AccorHotels’ UK operations financed the planting of over 16,000 trees in 2016 under its pioneering Plant for the Planet programme.
The programme, which is financed by the money saved when guests choose to reuse towels rather than send them to be washed, made laundry savings of £233,000 in the UK last year, enabling the planting of 16,791 trees.
In the UK, the programme has funded the planting of almost 61,000 trees across 41 farms since 2013. The UK programme supports sustainable tree planting and agroforestry, focusing on schemes planting trees in smart ways which maximise their impact. Its aim is to cut costs, raise yields and improve the environment, promoting sustainable food production and nurturing links between hotels, guests and farms.
Globally, the programme has now funded five million trees since its inception in 2009, through 19.5 million euros of laundry savings generated.
Thomas Dubaere, Managing Director, AccorHotels UK & Ireland commented: “Our Plant for the Planet programme is helping to cut our energy and water consumption at the same time as supporting organic and low-impact farming. It is great to see the programme having a real impact. For example, some of the farmers we support are now producing fruit which they can even sell back to our hotels in their local area.”
Plant for the Planet has been developed globally in partnership with Pur Projet, an expert in developing community forestation projects. The Woodland Trust manages the programme in the UK, with help from the Soil Association and Organic Research Centre.
AccorHotels’ UK ibis network will soon be introducing an extension to the scheme, which will see guests informed that their towels won’t be changed unless they leave them on the floor. The new initiative will utilise door hangers to inform guests of the new policy and how their decision to not have their towels changed will help UK farmers.
The Plant for the Planet results form part of AccorHotel’s annual update on its Planet 21 sustainability programme. Global highlights across the group in the past year include:
Over 500 urban vegetable gardens
AccorHotels has planted over 500 vegetable gardens worldwide from Bangkok to Rome and Sao Paulo to Kinshasa, following its commitment last April to developing urban farming and planting 1,000 vegetable gardens by 2020.
One of these vegetable gardens is in the new flagship Novotel Canary Wharf, producing vegetables for use in the hotel and its 37th floor restaurant Bokan.
Less food waste
38 hotels in 13 countries are already using connected solutions to fight food waste in their kitchens and restaurants. The initiative has cut food waste by nearly 60% in the pilot hotels’ kitchens – a total of €540,000 in estimated savings.
In 2017, the group plans to launch the wide-scale deployment of these devices and implement a system to monitor the results obtained in all its hotels worldwide.
Aiming for carbon neutral buildings
One of Planet 21’s key priorities is to achieve carbon neutral buildings. In 2016, the group cut its energy consumption by 2.4% and CO² emissions by 3%. These results are even more encouraging because they were achieved despite particularly unfavourable world weather conditions in 2016 compared with 2015, with demand for heating and air-conditioning increasing by more than 4%.
AccorHotels Sustainability Director, Arnaud Herrmann, stated: “A year after our Planet 21 program was extended, I’d like to praise the exceptional way our hotels rallied behind it in 2016. Last year is proof that our “Acting Here” commitment is a reality. The teams knew they could make things happen, and supported local initiatives with high value impact for our guests, communities and partners. Whether it was to fight food waste, promote agroforestry or further the energy transition, we applied a “test and learn” approach and tried out new, intelligent tools which have helped us make faster progress towards our objectives.”
A year ago, AccorHotels unveiled its new, ambitious CSR commitments for 2020 under its sustainable development programme Planet 21.
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