Accor SA (EPA:AC), a France-based hotel company, has committed itself to sustainable tourism with the launch of its new sustainability programme, Planet 21.
The new programme provides strategies to convert each of the company-owned hotels into environmentally sustainable properties. In a briefing held at its Novotel Tower Bridge hotel in London, the Accor group’s executive vice-president for sustainable development, Sophie Flak, said, ‘Energy is the second layer of costs after employees. It’s a huge cost, EUR350 million per year, and we need to focus on reducing consumption of energy because costs won’t go down, particularly with taxes going up in countries such as the UK.’
The new strategies, to be implemented through the Planet 21 initiative, will be aimed at reducing the group’s environmental impact at around 4,400 individual hotels, and also at addressing local environmental issues in the 92 countries where the brand currently operates.
The Planet 21 programme is presently targeting around 21 commitments to operate a sustainable business, with specific goals that should be achieved by 2015. The sustainable initiatives include a 10 percent reduction in energy requirements; a 15 percent reduction in water usage; using eco-friendly products in 85 percent of the hotel properties; and promoting healthy meal options at around 80 percent of the properties. The Planet 21 programme also includes planting around 21 plantations within one year, and having a plantation in every country of operation within the next five years.
The company has earlier surveyed around 7,000 people across the globe before developing its sustainability campaign, and around 80 percent of respondents had voted for a sustainability strategy for its hotels. Flak commented, ‘They want to be a part of it but at the same time they don’t want to be forced into it or be made to feel guilty about it.’