Sydney’s accommodation and entertainment sectors are high energy, high water and high waste. But a new partnership – based on the successful Better Buildings Partnership model – hopes to get hotels, museums and other venues serious about sustainability and make Sydney a destination for sustainable tourism.
The City of Sydney’s new Sustainable Destination Partnership was launched on Tuesday night, and now has the support of more than 30 accommodation and entertainment heavyweights, including Accor, Hilton, Star Entertainment Group, International Convention Centre, Hyatt Regency and Sydney Opera House.
The members have agreed to work together to source energy from renewables, divert waste from landfill and reduce potable water.
As part of the partnership, the venues will be provided with support from the city and one-another.
Potential actions include resource-efficiency upgrades, better waste minimisation processes, higher energy performance standards for new buildings and major refurbishments, including 6 Star NABERS commitment agreements for new hotels.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the partnership – part of the council’s Making Sydney a Sustainable Destination plan – would assist the city’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, based on 2006 levels.
“Climate change is the biggest issue we are facing here at the City, so it is critical that we work with our industry partners to improve their environmental performance,” Ms Moore said.
Waste is a key focus of the program. Ms Moore said the accommodation and entertainment sectors were responsible for 47 per cent of all commercial waste, with just half recycled. They are also responsible for 21 per cent of carbon emissions, and 14 per cent of potable water consumption.
It’s not a small industry either. Sydney has about 20,000 hotel rooms, 5500 serviced apartments and 7000 backpacker hostel beds, and visitors add $16.7 billion to the local economy each year.
“As Australia’s largest accommodation market it is up to Sydney to be a national leader when it comes to creating sustainable destinations,” Ms Moore said.
“By working collaboratively with the key players in this sector, we can reduce carbon pollution, boost the use of renewable energy and put Sydney on the map as a sustainable destination for leisure and business travellers.”
The city’s goal for the sector is a 61 per cent decrease in carbon emissions by 2030 and a nine per cent reduction in potable water by 2030. Resource recovery is also targeted to increase to 90 per cent by 2029/30.
There have been no targets set yet by the partnership members, however.
A City of Sydney spokesperson said targets would be discussed and set over the next three months.
“The job now for the partnership is to collectively set and agree on the targets they will work towards over the three years of the [memorandum of understanding].”
Peak body Tourism Accommodation Australia is behind the program.
“As a 24/7 industry, the accommodation sector has a significant environmental impact through energy and water consumption. We recognise a focus on environmental sustainability is vital for us all,” Tourism Accommodation chief executive Carol Giuseppi said.
“We congratulate the City on this initiative to increase our awareness of waste and energy issues and set real goals for the industry that will help us achieve economic as well as environmental savings.”