AccorHotels, the world’s leading hotel operator, was an official partner of the 21st International Conference on Climate Change (COP 21), which aimed to achieve an international agreement on the climate, and was hosted in Paris from 30th November to 11th December 2015.
AccorHotels Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin explains: “COP 21 is a key event for all the world’s leaders and for civil society players like us who have long been committed to sustainable development. As a leader in sustainable hospitality present in over 90 countries, the success of COP 21 is close to our hearts. This is why AccorHotels has made both a professional pledge to train 200 young people, and an environmental pledge to offset the carbon emissions generated during the conference by all the overnight stays in all the hotels in Ile-de-France in both our establishments and our rivals’ hotels. This initiative echoes our commitment to fight global warming through our Plant for the Planet reforestation program.
At our last Annual General Meeting, AccorHotels’ shareholders supported the planting of 10 million trees by 2021. Following on from that initiative, with this this new powerful gesture, we want to assume our leadership in the sector on these issues.”
Serving COP with training and hotel excellence
As the host country, France and especially the Ile-de-France region welcomed thousands of participants from all over the world for two weeks. AccorHotels provided training in hospitality professions and the English language for 200 young people from the French department of Seine Saint Denis. These students, with qualifications ranging from vocational training diplomas to Master’s degrees, were greeters at the main welcome stations and welcomed the delegations present throughout the conference. These training courses drew on the experience of Académie AccorHotels, which has 18 campuses worldwide and trains over 120,000 employees a year.
An unprecedented initiative that reflects the Group’s commitment to corporate responsibility
In an unprecedented move, AccorHotels has pledged to offset the greenhouse gas emissions of all the overnight hotel stays spent in Ile-de- France in both AccorHotels establishments and rival hotels, including other hotel chains and independent hotels, between 30th November and 11th December 2015.
This initiative, which allows it to support a VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) reforestation project in Peru, follows on from the Plant for the Planet program initiated by the Group in 2009, whereby guests spending more than one night in a hotel are invited to reuse their towels. This gesture, thanks to the laundry savings it generates, cuts the consumption of water, energy and detergent and also enables the funding of reforestation projects that are directly linked to the problems encountered in the communities near the hotels. To deploy this program, AccorHotels calls on the expertise of Tristan Lecomte, Founder of Alter Eco and Pur Projet and a specialist in the development of community forestry projects. In just six years, four million trees have been planted and €13 million in laundry savings have been generated, half of which is invested in 150 reforestation projects across the world.
AccorHotels supports artistic project “ONE HEART ONE TREE”
Throughout the duration of COP 21, AccorHotels will also support artist Naziha Mestaoui and her project “ONE HEART ONE TREE”
which aims to create forests of light on the monuments of Paris. This citizens’ art piece allowed people all over the world to take action to fight climate change. An app for smartphones and tablets allowed users to create a virtual tree using a sensor connected to their heartbeat and to watch it grow on the Eiffel Tower. For each virtual tree a real tree will then be planted in reforestation programs around the world.
AccorHotels has been committed to sustainable development for over 20 years, and set up a department devoted to the environment as early as 1994. In 2012, the Group stepped up its commitment with the launch of PLANET 21. This ambitious program comprises 21 objectives, and notably favors local sourcing, sound water, energy and waste management, health and nutrition, diversity and responsible procurement. PLANET 21 was designed and deployed in collaboration with its stakeholders. It brings together employees and involves guests and partners in a bid to meet the expectations of travelers who are increasingly aware of societal and environmental issues.