Monday, 8 July 2013

Going Green in Lantau

This article first appeared in the June / July 2013 issue of Life On Lantau magazine.

As perhaps the world’s biggest cynic, I am the last person to give undeserved credit to a corporate giant. But it is these giants that will probably make the biggest impact when it comes to being green, even if it is solely because their operations are so huge.
As much as we hope that not using the complimentary toothbrush or toiletries in a hotel or having a coffee from Starbucks in a mug instead of a paper or plastic cup will have a positive effect on the environment, it will be policy changes from these business behemoths that will effect significant changes. 

Accor are the world's leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe. They are present in 92 countries with more than 3,500 hotels and 450,000 rooms. They also have more than 160,000 employees. Some very simple number crunching tells you straight away just how much of an impact a tiny policy change from such a ubiquitous brand could make. So perhaps it is here the battle for a greener, cleaner planet should be fought. Imagine a policy that would affect nearly half a million rooms around the world?

Accor have been making changes. Are they making these changes solely to make the world a better place? Of course not. But that’s OK. They are after all a business and only fantasists think they should do things without considering the bottom line. But, they can make changes and keep the bottom line intact, and that is what many companies are doing. And the good news is that when companies like Accor do it others will follow.

The deal is that they do something good for the environment and we tell them they are doing a good job. The environment gets a boost and tree huggers everywhere breathe a slightly fresher sigh of relief and are given the succor to fight another day.

PLANET 21 is Accor's plan to reinvent sustainability in the hotel trade. According to a press release: “PLANET 21 is a comprehensive sustainable development program that forms a core part of our business strategy and further involves all hotels, employees and guests.”

So far so good

Enacted last year, the scheme covers all of the group’s environmental, social and community investment actions by placing sustainability at the core of its business strategy worldwide. The company has made 21 commitments and the same number of goals to be attained by 2015 including: 85 per cent of hotels using eco-labelled products, a 15 per cent reduction in water consumption and a 10 per cent decrease in energy use. Now a 10 per cent decrease may not seem like a lot, and indeed there is surely room for improvement, but consider the power usage of such a global chain.

“The name PLANET 21 is a direct reference to Agenda 21, the environmental action plan signed by 173 heads of state at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit,” the report goes on to say. “And reminds us of the urgent concerns that face our planet in the 21st century and the need to change our methods of production and consumption patterns to ensure the sustainability of the planet.”

Denis Hennequin, then-chairman of Accor, outlined at the time the programme was rolled out a fairly honest vision when he said “I am convinced that sustainable development will lead us towards a new business model. PLANET 21 will provide a fantastic driver of competitiveness for our brands, attractiveness for our customers and partners and loyalty for our employees."

Lofty goals

Accor will actively engage its hotel owners to bring more franchised and managed hotels into the PLANET 21 program, improving their sustainability performance and developing buildings that are constructed and operated in accordance with internationally recognised sustainability best practice. Accor will also share its commitments with suppliers, working with them to develop more sustainable products and services.

Again, credit where it is due. For a company this size to undertake an initiative this size takes time and money. And big companies do not like to waste money. According to the press release Accor commissioned two international surveys to obtain objective information about its footprint and guest expectations. In 2011 they carried out a study of its environmental footprint that enabled it to measure accurately its main impacts, define priorities for action and identify new challenges. This work was preceded by a survey measuring the expectations of international hotel customers, which showed that sustainable development is a growing selection criterion for both leisure and business customers. According to this survey, for example, 67 per cent of leisure guests take sustainable development actions into account when choosing a hotel.

Other hotel chains that have made commitments include the Marriott group who aim to further reduce energy and water consumption by 25 percent per available room by 2017. They claim to be on target to reach that goal.

In fact pretty much every international chain has made some kind of commitment to environmental change.

Newsweek’s fourth annual environmental ranking of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the world claims to cut through the green chatter and compare the actual environmental footprints, management (policies, programs, initiatives, controversies), and reporting practices of big companies. Accor, who have five hotels in Hong Kong including Novotel Citygate in Tung Chung, didn’t appear on the 2012 list.

Starbucks came in first in the hotels and restaurants category (169 overall), followed by Las Vegas Sands (239 overall) and Marriott international (273 overall).

In the next issue Life on Lantau will speak to Accor and see how they have fared against since the inception of PLANET 21, which can be found here from July 31.

No comments:

A lovely label cloud

korea (45) Rob McGovern (34) jeonju (24) robguv (24) jeonbuk ilbo (15) KOREAN FOOD (11) australia (7) Liverpool FC (6) Hong Kong (4) Jeonbuk (4) football (4) sydney (4) taekwondo (4) Cwmbran (3) Lantau (3) Life On Lantau (3) bibimbap (3) japan (3) seoul (3) wales (3) Accor (2) Americans and language (2) CSR (2) Citygate (2) English football (2) G20 (2) JIFF (2) Novotel (2) Premier League (2) Rob Guv (2) Travel (2) Tung Chung (2) australians (2) corporate social responsibility (2) facebook (2) hagwon (2) japanese food (2) korean cinema (2) korean film (2) korean spiders (2) kpop (2) malaysia (2) man yoo (2) manchester united (2) monday (2) obama (2) old age (2) park ji sung (2) phillipines (2) police brutality (2) prison (2) snow (2) tasmania (2) 2010 (1) 44 (1) America (1) American football (1) American. (1) Art (1) Barca (1) Beer (1) Beijing (1) Bill Murray (1) Bob Dylan (1) Borneo (1) British (1) Buzz magazine (1) Charles Curtis (1) Chelsea (1) Christmas TV (1) Colorado (1) EPL (1) Emma Hack (1) Florence Broadhurst (1) France French (1) Goyte (1) Groundhog (1) Hwang-Sa (1) Ian Tomlinson (1) Ireland (1) Jeollabukdo (1) Korea pizzaschool emart dogmeat norebang jjimjilbang pcbang dmz familymart seoul busan jeju dokdo (1) LFC (1) MW (1) Macao (1) Macau (1) Master of Wine (1) McGovern (1) Michael Jackson (1) Mickey Mouse (1) Montrose (1) November 2009 (1) OLYMPICS (1) SCMP (1) SNL (1) Snakes (1) South China Morning Post (1) St David's day (1) St partick (1) THE YEAR OF EATING DANGEROUSLY (1) TOM PARKER BOWLES (1) TV (1) Vancouver (1) Veruschka (1) What's on (1) Wine (1) abortion (1) acdc (1) africa (1) america north korea (1) animals (1) arizona cardinals (1) balls (1) bath (1) bbc (1) beckham (1) being tall (1) birdicide (1) birmingham (1) body parts (1) bodypaint (1) boris the spider (1) box (1) bread (1) britains got talent (1) building (1) busan (1) carlos tevez (1) cass (1) catholic (1) champions league (1) childbirth (1) chloroform (1) chocolate (1) chuarumi (1) climate change (1) cocaine (1) coffee (1) corryong (1) cote divoire (1) cremation (1) crime (1) crunky (1) cuckoo (1) curry (1) cutting things in half (1) daejeon (1) david jason (1) dick (1) dog (1) eating dog (1) exercise (1) family names (1) fat frank (1) fathers (1) fear (1) figure skating (1) fire chicken (1) fish and chips (1) flies (1) footprints (1) franks lampard (1) funeral (1) funny (1) gambling (1) gimje (1) golden orb spider (1) google map (1) graffiti (1) groovekoreamagazine (1) haemil (1) haeundade (1) haiku (1) hanok village (1) health (1) height (1) heroes (1) hippocrates (1) hobart (1) home (1) iphone (1) itaewon (1) jackson (1) james simpson (1) jan 2010 (1) japanese (1) japanese baseball (1) jeondong cathedral (1) jjimjilbang (1) k league (1) kendo (1) kim chang wan band (1) kim jong il (1) korea beat (1) korean football (1) korean martial arts (1) kumdo (1) lazy people (1) le petit france (1) love (1) mahatma (1) mail (1) marathon (1) medicine (1) melbourne (1) mikado (1) mouth (1) movember (1) movie bars (1) music (1) music history (1) naha (1) negative (1) nepal (1) nepali food (1) north korea (1) november (1) nude (1) nunchuka (1) october (1) okinawa (1) orphanage (1) pancakes (1) parents (1) partice evra (1) patriotism (1) pepero (1) phone pictures (1) piano (1) pocky (1) poem (1) prmiership (1) queen vctoria (1) racism (1) revolution (1) rock (1) rubbish (1) rushing star sausage club (1) sandwich (1) satellite (1) sauna (1) scam (1) scotland (1) (1) shamwow (1) shrove (1) simpsons (1) smoking (1) sorry sorry sorry (1) spider (1) spiders (1) spring (1) st andrew's cross spider (1) stabbing (1) stairs (1) star wars (1) stupid people (1) sue son (1) sunrise (1) supermarkets (1) surnames (1) swelling (1) sword (1) tampat do aman (1) tea (1) temple (1) test messages (1) thailand (1) the who (1) thriller (1) thumbs (1) to do (1) toast (1) toilet (1) tom jones (1) travelling (1) treasure (1) turtle ship (1) uk (1) uvula (1) vader (1) violin (1) visit britain (1) volunteering (1) war zone (1) weather (1) weight (1) welsh language (1) what's new pussycat (1) what's on? (1) whats on (1) wonder girls (1) work (1) yellow dust (1) yeosu (1) yudu (1) 김창완밴드 (1) 누구 (1) 불나방 스타 쏘세지 클럽 (1) 장기하와 얼굴들 (1)