Accor to plant 1,000 vegetable gardens to tackle food waste

AccorHotels will plant 1,000 vegetable gardens at its properties, as the world's largest hotel operator ramps up its sustainability commitments in a bid to curtail the environmental impact of its operations.

The French firm, which operates the Pullman, Novotel and Ibis hotel chains, is calculating how much food it is wasting as it intends to “reduce food waste by 30% in particular by sourcing food locally”.

In a company statement this week, chief executive Sebastien Bazin explained that the initiative is just one element of the group’s enhanced sustainability pledges for 2020, as AccorHotels seeks to support the circular economy and transition towards low-carbon, sustainable business.

Accor’s food operations leader Amir Nahai explained that the group’s hotel menus would be reduced from the current size of 40. “In the future, we’re going to have menus with 10, 15 or 20 main courses, with more local products,” Nahai said. “We are also going to support urban agriculture with the creation of 1,000 vegetable gardens in our hotels by 2020.”

Accor Hotels has set a list of ambitious goals to reduce its environmental impact, including planting 10 million trees by 2021 as part of a Plant For the Planet project; recovering 65% of waste from hotel operations; and ensuring that 100% of renovated or new-build hotels are low-carbon buildings.

The group has already made significant progress in biodiversity and water and energy consumption management – since 2011, water consumption has been slashed by almost 9%; energy consumption by £5.3%’ and carbon emissions by 6.2%. The group has planted more than four-and-a-half million trees worldwide since 2009.

Green hospitality

In December, AccorHotels offset the carbon footprint of all overnight stay in the Ile-de-France region – including those at rival hotels – for the two-week duration of the Paris climate conference.

Earlier in 2015, AccorHotels vice president of sustainable development Arnaud Herrmann explained to edie the carbon reduction and employee engagement initiatives hospitality businesses should undertake to go green. These included creating a clear vision dedicated sustainability team and supporting local projects committed to sustainable water and agriculture.

This announcement of AccorHotel’s vegetable gardens project comes in the same week of the official opening of London’s first underground herb farm, which will deliver commodities such as garlic chives, wasabi mustard and salad rocket to nearby homes.

George Ogleby

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