École hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) finalists win the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge at AHIC

Sustainability-focused concept to be implemented in a real hospitality project.

The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge, an initiative by Hotelschool The Hague, allows students to showcase and create innovative concepts, present them to decision-makers from the investment community with winners having the opportunity to turn a project into reality. Yesterday, the six finalists - Hotelschool The HagueHotel Institute MontreuxHotel Management School Maastricht ZuydÉcole hôtelière de Lausanne, Ryerson UniversityCY Cergy Paris University - presented their concepts and ideas in front of a C-Suite jury and 400+ industry leaders during a face-to-face conference in Dubai.

Joined virtually by Sébastian Bazin, Chairman, and CEO of Accor on stage for the winner announcement moment were Paul Griep, Director of Industry Relations at Hotelschool The Hague and the driving force behind the challenge, Wolfgang Neumann - Chairman of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance who is also a Chairman of the Board, Hotelschool The Hague and Marloes Knippenberg – CEO of Kerten Hospitality and a chair of the jury.

One team got the coveted prize today. The winning team EHL students Eve Mignot, Lukas Lauber, and Stefano Abedum de Lima Hanzawa, developed the outline of a business model called SEVCCO (SEVCCO (Shared Economic Value through Co-living Cooperative Opportunities), based on incorporating sustainability in communal living, centralised, and operated by hospitality companies, for which they see immense potential in growing cities.

Bazin had this to say to the winners: “You are the leaders designing the world of tomorrow, and you are going to change the world of hospitality. I am truly proud of all teams representing their phenomenal concepts. I would like to stress that EHL with the winning concept called SEVCCO is invited to meet me in Paris where we will investigate the execution by Accor.”

Griep commented, “This initiative presents a unique opportunity for the next generation of hospitality leaders to build sustainable solutions with global outreach and outcome. Today, we have seen such creativity, opportunities, and endless innovation coming from the young leaders of tomorrow.”

Knippenberg said, “It was very impressive how these young students (all 6 teams) performed on stage and in front of a very senior hospitality audience. I think listening to the people post the presentations shows that these ideas are implementable and could be very transformational to the whole industry.”

Here is how the winners presented their concept idea in brief: "We want to help redefine the hospitality industry by reducing the negative impact of our society's unsustainable consumption habits and by alleviating global loneliness by leveraging the efficiencies and the social aspect of community living. Our concept involves creating co-living environments called SEVCCO with an infrastructure that promotes social interaction and sustainability through the sharing of resources. We want the hospitality industry to become a pioneer and torchbearer with regards to sustainability; paving the way towards a carbon-neutral society benefiting all stakeholders along the value chain."

This collaboration is about pushing the boundaries of innovation to create value-added solutions for a more sustainable world. SHC aims to enhance the evolution of sustainable hospitality. Launched 6 years ago as the ‘Genio Worldwide Innovation Summit’, the challenge has now moved to a new direction embracing sustainability as the recurring theme. SHC addresses the urgency of the climate crisis and the direct impact it has on travel and tourism – an impact that has engaged all participants to contribute with innovative solutions. About 60 students from 30 global top-tier hospitality business schools share their ideas for a better planet since the start of the challenge.

International hotel school students were invited to develop sustainable solutions in the fields of Future Brand, Future Real Estate, and Hospitality of Tomorrow. The idea behind the SHC initiative was to elevate the student journey and put innovation at the forefront of the industry ecosystem. Griep said: “This is the largest student sustainability challenge in our industry. Our mission is similar to the World Solar Challenge where ideas and solutions presented by the students are adapted and used in the real world.”

The team of the challenge would like to thank all partners for their support, especially Bench Events and Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, as well as their sponsor NEOM.

About Sustainable Hospitality Challenge click here

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