Sustainability Reporting in Hospitality Sector

Sustainability Reporting in Hospitality Sector

Luisa Margarida Cagica Carvalho (Institute Polythecnic of Setubal, Portugal) and Inna Choban de Sousa Paiva (Business Research Unit (BRU-IUL), Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9936-4.ch008

Abstract

Students seldom contemplate the importance of sustainability in family businesses. Indeed, the economic dimension of sustainability using performance statements remains a neglected field of study. The case of a Spain family firm in the tourism sector, Meliá Hotels International, is used to introduce students to sustainability analyses through the study of the company's sustainability information. This provides instructors with an opportunity to discuss the actual financial state of the company and how to improve some indicators, as well as to present an overview of the long-term sustainability of a family business. A qualitative methodology is used based on the documental analysis of sustainability reporting and information collected from the company's website and the media. This chapter present a case that can be used in management and accounting classes at both the bachelor and master levels. It is an important topic for users of financial information, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders concerned with these issues.
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Introduction

The relevance of disclosure both economic, environmental and social information by companies has increased in the last few years. Through sustainability reporting, companies can express and communicate for stakeholders their strategy, specially referring to their environmental, social and governance practices (Ioannou & Serafeim 2014).

One of the issues in disseminating the sustainable development practices of organizations is the need to share concepts, metrics and a coherent language. According to the Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines (GRI, 2006), preparing sustainability reports is the practice of measuring, disclosing and reporting to internal and external stakeholders on organizational performance for sustainable development.

The reports presented on the basis of these guidelines constitute a reference, demonstration and benchmarking standard across companies. In particular, sustainability reports fall into three key dimensions, which provide information about the management of each organization and its impacts on: (i) Economic Performance: economic conditions of stakeholders at local and global level, enhancing the flow of capital and the main economic impacts of the organization on society; (ii) Environmental Performance: the company's impact on living and non-living natural systems (ecosystems, land, air and water), reporting the consumption of materials, energy and water and the production and emission of waste; (iii) Social Performance: impact of the organization on the social environment, referring to labor practices, human rights, society and product responsibility.

This case study was conducted in the company from the tourism industry due to their relevance and growth in the worldwide economy. Tourism has a truly strategic importance for the Spain economy by virtue of its capacity to create wealth and employment. It is a sector in which we have clear competitive advantages as happens with few others.

This case-study presents the case of Meliá Hotels International. Meliá Hotels International S.A. (until 2011 Sol Meliá) is a hotel company based in Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain). It was founded in 1956 by Gabriel Escarrer Julià, who remains in the position of president. Gabriel Escarrer Jaume holds the position of vice president and chief executive officer.

The aims of this paper were achieved through the use of an instructional case study methodology, to present a case study prepared to use in the management and accounting classrooms to discuss topics such as, sustainability in tourism sector.

In our perspective is important define the learning outcomes of the case study. The learning outcomes considered as statements of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completion of a process of learning. So at the end of this case students will be able to:

  • Understand the sustainability concept overall e importance of the sustainability to the tourism business.

  • Analyse a corporate social responsibility report and related with concepts of Sustainability and Innovation.

  • Understand the structure of corporate social responsibility report related by GRI Index.

  • Identify and evaluate the problems in the economic, environmental and social performance of Meliá Hotels International.

  • Discuss the improvement in the economic, environmental and social performance of Meliá Hotels International.

A qualitative methodology is used based on the documental analysis of sustainability reporting according to GRI and information collected from the company's website and the media. This provides instructors with an opportunity to discuss the actual financial state of the company and how to improve some indicators, as well as to present an overview of the long term sustainability of a family business.

Following this brief introduction, the first section presents the overview of company, sustainability policy and sustainability reporting. The next section present the questions on sustainability based on Meliá´s sustainability reporting. Finally, the case-study concludes with a brief discussion on certain policy initiatives that can stimulate the sustainability policy and the entrepreneurial development of the Meliá business.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainability: Is the ability to become balanced environment, social and economic dimensions to create long term value.

Hospitality: Is a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, food and drink service, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, traveling and additional fields within the tourism industry.

Disclosure Report: Is a statement that reveals the nature of the relationship between the analysts, their employer and the company that is the subject of the research report.

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