator, Kate Read, said.

“Councils, corporate businesses, and State and Federal Government staff can be having conversations right now with the hotels they regularly use.

“Does this hotel hold a rating? Does the hotel plan to get one?”

The City’s advocacy initiatives include leading a resolution on Government accommodation procurement and environmental ratings which was passed at the 2019 Local Government NSW Annual Conference in October.

It read: That Local Government NSW: 1. Calls upon the Federal and NSW governments to establish a policy that government officers preference hotels holding a third party environmental performance rating or certification for metropolitan based accommodation requirements; and 2. Asks councils to introduce policies to preference hotels holding a third party environmental performance rating or certification for metropolitan based accommodation requirements.

The City of Sydney has subsequently amended its employee travel policy so that staff preference hotels with a third-party environmental performance rating, where accommodation costs are in line with the applicable ATO accommodation rates.

The City has developed a guide about sustainable accommodation for organisations that lists short-, medium- and long-term measures companies can take.

These include ramping up hotel program/selection over time to only stay in metropolitan-area hotels that hold a rating.

“Better procurement practices have led to transformational environmental improvements in other sectors,” the City of Sydney guide said.

“When the NSW Government set energy performance standards for its office spaces, energy use reduced by 35 percent and emissions reduced by 40 percent over time.

“Changes to procurement in the accommodation sector will drive similar results.”

To learn more, speak to Kate and her colleagues at the City of Sydney on 02 9246 7826.

Image: Circular Quay in Sydney by Bernard Spragg/Flickr.