Hilton, Marriott, hotel giants get in bed to count carbon

Hilton, Marriott, hotel giants get in bed to count carbon

Hotel bed image by Zoltan Papp via Shutterstock

These days, many corporations choose hotels for their events based partially on what their carbon footprint will be.

When they send RFPs to hotel companies, they include questions on carbon emissions. In addition to helping them choose venues, corporations also use that information as part of measuring their own carbon footprint.

But until now it has been a challenge to compare hotels because they all measure their carbon footprint differently. Therefore, 23 global hotel companies put their competition aside to develop a standard way to measure this through the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative.

With technical expertise from KPMG, a working group of the International Tourism Partnership, the World Travel and Tourism Council and the 23 hospitality companies developed the methodology. In addition to measuring carbon emissions the same way, they also developed a common language to report on them.  

More than 15,000 hotels around the world have adopted the methodology so far. It is robust enough to meet global carbon reporting standards and practical enough for any hotel to implement, from huge casinos to small bed-and-breakfasts.  

Testing by some 50 hotels shows it takes about two hours to complete from easily available data such as energy bills and suppliers. After being entered into a spreadsheet, the hotel can analyze its carbon footprint for guestrooms and meeting spaces during a specified year, per night and per guest.

"The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative is a fantastic example of the world's largest hotels putting their competitive differences to one side to work together in the interests of the industry overall. I hope more hotels will sign up to use what is rapidly becoming a new industry standard," says David Scowsill, World Travel and Tourism Council CEO.  

Eighty percent of Fortune 500 companies now participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project, which commits them to driving down greenhouse gas emissions and water use. In 2008, just 72 Fortune 500 companies reported business travel emissions, but that number has since risen to 203, says George Favaloro, managing director of PwC.

"Companies want to do business with companies that have the same mentality. It is your biggest and most sophisticated customers who care about this," he said.

Hotels involved in the working group are: Accor, Beijing Tourism Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Diamond Resorts International, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels, Hyatt Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Marriott International, Meliá Hotels International, MGM Resorts International, NH Hoteles, Orient-Express Hotels Ltd, Pan Pacific Hotel Group, Premier Inn-Whitbread Group, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, TUI AG and Wyndham Worldwide.

Another initiative is the Hospitality Sustainable Purchasing Consortium, which aims to improve the sustainability of hotel supply chains. It is working together to green the furniture, fixtures and equipment that hotels buy.

This article originally appeared at SustainableBusiness.com and is reprinted with permission.

Image of hotel room door by Martin Lehmann via Shutterstock.