The leading hotel group 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 decision will affect the local hotels managed by Accor – Novotel Sofia and ibis Sofia. The single-plastic elimination action by Accor is aimed 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 our previous commitment to eliminate all plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds, today’s 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), 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 our hotels.
With more than 200 million single-use plastic items used every year in all areas, hotels are already reducing significantly their impact. Several have deployed effective solutions by choosing more sustainable alternatives. For instance:
- 94% of Accor’s hotels have eliminated the use of straws, cotton buds and stirrers. The remaining 6% (mostly in China) will do it by end of March 2020
- 89% of ibis’ hotels are using dispensers. This means 2087 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 our brands’ efforts. Its hotels incorporate water filtration taps in guest rooms to eliminate bottled water altogether.
- To go further, our new brand “Greet” was created to answer our guests’ needs, so it is in the brand’s DNA to be plastic free. There is zero disposable plastic at breakfast and reusable dishesare 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 ibis Styles Warszawa Centrum, 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% single use plastic free objective.
One of Accor’s main purposesbesides finding alternatives to plastic and reducing environmental impactsis to positively change common mindsets globally by adopting the 3R logic: Reduce, Re-use and Recycle. The group’s headquarters in Warsaw for example switched to tap water since mid-2019 and thus eliminated 48 000 of plastic bottles used pet year – that’s 2 tons of plastic less in the environment.
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by the UN Environment Programme and the WorldTourism 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. We will work to eliminate the plastic items we don’t need; innovate so all plastics we do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything we use 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, for which a detailed commitment has to be presented, is a logical next step.