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As PLANET 21 turns two, Accor marks sustainability milestones, plants over 2,000 trees daily

April 23, 2014 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

This Earth Day, Accor celebrates the second anniversary of PLANET 21, its sustainable development program.

unnamed (10)Since the program’s launch, Accor hotels have advanced towards sustainability targets set for 2015, including 95% of hotels using eco-labeled cleaning products(Target: 85%), 86% of hotels recycling waste (Target: 85%), and 80% of hotels promoting healthy dishes (Target: 80%). In addition, since 2009, the Group has planted over 3.5 million trees through Plant for the Planet, one of PLANET 21’s flagship initiatives. Unique to Accor, Plant for the Planetencourages guests to reuse their towels by pledging to use a portion of laundry cost savings to finance tree planting projects.

Accor Singapore hotels : Leaders in Sustainability

Accor’s hotels in Singapore – Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay, Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy, ibis Singapore on Bencoolen, ibis Singapore Novena, the recently-rebranded Singapore Resort and Spa Sentosa and the soon-to-open Sofitel So Singapore – have been particularly active in PLANET 21.

For example, Accor Singapore hotels have made significant progress in the area of responsible food and beverage, with 100% of hotels offering healthy menu options (Target: 80%) and 100% promoting locally-grown produce (Target: 70%), which generally has lower environmental impacts and benefits local economic development, and all Singapore hotels banning endangered seafoodlike shark’s fin[i].

The hotels’ commitment is paying off in terms of operating efficiencies. Last year, Singapore hotels[ii]benefitted from a 3.4% reduction in water consumption and a 2.2% decrease in energy use versus 2012. Changing behaviours is a key part of the program; in China alone, hotels embracing PLANET 21 saved over US$4 million in energy consumption last year.

Singapore hotels have come up with unique initiatives to benefit both the environment and local communities. For example, in April, the hotels signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Grace Orchard School to offer training and vocational opportunities to students with autism and mild intellectual disabilities. Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen has launched Eco-Pen, a pen made from recycled newspaper, which reduces the hotel’s consumption of plastic, serves as a conversation-starter with guests and benefits a community of women in Jakarta, who make the pens to generate income. And to mark PLANET 21’s second birthday, Accor employees recently planted 21 symbolic trees at Nanyang Polytechnic, following on similar tree planting events that took place in previous years in Chinese Garden and Jurong Lakeside Park.

And Accor hotels throughout the region have been recognized by industry peers and governments with several awards.  For example, Accor took home the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s 2013 PATA Gold Award for Corporate Environmental Program and won the 2014 HRM Award for Best CSR Practices. Individual hotels have also been awarded, with Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay winning the Singapore Hotels Association Green Hotels Award.

PLANET 21 is at the center of Accor’s DNA,” said Javier Cedillo-Espin, VP Communications & Loyalty, Accor Asia-Pacific and the region’s sustainable development champion. “Building a culture of sustainable development has numerous benefits for the Group – by reducing our environmental impact and strengthening our commitment to our communities, we not only operate more efficiently, but we also enjoy stronger bonds with our guests, attract and retain the best talent and add value for our hotel owners and franchisees.”

‘Here your towels plant trees’ – over 2,000 trees financed daily

One of PLANET 21’s most innovative initiatives is Plant for the Planet, a unique reforestation project financed through laundry cost savings. The premise of the program is simple: when guests stay more than one night in any of 1,500 participating Accor hotels – including all hotels in Singapore – they are invited to reuse their towels. As a ‘thank you’, the hotel invests a portion of the cost savings into one of 21 tree plantation projects worldwide, including in Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan, Vietnam and New Zealand. Today, Accor finances over 2,000 trees daily and since 2009 has planted over 3.5 million trees worldwide.

Arnaud Herrmann, VP Sustainable Development, Accor SA, said, “With the support of our partner Pur Projet, an expert in developing community forestation projects, the number of plantation projects supported by Plant for the Planet has increased from 7 to 21 in the world in 2013. Our ambition is to involve a maximum of our hotels to sustain the program over the long term. Plant for the Planet enables us to address a number of challenges at once: to engage our employees and guests, to support local host communities and to preserve ecosystems and biodiversity.”

Each plantation project is unique and each is designed to address challenges specific to the local context. For example, in New Zealand, the Group works with Trees for Survival, a local NGO that involves school children in growing and planting 10,000 native tree seedlings around the country annually – a project that has educational benefits while restoring local wetlands damaged by decades of agriculture. In Indonesia, Accor has planted over 100,000 trees, working with a group of farmers in Central Java to promote sustainable forestry. The initiative promotes environmentally-friendlier farming practices while providing income to the farmers, enabling their children to attend school. Andin Japan, hotels have joined forces with other industry partners to launch Jakko No Moria project designed to revitalize tsunami-stricken Ishinomaki prefecture by planting 19,200 trees – a highly symbolic number representing the victims of the 2011 natural disaster.

Tristan Lecomte, co-founder of Pur Projet and ambassador for the Plant for the Planet program explained, “Trees are not only good for the environment. They’re also an excellent investment for farmers and for the planet as a whole. For a company like Accor, planting trees can significantly reduce its impact on water and on biodiversity, thereby improving the quality of life in countries where the Group operates.”

[i] Excluding restaurants operated by external parties

[ii] Owned and Leased hotels

Nearly 45 years, Accor has constantly reinvented its businesses to keep pace with the world around it, with the goal of providing innovative, high-quality products.

Thanks to our powerful, highly respected brands, our employees forge lasting interpersonal relationships and deploy their unique skills to develop and deliver solutions that create wellness.

For nearly 45 years, across all brands and regions, Accor’s five core values of innovationa spirit of conquestperformancetrust and respect have been shared and expressed every day by its160,000 employees in Accor brand hotels worldwide. Managers leverage these values to provide support for team members as part of the Group’s ongoing transformation and development.

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