Accor makes waves in sustainability agenda with help of Energy Observer

Accor recently reaffirmed its commitment to achieve net-zero by 2050, and is supporting myriad sustainability initiatives that can help it deliver on its promise.

One such initiative is the sponsorship of Energy Observer’s (EO) round-the-world voyage, which last month, saw it dock at Singapore’s ONE °15 Marina in Sentosa Cove from March 10 to 20. The ship was accompanied by a pedagogical exhibition village, which aimed to raise awareness of the issues of energy and ecological transition among the public.

Accor is sponsoring Energy Observer’s round-the-world voyage and green innovation research

EO is the world’s first hydrogen-powered, zero-emission and self-sufficient vessel, and serves as a laboratory for ecological transition. From its stop in Singapore, it is sailing onwards to berths in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.

On why Accor chose to work with EO out of the many sustainable projects around the globe, Garth Simmons, CEO, Accor South-east Asia, Japan & South Korea, told TTG Asia: “We share a common vision with EO whereby we want to allow people to explore the world in a more responsible way.

“By partnering with EO, our vision is to engage our teams worldwide in our goal to offer guests a truly sustainable experience, and inspire people to think about the positive outcomes of a greener future.”

This sponsorship has led to Accor dedicating a floor of its global headquarters in Paris to the EO team, where space is used to house an innovation lab as well as specialists and energy experts.

As to how EO’s learnings will translate into green innovations for the French hospitality giant, Simmons said both parties are working on various projects to develop low impact solutions and new technologies for its hotels.

“One of the most innovative solutions derived from EO is the EMS (Energy Management System). EMS has multiple applications, especially for smart-grids applications and therefore hospitality entities. For instance, the co-generation of heat and electricity from a fuel cell system provides the best efficiency for any kind of building, including temporary structures or outdoor events,” Simmons explained.

“Together, we hope to develop new technologies that will help us rethink the way we travel.”

Partnering with EO is only the tip of Accor’s sustainability ethos.

Aside from promising to removing all guest-related single-use plastics by the end of 2022, Accor also joined the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance in September 2021.

In November 2021, Accor and 13 other members of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance announced a new Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality. Supported by the WTTC, this initiative offers a practical framework for hotels – both chains and independents – to improve their environmental impact.

However, as Accor is more of a hotel management company as opposed to building owners, the company also needs to educate owners that its sustainability strategy will help to create value for them.

When asked how this was done, Simmons relayed that each hotel’s green objectives are monitored through an in-house tool, which tracks food waste reduction, adherence to sustainable F&B, the elimination of single use plastics, eco-friendly amenities, and usage of cleaning products.

“We have also integrated sustainability responsibilities into our Hotel Management Agreements which our owners need to respect,” he added.

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