We’ve been discussing last week’s excellent Considerate Hoteliers’ webinar – “Increase your Carbon Invisibility and know your C02nsiderate footprint. Make your mark by removing it” – that was packed with great information and advice for the hotel sector. As Considerate Hoteliers underline energy costs are a significant expenditure for hotels and with utility prices guaranteed to continue their extraordinary rise, it is time to act to save energy, cut costs and reduce carbon footprint. At SaveMoneyCutCarbon, this threefold message is central to the business we are building, together with effective measurement and Corporate Social Responsibility guidance that focuses on sustainability. The three speakers last Thursday afternoon – Fran Hughes, Head of Programmes, International Tourism Partnership, Jennifer Winstanley, Training Manager, Red Carnation Hotels and Ville Valorinta, founder CEO ecompter all fleshed out advances in sustainability in their 10-minute slots. Jennifer gave us some very useful insights in answering my questions about long-term carbon cutting programmes. I wanted to know more about keeping staff motivated – a key part of sustainability! For her team at Red Carnation Hotels the driving forces were recognition, personalised rewards, communication, engagement and a rolling updated programme of “green roadshows” for staff around the world. And what was clear is that when the staff are empowered through learning, they are inspired and all contribute to the success of a carbon reduction strategy. This is a strong element in our Corporate Social Responsibility work with companies around sustainability . Another striking point for me was from Ville who said that the focus has changed from the star system to one where people actively looked online for stories and content about a hotel before booking. He also shared the fact that according to a TripAdvisor survey (April 2012), 71 per cent of travellers planned to choose hotels based on sustainability over the next year, compared with 65 per cent in a previous survey. With this in mind, hotels needed to have a coherent, proven, believable sustainability story, which had to be online but also carried through to the hotel property itself – in essence, reinforcing the story from booking to check-out. This story needed “make sustainability count” and should include:
Fran Hughes started the webinar with an introduction to the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI). The HCMI is the only hotel-specific metrication solution, using Global Business Travel guidelines. This is a free service – the only cost is in time, which is a challenge for smaller properties and groups like Red Carnation Hotels but one worth meeting. Fran said the first step in carbon reduction was “measurement”, which SaveMoneyCutCarbon also strongly advocates and delivers through its fully-managed solutions. The HCMI is an approved methodology and a uniform approach to measuring the carbon footprint of a hotel stay or meeting/event. It is a great tool for corporate clients who need carbon emissions information as part of the annual RFP process. This allows them to identify suppliers who are taking right steps in carbon footprint reduction. It is also needed for mandatory reporting, a growing trend that demands greater transparency and better reporting. This methodology can be applied to any hotel around the world, gathering data easily obtained through energy bills and suppliers. The methodology includes limited third-party metrics, for example laundry but excludes things like hotel staff travel, furnishings, waste and so on. The methodology is to gather the following:
- Standing data (e.g. reporting-year: HVAC area, guest room area, meeting room area)
- Annual data (e.g. occupied room, energy consumption, emissions)
- Supplementary data (outsourced laundry, private space)
Twin targets of the HCMI are to get the carbon footprint figure down and to demonstrate good management practice. The HCMI does not provide benchmarks as there are too many variables across different properties and geographies. Jennifer advised that three Red Carnation Hotels took part in an HCMI trial in 2011 and then all 15 properties were brought into the scheme. Its success was helped by the crucial buy-in from top management – the MD is a keen advocate and there is strong support from the owners. It’s inspiring to hear speakers like Fran, Jennifer and Ville, not least because we share wholeheartedly their ideals and goals, as does Considerate Hoteliers – hats off to Una Harcinovic for arranging and managing the webinar. Talk to us about your sustainability needs. We’re here to help on 0845 123 5464 or you can contact us by email.