Novotel targets positive impact on oceans through WWF partnership

Hotelier Novotel has forged a partnership with WWF that will see the business support five flagship ocean protection and restoration projects and enhance its corporate sustainability commitments relating to marine ecosystems.

Novotel targets positive impact on oceans through WWF partnership

Image: WWF

The business will work with WWF France for a three-year partnership commencing in 2024. This agreement will cover all 580 of Novotel’s hotels globally.

Under the partnership, Novotel will adopt a new action plan covering the issues facing the world’s oceans which the UN has identified as the most important to tackle: marine pollution, ocean acidification, overfishing and closing knowledge gaps by enhancing research for ocean health.

The plan will include new sustainable seafood policies and other sustainable supply chain policies for purchased goods, with WWF’s guidance. This will build on work already underway to reduce meat and fish on menus and promote plant-based alternatives.

New ocean awareness campaigns will also be launched for guests, coupled with more in-depth education for staff that will include advice on the best changes to make in a local context.

Novotel may also, as a result of the partnership, alter its approach to reducing plastic use, water consumption and emissions.

Parent company Accor’s existing sustainability commitments include net-zero by 2050, with interim 2030 goals validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative, and eliminating single-use plastic from guest-facing hotel operations. By the end of 2022, 84% of hotels were free from these types of single-use plastics. Accor also wants to end the use of single-use plastics from back-of-house operations by 2025.

Accor additionally set out a new Group-wide water policy late last year. The policy, among other things, states that each hotel should assess both the current availability of water and quality of water in its locality, and report its water withdrawal baseline data.

To inform Novotel’s work, WWF will carry out extensive site visits to understand property-level operations and practices.

Ripple effects

Novotel will additionally provide WWF with funding to sponsor several of its flagship ocean conservation and restoration projects. These include:

  •  Work to find and remove ghost gear – discarded fishing equipment which can prove deadly to turtles, marine birds and other animals.
  • Expeditions conducted by the ‘Blue Panda’ research boat in the Mediterranean
  • Conservation of Posidonia – and underwater flowering plant – in the Mediterranean
  • Combatting illegal and unsustainable fishing in the Western Atlantic to safeguard leatherback, green and olive ridley turtles

Accor’s chief sustainability officer Brune Poirson said she hopes the partnership will “inspire the entire sector”.

Poirson said: “Tourism has a major impact on marine resources, yet it is also very dependent on them. Our responsibility is not only to mitigate this impact but also to come up with impactful solutions that will help the industry adapt to climate change and its consequences.

“Our ambition is thus to support our owners in turning social and environmental challenges into sources of opportunities, for their assets and for the societies in which they operate.”

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