MONTHLY BAROMETER – WELLNESS EDITION

Climate will reshape politics. There isn’t a single climate solution, so expect tomorrow’s world to be messy.

Maybe more than other industries because of the values it embodies and the image it projects, the wellness industry will be held accountable for how it deals with the environment and the climate. Increasingly, clients, investors (for public companies), activists and also regulators will “punish” wellness travel businesses that don’t walk the environment talk.

Some wellness companies will also be affected by public campaigns that may hit their bottom line. The most obvious example that comes to mind is “fly shame.” When we referred to it some months ago, it was still a very weak signal, hardly on the radar screen of most business executives and barely discussed outside of Europe. No more.

Airlines account for roughly 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, but the consumer backlash is growing so fast that the CEO of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) identifies it as an “existential question.” The no-fly movement is bound to grow. It started in Europe, where it has already had an effect on countries like Sweden, where air travel has declined and train travel has increased; it will now move to the US and then to Asia—the biggest contributor to the growth in global air travel. Politicians will respond with a fuel tax.

Companies are increasingly aware that they must measure the externalities they produce, ranging from CO2 emissions and pollution to social inequalities, their impact on community welfare and even on human rights. When they are not (aware), investors and activists will unashamedly jog their corporate memories—negatively impacting value. Sustainability is not a luxury or nice-to-have anymore but a financial obligation…and especially for wellness and wellness travel businesses.

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