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Uniting an Industry for Sustainable, Global Change

By Jenifer Willig
Friday, April 12, 2013

  
  

Across the globe, high-profile luxury brands are leading the way toward a new era where luxury and sustainability co-exist. In fact, the hospitality and tourism industry has long been a leader in this area. Today, hotels and resorts are adapting environmentally friendly practices that drive positive change for their properties. But that's not enough. The hospitality and tourism industry is a multi-trillion dollar industry, and one of the biggest consumers of natural resources. But united, it has the potential to impact large social issues affecting everyone on the planet without sacrificing its bottom line. And the industry is starting to realize.

Today nearly 1 billion people live without access to clean and safe drinking water. And nearly 2.4 billion live without basic sanitation. Accessibility to clean and safe water is a global issue that affects every country on the planet. And it needs an innovative approach to help fund the diverse solutions required to help eradicate this issue.

WHOLE WORLD Water is one of those solutions. Our model aims to unite this industry to raise funds for clean and safe water projects around the world. We begin with the premise that positive change and investment requires a model that focuses on sustainable and profitable growth. Through our model, hotels, restaurants and spas filter water at source, bottle it in reusable glass bottles and sell it to guests. They donate 10 percent of the proceeds to The WHOLE WORLD Water Fund; a fund benefiting clean and safe water projects across the globe. In short, our members increase profits, reduce waste, and help build a sustainable future for us all.

Luxury Hotels, Sustainable Luxury, Corporate Social Resposibility

We're well aware of the incredible economic contribution of the hospitality and tourism industry. It helps propel our global economy. It accounts for nine percent of the global GDP, six percent of world trade, and surprisingly, eight percent of exports from least developed countries. And the industry isn't slowing down. In 2012, we saw more than one billion tourists, and even more are expected in 2013.

Under this umbrella, there's an incredible opportunity to leverage this industry for global good. Our members Soneva Resorts, Yoo Hotels, Virgin Limited Edition, Banyan Tree, Ritz-Carlton and Tsogo Sun, to name a few, understand that investing in social issues does not have to be at the expense of environmental and economic progress. In fact, they go hand in. And we hope they will lead the way and inspire all members of the industry to join us.

environmentally friendly practices, Sustainable business solutions

The way we see it, simple changes can have long-term impact. From reducing food miles plastic waste to supporting the local communities, these incremental changes scale up to massive change.

Our hope is that participation in WHOLE WORLD Water will inspire our members to look at other ways they can affect positive change and build their business. WHOLE WORLD Water exemplifies a new way to do business designed to unite an industry, create scaleable impact and balance environmental, social and economic progress, without sacrificing quality. Collectively we can raise millions, even billions to help provide safe and clean drinking water for all.

What we're calling for is a fundamental shift in the way we do business. Our members get it, and our esteemed group of Advisors and Trustees get it. Jonathan Porritt, a WHOLE WORLD Water Trustee, recently presented an impassioned plea to the industry at this week's WTTC in Abu Dhabi, emphasizing the importance of sustainable business in today's world: "We know about the economic contribution of travel and tourism. It's immense... We can't do sustainability by add-ons or by mitigating damage. That will not get us where we need to be."

Solving our world's grand challenges can't be achieved by one individual, one brand, or one organization alone. It requires the collective efforts of all: from governments to business to nonprofits. When we work together, we can scale our individual efforts to drive long-term sustainable change.

Luxury Hotels, Sustainable Luxury, Corporate Social Resposibility, environmentally friendly practices, Sustainable business solutions


Our model is only one of many. Yet it's our hope that WHOLE WORLD Water will serve as an example of what we can achieve when one industry unites around a common goal and a single issue. Imagine what we could accomplish -- and the value we could create for our employees, customers, shareholders, and communities -- if we were to approach our grand challenges with long-term sustainable business solutions. We have the means; all we need is the will.

Join us in helping to provide access to the billion living without clean and safe water today. Contact us at wholeworldwater.co.

 

Through the unique platform of the LuxuryNext Blog, we will go beyond the glamour and the glitz, to explore the business of luxury. Through insightful features, columns, blog posts by industry insiders, and interviews, we will look at how the industry is evolving and the challenges luxury purveyors face. From strategies used by the luxury brands to reach to newer customers and retain the old ones, to the latest trends and innovations, we hope to cover the entire gamut of the luxury business. We are also pleased to present guest blogs by industry spokespersons, the people whose very words are considered gospel in the industry.

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