Accor targets sustainability gains despite business growth
Leading hotel operator Accor has reported moderate progress against its Planet 21 sustainability commitment, calling its 2014 results 'encouraging'.
The group is on target to meet renewable energy goals in its hotels, with 9% using biomass, geothermal and solar energy. The renewables target set out in its Planet 21 sustainability document is 10% by 2015.
The chain has already met its recycling target with 88% of hotels recycling waste, including 91% of hotels recycling paper and cardboard.
The hotelier also runs 'Plant for the Planet' which encourages guests to reuse towels so laundry savings can finance reforestation and agro-forestry projects. So far the scheme has planted 4 million trees at 150 sites in 21 countries, including the UK.
Accor will be submitting the "Tree Resolution" at its Shareholders Meeting in April this year to step up its Plant for the Planet program, with a commitment to plant 10 million trees looking to 2021.
Room for Improvement
However the hotel giant will need to significantly improve its sustainability performance in other areas over the next year if it is to meet a range of carbon targets by the 2015 deadline.
Accor reports a reduction in water use of 5.6% between 2011 and 2014, only a third of the target reduction of 15% required by 2015. Accor says each of its hotels consumes approximately 15,000 cubic metres of water per year, 86% of which comes from the food service.
To further reduce water consumption Accor has embarked on a new collaborative project with Bridor, a leader in baked goods. Bridor has achieved a 30% water consumption reduction in its own supply chain in three years due to improvements in its manufacturing process.
Accor has achieved a 4.5% reduction in energy use between 2011 and 2014, less than half the reduction needed by 2015. The company has achieved energy use reductions of up to 25% in some hotels simply by improving employee training.
The company is also using the 'Carbon Optimiser' to reduce the carbon footprint of meetings and conventions held in its hotels by encouraging clients to offset their anticipated carbon footprint by participating in Accor's reforestation projects.
The hotel chain has also reported a 3.8% reduction in carbon emissions since 2011 against its 10% 2015 target, but highlights hotel acquisitions for the slow progress against this target.
Herrmann added: "Against a backdrop of reorganisation of the company, our results for 2014 showed a global improvement and the progress made on all our commitments under the PLANET 21 program is encouraging for 2015."