Under the pressure of regulations – HITT 2021: Baker McKenzie on the (cost) implications in sustainability

Under the pressure of regulations – HITT 2021: Baker McKenzie on the (cost) implications in sustainability

Barcelona/Berlin (July 2, 2021). The big, formative decisions around the topic of climate and sustainability will come from individual states and the EU. Their requirements will affect the hospitality industry in many facets: from real estate to the operator concept, from financing to employees. Two experienced lawyers from the global law firm Baker McKenzie show the complex, overlapping legal structure – and its pitfalls. Xavier Junquera from Barcelona and Dr Ulrich Hennnings from Berlin will speak at the HospitalityInside Think Tank (HITT) on 13 September.

“Covid-19 proves that owners and operators are not ‘partners’,” says Xavier Junquera, alluding to ongoing, “hot” contractual discussions with major financial – sustainable – consequences for the industry. But this is just one example from a gigantic pool of topics for lawyers. The Spanish lawyer describes the fact that there will be little room for manoeuvre for the hospitality industry when it comes to sustainability (and digitalisation): “In the future, actions in the tourism industry will be controlled by regulations that are actually issued for other industries.”

Junquera has been with Baker McKenzie since 1992 and is now Head of the Public Law Department in the Barcelona office. He specialised in hotels, resorts and tourism projects and established the sustainability focus group within the firm.

In his HITT impulse, the lawyer will show, among other things, what the Green Deal entails in terms of reducing energy consumption and emissions – and what this means for the circular economy. However, future legislation will also have a profound impact on corporate structures, e.g. through guidelines on food waste or through new labour regulations aimed at reducing gender discrimination. “Human Resources will become a strong focus in the new regulatory framework,” predicts Xanvier Junquera.

Many overlaps

There is also a lot of pressure from the consumer side: EU consumer protection regulations – already in place today – ensure that unfair business practices are made transparent. The pandemic is currently ensuring that health and safety issues are increasingly given a legal framework in the consumer (hospitality) context.

Hoteliers therefore need to build up more and more basic legal knowledge, recognise overlaps between individual issues and departments and thus become sensitive to legal pitfalls. Indeed, the states and governments that now want to push the UNWTO’s 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) seriously and quickly will – with an eye on the black sheep – force a change in behaviour through taxation. “Every regulation has an impact on costs”, Dr Ulrich Hennings picks up the thread of his Spanish colleague. The German lawyer has worked as a transactional and corporate lawyer for more than 30 years and has been with Baker McKenzie since 1988, today based in the Berlin office.

Energy Act and other tightening measures

At the HITT, he will shed more light on the (cost) consequences of the new Building Energy Act, which will come into force in Germany on 1 November 2021 and for which stricter regulations are planned from 2023. For example, the requirements for new buildings as well as for substantially renovated buildings will become stricter in terms of energy efficiency, e.g. for the installation of solar roofs or green roofings. “Also under discussion is to make the e-charging stations in the hotels available to the public”.

But no matter whether there will be further tightening in heating technology or in the use of new building materials, everything increases the costs, which are then logically not yet included in the operator contracts. “On the other hand, however, owners as well as operators should also make use of public funding measures”.

It sounds complex because it is complex. The two Baker McKenzie specialists will communicate it to the HITT participants in an understandable way.

Join Xavier Junquera, Head of Public Law Department, Baker McKenzie Barcelona and Dr Ulrich Hennings LL.M, Partner, Baker McKenzie Berlin on Day 1 of the HospitalityInside Think Tank (HITT): on 13 September at 15.45 h (CET).

Their HITT impulse: What is the regulatory framework for sustainable hotel investments and development. Become aware of the interdependencies between the different sectors and learn how changes in regulation will foster greater sustainability for the hospitality industry.

You can find the vita of the two specialists here 

The big topic of the HospitalityInside Think Tank 2021:

The Decade of Action: How Sustainability leads the agenda,
how Digitalisation enables it.

You can find the complete programme directly on www.hitt.world. On the HITT website you will always see all updates, as well as detailed information about the other impulse speakers and all sponsors.

And here you go directly to the registration!

HITT, the HospitalityInside Think Tank 2021
on 13/14 September in Munich,
LIVE in a relaxed co-working space and VIRTUAL,
in English language.


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