Unsplash photo used in Atlas report on hotels

Climate Crisis not on vacation: Hotel companies lack meat and dairy reduction strategies 

New FOUR PAWS industry ranking calls on Hilton, Marriott & Co. to improve animal welfare 


JANUARY 29, 2024 The renowned industry ranking, the Atlas Challenge, created by FOUR PAWS, just published its newest edition which focuses on world-leading hotel companies. In total, ten international accommodation providers were assessed and rated in the categories of meat and dairy reduction strategies, plant-based food offerings, and animal welfare.  

With an overall rating of 4.2 out of five stars, French company Accor (Novotel, Mercure, Ibis) comes in first place with over 5,000 hotels in more than 110 countries. Last in the ranking is US-based Wyndham Worldwide with a poor overall result in the three categories. FOUR PAWS calls on all companies to set clear and time-bound meat and dairy reduction goals by 2027. 

With the beginning of 2024, the yearly holiday planning starts. FOUR PAWS’ latest “Hotel Challenge” offers an animal-friendly overview to travel enthusiasts, while at the same time suggesting improvements for the top ten hotel companies worldwide. 

An overall poor performance by most of the hotels 

Among the ten assessed hotel companies, none of the participants had concrete and time-bound meat and dairy reduction goals in place. Accor, Hilton, Hyatt and Radisson mentioned at least a reduction of meat and dairy offerings, while Accor is the only company that has contractual climate-related requirements for their suppliers. Regarding animal welfare, the results in total were no better, with none of the companies achieving even the minimum welfare requirements recommended by FOUR PAWS. This is to exclude one cruel practice, for example cage keeping or force feeding, for at least one species without geographical limitations. Lastly, the “plant-based alternatives” was the one category that scored the highest on average, with Radisson leading the category with 50% of its menu options being plant-based. FOUR PAWS commends the reduction of meat through more vegan options and emphasizes that this reduction should not be compensated by increasing other animal proteins such as dairy, eggs, or other types of meat like fish. 

Sonja Svensek, Head of Nutrition at FOUR PAWS, says: “Initially, one might not think of animal welfare nor the climate crisis when booking accommodation at one's favorite hotel. But given the increasing number of guests and the need for the hotel industry to reduce Greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 66% by 2030, to stay within the 2°C threshold, the choice for an animal-friendly stay might be apparent. The most effective measure hotel companies can take to reduce the number of suffering factory farmed animals as well as their GHG emissions is to have clear, measurable meat and dairy reduction strategies as part of their animal welfare and climate mitigation goals.”  

Make room for animal welfare and climate solutions 

A reduction of meat and dairy production is crucial, not only for the animals but also for the climate. Factory farming accounts for the cruelest breeding, keeping and slaughter conditions of farm animals and kills over eighty billion sentient beings each year. Animal agriculture is also one of the leading causes of the climate crisis with 16.5% of globally emitted GHG. 

Svensek concludes: “Our food systems are outdated. Factory farming is the biggest cause of animal suffering worldwide, which fuels the climate crisis and drives biodiversity loss. In order to tackle these pivotal global issues, the food industry - including the hotel sector – has to take on its share of responsibility to urgently prioritize sustainability which highlights animal welfare and mitigates the climate crisis. Even though there is always the possibility to specifically ask for non-meat alternatives at some leading hotels, the responsibility should not only lie with the guest but rather with the hotel company itself. They should be the ones to act, implement meat and dairy reduction strategies as part of their animal welfare policies, and pro-actively communicate, and promote this.”  


The FOUR PAWS Hotel Challenge – which is part of the Atlas Challenge food industry ranking series – looked at the objectives and measures of ten of the biggest hotel companies with a presence in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and South Africa on their meat and dairy reduction strategies, emission reduction goals, animal welfare policies, plant-based product portfolio, and marketing strategies. Due to their global influential position, the selected hotel companies can drive positive change amongst not only their guests but within the hotel industry itself. The ranking shows who is on the way to taking responsibility and who is falling behind. In addition to FOUR PAWS’ research that was based on publicly available information online including assessing the hotels’ Corporate Sustainability report (CSR), Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance (ESG), and animal welfare policies. A questionnaire was sent out that also asked whether they are aware of the impact of meat and dairy on animal welfare and the climate, and whether they have measures and goals in place to reduce it.  

Methodology and Scoring 

Between June and September 2023, FOUR PAWS assessed a total of ten global hotel companies with a strong corporate brand presence in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and South Africa. The choice for ranking hotel companies instead of the chain brands themselves was based on the fact that CSR, ESG and similar reports/policies are usually implemented on the company level. Hereinafter, hotel companies will be referred to as hotels.   

The assessment was based on hotels’ publicly available information such as CSR, ESG, animal welfare policies, food, and marketing strategies. FOUR PAWS gained this information by sending out a questionnaire to all hotels and by conducting their own research. For those who did not answer the questionnaire, the evaluation was based solely on the results of the research. Any changes that were implemented by the selected hotels to their policies, food offerings or marketing strategies after the set research timeframe and the questionnaire return deadline were not considered in the ranking.  

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.fourpawsusa.org 

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