Summary of Accor’s Planet 21 initiative

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In 2010 Accor hotels launched their sustainability scheme called 'Planet 21', setting up ambitious sustainability targets for 2015.

With 40,000 new rooms created each year, Accor hope to combine development with growth that will serve the environment and local communities. They’ll do this by involving all its hotels and their customers in a new sustainable development program – entitled ‘Planet 21’.

Launched in April 2010, Planet 21 is so called because it focuses on seven key areas, and in each key area there are three specific tasks which they’re committed to fulfilling. This has been implemented across the globe, proving that carbon footprints and biodiversity are swiftly becoming just as high a priority as the comfort of the guests. The project’s name has also been chosen for its links to ‘Agenda 21’, which was the action plan drawn by 173 Heads of State at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The seven key areas and 21 related commitments 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

Each one of these 21 commitments has its own quantifiable goal. By 2015, measures that are being implemented now are hoping to achieve the following results: 95% of hotels will organise disease prevention training for employees (Health); 85% of hotels will recycle their waste (Nature); 10% of hotels will use renewable energy (Carbon); 40% of hotels will have at least three eco-designed room components (Innovation); 70% of hotels will purchase and promote products originating in their host country and 100% will ban endangered seafood species from restaurant menus (Local); 100% of host countries will organise an employee opinion survey every two years and 75% of hotel managers will be promoted from internal mobility (Employment); Accor will be included in six internationally recognised socially responsible investment indices or standards (Dialogue). These are just a few of the 21 goals that Accor are planning to reach.

Results from the implementation of the scheme so far are impressive. By the end of 2011, the following things had happened:

  • 68% of hotels use eco-labelled products
  • 77% of hotels organise disease prevention training for their employees
  • 64% of hotels recycle their waste
  • 68% of hotels ban endangered seafood species from restaurant menus

As well as that, the group’s hotels have encouraged any customers staying more than one night to reuse bath towels to raise awareness of their initiative “5 towels reused = 1 tree planted”. Accor has promised to invest half of their savings on laundry costs to support seven reforestation projects around the globe. The programs are designed to give local populations an environment as well as more socio-economic benefits.

For contextualisation, in 1994 Accor became one of the first major French corporations to create an environmental department. A department at Accor was specifically created in 2002 in order to organize and direct this experience. Today, Accor’s sustainable development policy follows these ideals:

  • Sustainable development is not limited to the environment, but also includes all types of commitments to mankind (local development, fight against epidemics, protection of children from sexual tourism)
  • A group like Accor wins by capitalizing on its ability to mobilize; through its large network of hotels and businesses around the world, Accor has the ability to rally a large number of partners around joint projects
  • Last but not least, communications on sustainable development must be focused on specific actions, remain rigorous and transparent on the results achieved

The Planet 21 scheme also has its own commemorative day of the year. Every 21st of April, Accor’s 160,000 employees around the globe join together and organise actions to support the 21 commitments of the Planet 21 program. Employees instigate activities that contribute towards social, societal and environmental goals, such as planting trees, health training actions, distribution of mosquito nets, clean-up of natural sites, organic food lunches and loads more. Originally an event created in 2007 entitled ‘Earth Guest Day’, it is now in place to raise awareness of the Planet 21 scheme.

Denis Hennequin, Charman and Chief Executive Officer of Accor, states: “At a time when the group is embarking on a phase of brisk expansion, with the aim of becoming the global reference point in hotel industry, we are reaffirming our choice of responsible growth capable of generating shared value for all. With the Planet 21 program, we are putting sustainable hospitality at the core of the Group’s strategy, development and innovation. I am convinced that sustainable development will lead us towards a new business model. Planet 21 gives us a fantastic driver of competitiveness for our brands, attractiveness for our customers and partners and loyalty for our employees”.

For more information see Accor's sustainable development

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