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Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshot

Hotel Chains Standardize Carbon Accounting

Everybody travels and everybody stays at hotels one time or another but travelling comes with a steep carbon as well as water footprint. For example, every day you stay at a hotel, you might burn enough fossil fuels to release more than 33 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The good news is that many hotels and holiday resorts have become aware of the issue and are introducing plans that makes your stay more eco-friendly.

World's Major Hotel Chains Come Together to Standardize Carbon Accounting

Twelve global hotel chains have come together to achieve a consensus on carbon measurement in the hospitality industry. These include  Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, MGM Resorts International, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts and Premier Inn – Whitbread Group. They are forming a new Carbon Measurement Working Group along with the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Marriott International has long been a proponent of sustainability. According to Tim Sheldon, Global Operations Officer “We are proud to be ‘at the decision-making table’ for this historic effort; it continues our more than 20 year commitment to conservation and preservation. With the increase in global travel, we have a responsibility to ease our business impact on our natural environment. Working through this partnership to create consistency in carbon calculation is a major step for the hotel industry and helps to support our sustainable initiatives.”

For the first time, the hospitality industry is moving towards standardising carbon emissions calculations. The working group will calculate and report on emisisons as part of an initiative that ensures both customers and investors can compare hotel carbon emissions on a comparison basis.
"The hotel industry recognizes its responsibility to mitigate its environmental impact," said David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC. "Through this initiative the industry is furthering its commitments to corporate and individual consumers by helping them to understand their environmental footprint. A harmonized approach to quantifying and communicating the sustainability of the industry's products is a firm step towards accomplishing this."

Both customers and investors have the right to know about the carbon footprint of the hotel they are dealing with. The working group will have completed the first phase of the project and have agreed that the standards will be available next year.

Greenview Consulting has developed the draft methodology and it has been reviewed by the World Resources Institute.

New UN Scheme Encourages Hotels to Contribute Towards Climate Change Mitigation

Under a new scheme by the UN, hotels will be able to contribute to climate change mitigation. The scheme offers an online toolkit to evaluate energy consumption, find renewable sources and improve energy management. One hundred different European hotels in four different pilot locations have tested this program and all the feedback has been feedback. While hotels only account for a small component of the emissions related to travel, they are a major priority for the tourism sector.

The Hotel Energy Solutions (HES) e-toolkit is the main output of the Hotel Energy Solutions project. It provides hoteliers with a report which shows their current energy use and recommends appropriate renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and actions. It further sets out what kind of savings on operational expenses hotels can expect from their green investments through a calculator measuring returns on investment.

These two initiatives are going to be a big boost for eco tourism which so far, has only been a niche in the tourism sector. When principles of low impact travel reaches the bigger chains, some real reduction in carbon emissions will be witnessed.

Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshotAkhila Vijayaraghavan

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net

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