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Accor reveals global hotel energy usage with environmental footprint release

By Peter Ruddick , 22-Feb-2012

Related topics: Business, Venues, Trends & Reports, Hotels

International hotel operator Accor has revealed the group consumes more than 18bn kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy, ahead of a spring publication of a new sustainable development strategy for the company.

Accor used a life-cycle analysis to assess the environmental impact and hotel energy usage of the group

Accor used a life-cycle analysis to assess the environmental impact and hotel energy usage of the group

The French-owned group, which operates the Mercure, Etap and Formule 1brands, carried out a full environmental footprint assessment with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to find out where it needs to improve its performance on energy and water usage and waste. The results will be used to develop a new sustainable development strategy, to be announced in the spring.

The results show the group uses 18 billion kWh of energy, as much as a European city with 386,000 inhabitants. The 4,200 Accor Hotels worldwide account for 75 per cent of this consumption.

Reinvent hospitality

Accor chief executive, Denis Hennequin, said the results would be used to ensure sustainable development was at the heart of the business. The company first looked at addressing energy usage and sustainability 15 years ago.

“Our goal is to build sustainable development into the core of our Group’s performance and embark it on a continuous improvement drive to reinvent hospitality for the long term,” he said.

Accor claims the study is the first analysis of its kind for the whole of an international hotel group.

PwC’s sustainable development associate, Sylvain Lambert, said a life-cycle analysis method was adapted to accurately present the environmental footprint of the hotel group.

“Accor was keen on learning from and sharing its findings. It asked a panel of experts to review results in order to fine-tune a few of the specific points and ensure the methods it chose were sound,” he said.

Surprise findings

Some of the results came as a surprise to Accor, for example the majority of water usage in the hotels worldwide came from the food production chain (86 per cent) as opposed to the water used in bathrooms, kitchens, sprinklers and from leaks.

Accor uses nearly 550m litres of water a year. The Etap hotel in Birmingham is a case-study for the group where rain water is collected from the roof to supply toilets.

Sophie Flak, Accor’s academies and sustainable development director, said the future sustainable development strategy would look to build on what the company already does.

“We have started rallying employees, with help from the Accor Academy and its 17 training centres worldwide, to sharpen our awareness of our real impacts on the environment, how those impacts ripple through our business, and how we can improve,” she said.

Some of the ideas expected to feature in the new strategy ahead of a further assessment in 2015 include setting up new channels with suppliers and reducing waste in building and revamping hotels.

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