Low-carb conferences: New tool to cut carbon from corporate events

Low-carb conferences: New tool to cut carbon from corporate events

Chairs image via Shutterstock.

Hotel operator Accor has created a calculator designed to help corporate events organizers track the carbon impact of conferences, based on the number of participants, the number of nights they stay, and even what type of food is served.

The company said the interactive Carbon Optimizer allows customers to choose menus and tailor events based on their carbon footprint, encouraging them to adopt more responsible choices.

A number of hotel chains offer customers the chance to offset the carbon impact of events, but Accor claims to have taken a more granular approach to measuring the footprint of an event based on the embedded as well as direct emissions of a conference.

Using the data in Accor's environmental footprint report, published in December, the Carbon Optimizer can give the carbon footprint of not just emissions from production processes and energy consumption of hotel equipment, but also waste treatment, paper production and food, while also factoring in how big the rooms used are and whether meals are buffet or table-served.

The company, which owns the Ibis and Novotel hotel chains, developed the tool after a survey it ran in six countries found 84 percent of business customers are sensitive to sustainability and 57 percent take it into account when choosing a hotel. Both figures were higher for corporate clients than regular visitors.

The tool forms part of the company's Planet 21 sustainability program, which commits Accor to achieving 21 targets by 2015, including carbon cuts of 10 percent, ensuring 10 percent of hotels use renewable energy, and certifying 21 new or renovated hotels as sustainable buildings.

"The ambition of Planet 21 is to involve more of our customers in our continuous-improvement drive on the sustainable development front," said Sophie Flak, Accor's executive vice president for Academies and Sustainable Development.

"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 on sustainable offers for meetings and seminars in our hotels."

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

Chairs image via Shutterstock.