A greener way to stay in a hotel


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The Independent Travel

Everyone’s been in a hotel at some point or another. How many times can you honestly say that recycling facilities were available rather than just a refuse bin in the corner of the room? Furthermore, how many of us have had a new towel every day, rather than reusing the one from yesterday that’s perfectly clean enough to use?

That’s where Accor Hotels steps in, with their ‘ Planet 21’ initiative. Launched in April 2012, ‘Planet 21’ is so called because it focuses on seven key areas, and in each of these there are three specific tasks which they are committed to fulfilling. These are being implemented across the globe so people can expect an innovative green stay in an Accor hotel wherever they might be in the world. The seven key areas and the tasks which relate to them are as follows:

  • Health = 1. Ensure healthy interiors, 2. Promote responsible eating, 3. Prevent diseases

  • Nature = 4. Reduce water use, 5. Expand waste recycling, 6. Protect biodiversity

  • Carbon = 7. Reduce our energy use, 8. Reduce our CO2 emissions, 9. Increase the use of renewable energy

  • Innovation = 10. Encourage eco-design, 11. Promote sustainable building, 12. Introduce sustainable offers and technologies

  • Local = 13. Protect children from abuse, 14. Support responsible purchasing practises, 15. Protect ecosystems

  • Employment = 16. Support employee growth and skills, 17. Make diversity an asset, 18. Improve quality of work life

  • Dialogue = 19. Conduct our business openly and transparently, 20. Engage our franchised and managed hotels, 21. Share out commitment with suppliers

So whether you’re staying in an Accor hotel in Paris or you’re booking a London hotel, or even a hotel on the other side of the world, you can be guaranteed of your carbon footprint not being too impending. To date the scheme has been successful and continues to be so as the statistics speak for themselves. 68% of Accor hotels now use eco-labelled products, 77% organise disease prevention training for their employees, 64% recycle their waste rather than throwing everything in the bin, and 68% of hotels have banned endangered seafood species from their restaurant menus.

Accor hotels are also encouraging their guests who are staying for more than one night to reuse bath towels to raise awareness of their ‘5 towels reused = 1 tree planted’ initiative. Accor are promising to invest half of their savings from doing less laundry to support seven reforestation projects across the globe. So far more than 2 million trees have been financed and almost 1,400 hotels have committed to the scheme. The goal for 2012 was to get 3 million trees financed and all Accor hotels committed, and time will tell if they have reached this achievement.

Accor were one of the very first major French corporations to create an environment department, in 1994, so their experience, success and longevity speaks for itself.

Every year, on 21 of April, the Planet 21 scheme has its own celebration where Accor’s 160,000 employees across the globe organise events to reinforce the importance of the Planet 21 programme’s commitments. Activities include planting trees, health training actions, distribution of mosquito nets, clean-up of natural sites, organic food lunches, and a whole range of other selfless activities.

So when you’re thinking of staying in a hotel, be it in the UK or abroad, consider such simple things as reusing your towel and recycling your waste. Their benefits may seem meagre, but if everybody does it the benefits will be immeasurable. For more information on the Planet 21 scheme and its many commitments, check out the Planet 21 website, and see what you can do to help them on their quest for a greener tomorrow.