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Accor Launches Carbon Footprint Calculator for Events

Accor, the European hotel group that owns the Sofitel and Adagio brands, has launched an interactive tool designed to help seminar organizers determine the carbon footprint of an upcoming event.

Accor, which operates meeting and seminar venues in about 2,000 hotels, yesterday unveiled its “carbon optimizer” tool at the IMEX Frankfurt trade show. The carbon optimizer weighs a set of variables, including the number of participants, nights they plan to stay, length of the seminar, size of the meeting rooms and the mix of energy sources in the host country. Sales teams are expected to have access to the tool by the end of the year to help business customers organize their seminars and events, the company said.

Accor – which yesterday also announced the sale of its Motel 6 chain to New York-based private equity firm Blackstone Group for $1.9 billion – says its tool is more comprehensive than carbon calculators on the market, which typically only measure emissions from production processes and energy used to power hotel equipment. Accor’s tool includes indirect emissions linked with organizing seminars, such as waste treatment, paper and notably, food – a substantial source of carbon emissions. Business customers will be able to choose menus based on their carbon footprint, the company said.

The carbon measurement tool was developed after a guest survey published in 2011 revealed 84 percent of business customers are sensitive to sustainable development, compared to 76 percent of customers overall. Of the business customers surveyed, 57 percent said they take sustainable development into account when they choose a hotel.

The carbon footprint tool is one way Accor plans to achieve the targets set out in its Planet 21 sustainability initiative, launched in April. Planet 21 aims to cut energy use 10 percent between 2011 and 2015 at Accor’s owned and leased properties. Accor also intends to cut carbon emissions by 10 percent by 2015; reduce water use; and increase the amount of renewable energy it uses from four percent in 2011 to 10 percent by 2015.

The company says it has not previously tracked greenhouse gas emissions.

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