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The hotel group is an official partner of the 21st International Conference on Climate Change. As well as offsetting all COP21 guests’ carbon footprints, Accor has also promised to train 200 young people in hospitality jobs for the event.
COP 21 aims to achieve an international agreement on climate, and will be hosted in Paris from 30th November to 11th December.
AccorHotels Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin said, “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 programme.
“At our last Annual General Meeting, AccorHotels’ shareholders supported the planting of 10 million trees by 2021. Following on from that initiative, with this powerful new gesture, we want to assume our leadership in the sector on these issues.”
AccorHotels is also working with the International Tourism Partnership and its member companies on the Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI). One of 17 global hotel chains forming the HWMI Working Group, the companies are collaborating to develop a methodology and calculation tool to enable hotel companies and individual properties to measure and report on water consumption in a consistent way.
As the host country for COP21, France and especially the Ile-de-France region expects to welcome thousands of participants from all over the world for two weeks. AccorHotels’ commitment means it will provide 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, will be greeters at the main welcome stations and welcome the delegations present throughout the conference. The training courses will draw on the experience of Académie AccorHotels, which has 18 campuses worldwide and trains over 120,000 employees a year.
The offsetting commitment will allow Accor to further support a VCS (Verified Carbon Standard) reforestation project in Peru, which follows on from the Plant for the Planet programme initiated by the Group in 2009, whereby guests spending more than one night in a hotel are invited to reuse their towels. Thanks to the laundry savings this generates, cutting the consumption of water, energy and detergent, it enables the funding of reforestation projects that are directly linked to the problems encountered in the communities near its hotels. AccorHotels relies on the expertise of Tristan Lecomte, Founder of Alter Eco and Pur Projet and a specialist in the development of community forestry projects. In 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.
Throughout the duration of COP 21, Accor 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. The art installation allows people all over the world to take action to fight climate change. An app for smartphones and tablets allows 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 programmes around the world.
AccorHotels has been committed to sustainable development for over 20 years, and stepped up its commitment in 2012 with the launch of PLANET 21. The programme comprises 21 objectives including local sourcing, sound water, energy and waste management, health and nutrition, diversity and responsible procurement. PLANET 21 was designed and deployed in collaboration with Accor’s 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.