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There are very few industries in which competitors have come together and collaborated to address the problem of inconsistent carbon reporting. Despite increasing concerns that carbon reporting is a ‘tick box’ exercise, non-comparable and ultimately informs little about the actual positive change a company is making, collaboration for the sake of a solution often seems a step too far.
The global hotel industry is proving that it’s not. The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI), created by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and International Tourism Partnership (ITP), is the first consistent approach to reporting in the industry.
With members of both organisations being fundamental in its development the methodology has been created by the industry, for the industry and has consequently proved both relevant and simple to implement. As one ITP member comments, "HCMI looks simple, but a huge amount of effort went into making it simple so that everyone can use it".
The methodology has been developed to be robust enough to meet global carbon reporting standards but also practical enough for any hotel to implement. The voluntary and free measurement is flexible and user-friendly, designed to be applied to any hotel, from huge casino hotels to small bed and breakfasts.
At the recent WTTC Annual Summit in Abu Dhabi, Bill Clinton acknowledged the importance of HCMI in his keynote address, stating that the travel industry has already started to take on the environmental agenda and that he was delighted to see the development of HCMI, thanking all companies involved for their collective efforts on it.
The theme at this year’s WTTC Annual Summit was ‘a time for leadership’ and Bill Clinton praised what the tourism industry has achieved to date. As the voice for sustainability and responsibility in the hospitality industry, and a facilitator of collaboration and leadership, the International Tourism Partnership and its 16 members have played a key role in these achievements through practical programmes like HCMI. Members continually put aside individual interests for the common good.
As well as enabling consistent reporting, HCMI offers a real chance to advance awareness of environmental impacts and help people start to manage these better. Carbon reporting is moving from something which companies do on a voluntary basis to a legal requirement and companies who prepare early can be ahead of the game.
Robert McCann, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Environmental Sustainability at InterContinental Hotels Group states the three main benefits of having a common methodology across the industry to be enabling fairer comparison, saving time and providing greener meetings. He goes on to comment,
“IHG has built HCMI 1.0 into our online sustainability programme IHG Green Engage, which enables our hotels to measure, manage and reduce their environmental impacts and includes over 200 green solutions for our hotels to implement. Providing hotels have up-to-date utility and fuel data in IHG Green Engage and correct information about the hotel such as floor areas, then the carbon calculations are done for them by IHG Green Engage. Therefore, hotels are finding HCMI 1.0 very easy to use because we've been able to automate it for them – which was one of our key objectives when participating in this process. HCMI 1.0 will only be successful if it's used at scale, and embedding in our tool enables just that.”
WTTC and ITP member companies have agreed to have HCMI in place across their portfolios by the 2014 RFP season which is June 2013.
Fran Hughes, Head of Programmes at ITP comments, “We are working hard to embed the methodology and achieve maximum take up. We hope to increase the ‘supply’ of information by reaching out to other hotel groups about HCMI, as well as to travel management companies and global distribution systems to ensure they are aware that carbon footprint information is available and making sure it can be provided to the customer in the most straightforward format.”
In order to achieve consistency across the industry ITP have recently engaged with existing travel trade associations and certification schemes. So far HCMI has achieved significant buy in from, amongst others, the Green Industry Meeting Council, American Hotel & Lodging Association, Ecompter, Green Tourism Business Scheme and the Irish Green Hospitality Programme.
For more information see http://www.tourismpartnership.org/what-we-do/products-programmes/hotel-carbon-measurement-initiative. You can request the methodology, free of charge, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) brings together the world’s leading international hotel companies to provide a voice for environmental and social responsibility in the industry. We work to demonstrate in a very practical way that environmental and social responsibility makes good business sense. ITP does this by highlighting best practice, offering a range of practical products and programmes and tackling emerging sustainability issues through its collaborative working groups. There are 16 members of ITP: American Express, Carlson Rezidor, Diamond Resorts, Fairmont, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Kempinski, Marriott, NH Hoteles, Orient-Express, Starwood, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Whitbread and Wyndham Worldwide.