PARIS—Accor announced its commitment to join the UN Global Tourism Plastics Initiative and to remove all single-use plastic items in guest experience from its hotels by the end of 2022. This action by Accor toward reducing environmental impacts and strengthening efforts to combat plastic pollution of the world’s oceans and other natural environments is a significant step forward for the global hospitality industry and for the group, which has been committed to sustainability for many years.
“We are aware of the significant impact we have on our planet and our responsibility to create tangible benefits for our employees, guests, suppliers, partners and host communities,” said Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO, Accor. “What guides us is the consciousness and social awareness that drives every person who strives to be a good citizen. It’s about being aware, socially conscious and consistent.”
Welcoming over 120 million guests and serving more than 200 million meals each year, Accor takes its role as a responsible corporate citizen to heart, working within the framework of its sustainable development program, for the past 25 years. In addition to its previous commitment to eliminate all plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, the new commitment includes:
- The removal of individual plastic toiletry amenities and cups by the end of 2020.
- The elimination of all remaining single-use plastic items in guestrooms, meeting areas, restaurants and all leisure activities areas (spas, fitness centers, etc.) by the end of 2022.
Single-use plastics are defined as disposable items that are used only once and then discarded. Examples include plastic straws, cotton buds, coffee stirrers, plastic cups, plastic bags for laundry or extra pillows, plastic water bottles, all plastic packaging (for food, welcome products, etc), plastic take-away dishes and tableware, plastic gifts and welcome products (toiletries, slippers, pencils, etc.), and plastic keycards. Relevant alternatives to plastic will be proposed for each specific item, considering Life Cycle Assessments to ensure better environmental performance for the solution proposed to Accor hotels.
Examples of Hotels Taking Action
With more than 200 million single-use plastic items used every year in all areas, hotels are already reducing their impact significantly. Several have deployed effective solutions by choosing more sustainable alternatives. For instance:
- Ninety-four percent of Accor’s hotels have eliminated the use of straws, cotton buds and stirrers. The remaining 6 percent (mostly in China) will do it by end of March 2020.
- Eighty-nine percent of ibis’ hotels are using dispensers for amenities such as shampoos. This means 2,087 ibis family hotels have already dropped single use plastic for this equipment. Accor ibis family hotels in Latin America will follow the same initiative this year.
- Fairmont has used new construction and renovation standards in another example of one of Accor’s brand efforts. Its hotels incorporate water filtration taps in guestrooms to eliminate bottled water altogether.
- To go further, Accor’s new brand “Greet” was created to answer guests’ needs, so it is in the brand’s DNA to be plastic free. There is zero disposable plastic at breakfast and reusable dishes are utilized for butter and jam. In addition, there is zero disposable plastic in rooms and other parts of the hotels. Accor plans to open 10 more Greet hotels in Europe this year.
In addition, several Accor hotels within the group’s portfolio of world-leading brands—including Novotel Paris les Halles, Novotel Yangon Max, Myanmar, Sofitel Bogota, many hotels in Bali & Lombok, Indonesia, Ibis Styles São Paulo Anhem—have already taken steps individually to be plastic-free and are advancing towards a 100 percent single use plastic free objective.
One of Accor’s main purposes besides finding alternatives to plastic and reducing environmental impacts is to positively change common mindsets globally by adopting the 3R logic: Reduce, Re-use and Recycle. The group’s headquarters will lead the best practices and hotels will enhance their local initiatives and solutions to hotel guests.
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by the UN Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organization in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, draws a line in the sand in the fight against plastic waste and pollution. Governments and businesses, such as Accor, commit to a set of ambitious targets. Accor will work to eliminate the plastic items it does not need; innovate so all plastics it does need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything it uses to keep it in the economy and out of the environment. In September 2019, Accor Netherlands already took a step forward by signing the International Tourism Plastic Pledge led by MVO Netherlands and therefore initiating the work to becoming as soon as possible a signatory of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative.
“Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our time, and tourism has an important role to play in contributing to the solution,” said UN Environment Programme Economy Division Director, Ligia Noronha. “Through the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, tourism companies and destinations are supported to innovate, eliminate, and circulate the way they use plastics, to advance circularity in our economies and reduce plastics pollution globally.”
“Our efforts do not stop here. We are an innovative group by nature and we continuously search for more areas where we can reduce our impact on the global environment while helping our local communities in their efforts to create a healthier, more sustainable future,” said Sébastien Bazin. “As we work to deliver on our commitments, we are grateful to our dedicated teams of employees all over the world who share our belief in making the world a better place for our guests, while they are traveling with us and even while they are not.”