CEO Today - March 2022

TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE 113 Meliá Hotels International was once again recognised as a leader in sustainability in the hotel industry by The S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA). What does this recognition mean for the group? In 2019 and 2020, Meliá ranked first in the global hotel industry, and in 2021 it maintains its leadership in Europe and Spain and is the second-best worldwide. In particular, the company leads the world in the Governance and Economic dimension, once again achieving the top score among all the companies evaluated in terms of Climate Strategy. We are very proud that Meliá is the brand that is leading the transformation towards a new sustainable and responsible hospitality model, thus increasing the contribution of the industry to society and helping protect the planet. It is also relevant for our Corporate reputation, as we think that being seen as a benchmark for sustainability in the world is getting more and more important for travellers and other stakeholders. Tell us more about the steps that Meliá Hotels International is taking to drive sustainability? Our “corporate purpose” says: “towards a sustainable future, from responsible tourism”, and I can proudly say that we are strongly focused on the three dimensions of sustainability (ESG): Environmental, Social and Governance; specifically, the S&P’s Global ranking acknowledges our company’s best practices in fields such as climate strategy (including decarbonisation and circular economy) and Social and Governance, for the improvements on human capital and the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion, and the transparency, rigour and ESG risk management. With the aim of fully integrating ESG into our strategy and our operations, sustainability is one of the drivers of our strategic plan. It, therefore, includes many projects and initiatives in different dimensions. As the Chief Operating Officer, I am particularly thrilled by the opening of the 1st Net-Zero hotel in our portfolio, the future Le Blanc-a Gran Meliá Hotel, which we are building in Menorca - an island that, as you may know, is a Biosphere Reserve itself. The project aims to achieve total decarbonisation by reducing current CO2 emissions by 87% and offsetting the remaining 13% using renewable energies. Besides this, we are very keen on combining technology and sustainability, and we have therefore launched initiatives such as the CO2PERATE program, to use Artificial Intelligence for the sake of energy efficiency, and we have been pioneers in using Blockchain technology to involve our customers in sustainable projects, with the “The Planet We Love” program, by which they can exchange their loyalty points for carbon credits. How is your company evolving to compete in the challenging after-COVID tourismmarket? I think that the hospitality sector will boom after the two years of the pandemic, starting in 2022, when the industry will pick up momentum for a

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