HOTEL CARBON MEASUREMENT INITIATIVE
The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) undertaken jointly by the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has brought together over 20 hotel companies to agree a common methodology for measuring carbon emissions.
The aim of the methodology is to provide transparency and clear communications for the growing body of corporate clients who require such information as part of the annual RFP process. Developed by consultants at KPMG, under the guidance of a Working Group comprising of experts from WTTC and ITP Member companies, the methodology is a first step in ensuring a common approach across the sector. The methodology was road tested at a number of diverse properties across the world, ranging from boutique hotels to resorts, casinos and major conference hotels. In addition, a range of industry experts were consulted on the resulting draft.
The 12th June 2012 launch signifies the beginning of a wider stakeholder engagement process, with the aim of refining and fine tuning the methodology over the coming year, and encouraging wide industry buy-in and use in the next two years.
Read the full press release here
CARBON AND THE HOTEL INDUSTRY
What is the issue?
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the travel and tourism sector accounts for 5% of global CO2 emissions with accommodation comprising 20% of this figure. International hotel companies are working hard to make their activities more carbon efficient. As global companies, ITP members recognise the importance of mitigating the environmental impact of their operations and are seeking practical industry-led solutions. Effectively measuring, reporting and communicating carbon emissions in a clear and consistent way is a critical step towards this goal. In addition, investors and customers are increasingly demanding information from hotels about their greenhouse gas emissions and corporate strategies for addressing climate risks.
Currently, hotel companies measure and report on their carbon impact using different carbon measurement metrics, such as per square foot / square metre, per available room and per guest night. Although many hotel companies have set carbon reduction targets, there was a recognised need to further the industry’s commitments to corporate and individual consumers by helping them to understand their carbon footprints.
Leadership and collaboration
To address this issue, ITP, together with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), formed a joint collaborative Working Group in May 2011 to focus on standardising carbon measurement. Comprised of 14 leading international hotel companies, the Working Group has addressed inconsistencies in individual approaches and developed a draft unified methodology based on available data.
This is an exciting development for the industry as it is the first time that leaders are collaborating to reach a consensus on a single methodology for calculating carbon footprints and consistent metrics for communicating emissions. The guidelines apply the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard at the hotel property level to serve as hotel sector guidance.
What will the initiative achieve?
A standardised approach to carbon measurement is hugely significant for various reasons. This initiative is addressing the real gap at property level (rather than corporate level) reporting. The expected outcome is a more consistent approach for measuring and reporting carbon impact at property level across the industry. A universal standard to calculate hotels’ carbon footprints, together with consistent metrics to communicate these to customers and stakeholders, will create a transparent marketplace, help promote best practice, and give more clarity on the carbon impact of a hotel stay or meeting.
The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative has generated wide interest from other hotel companies who are not members of ITP or WTTC, as well as extensive media coverage. Phase Two will build on the draft methodology created in Phase One, and involve further refinement, targeted stakeholder engagement and testing, and industry-wide roll-out. ITP and WTTC will launch the final outcomes of the work at the Rio +20 Earth Summit in June 2012. The outcomes will not only benefit the entire hotel industry, but also have relevance for how other industries approach this issue. Read more about the groundbreaking project here.