Accor have unveiled their Carbon Optimizer product for professional customers, which allows meeting and seminar organisers to discover and cut their events’ carbon footprint across Accor’s 2000+ venues. This interactive Carbon Optimizer combines a comprehensive set of variables, including the number of participants, the number of nights they plan to stay, how long the seminar will last, how big the meeting rooms are and the energy mix in the host country. It also factors in food services, i.e. the type of food and whether meals are buffets or table-served.
Accor claim that this means this is a unique product in terms of its methodology – the calculators on the market often only measure emissions from production processes and energy consumption to power hotel equipment. Accor, however, includes indirect emissions associated with organizing seminars, i.e. waste treatment, paper and, especially, food which is a substantial source of carbon emissions.
This way, customers will be able to choose menus based on their carbon footprint, and adopt more responsible choices.
It is forecast that by the end of 2012, all Accor sales teams will have access to this tool to help their customers organize their seminars.
This carbon optimizer was developed by Accor to meet its professional customer expectations. The guest survey that the Group ran in six countries and published in June 2011 revealed that 84% of business customers are sensitive to sustainable development – compared to 76% of all customers. Business customers are also more aware of large business firms’ responsibilities and 57% of them say that they take sustainable development into account when they choose a hotel – compared to 51% of the total. The environmental footprint report published by the Group in December 2011 provided all the necessary databases to build this carbon optimizer.
Ludovic Dupont, Accor Vice President Travel Agencies – Meetings & Events, adds that “Sustainable development is an opportunity for our customers and a decisive competitive advantage for our brands, in every country. I am convinced that our commitment creates the sort of perception that nurtures customer trust and loyalty to Accor.”
This carbon optimizer is one step towards achieving the goals in PLANET 21, the new sustainable development program that Accor launched in April 2012. Sophie Flak, Accor Executive Vice President for Academies and Sustainable Development, explains, “The ambition of PLANET 21 is to involve more our customers in our continuous-improvement drive on the sustainable development front. The carbon optimizer, an innovative tool packed with completely new calculation variables, is a step in that direction. It will allow us to work with our professional customers to on sustainable offers for meetings and seminars in our hotels.”
For me, the requests from HBA and those in the MICE sector for carbon data peaked a couple of years ago and it had started to subside and become less important, particularly in RFP’s. I think that some even viewed this subject as something that they could “tick a box” to say they could do, in terms of providing some kind of estimated data, without actually worrying if it was accurate or could provide environmental benefit in any way. But this year, we have once again seen this topic rise to the top of corporates agendas and I think many events businesses do not know where to start, so will certainly welcome Accor’s leadership on this.