Innovation Innovating in Meetings and Events: Six Ways Accor Drives More Sustainable Gatherings
7 min

Sustainability sits at the heart of Accor’s strategy, a key driver of innovation and actions across the Group. As sustainability surges in global importance, we embrace the opportunity to drive change and recognize that the event sector must play a key role and lead by example. At Accor, we aim to pave the way for more responsible practices, committed to carbon and waste reduction, and strengthening ties with local communities. As the world reimagines meetings and ways of working, positive impact will be the differentiator. Today, more than ever, the sector has the green light to drive change.

Green Gatherings: The Carbon Currency

At Accor we place sustainability, people and nature at the heart of our business, applying this lens to all our operations and every guest experience, including meetings and events. Sustainability is not just a passion, it’s built into our action plan.

Our Event Carbon Reduction Charter for meetings and events, for example, mandates hotel actions such as the provision of recycling bins at all events, water filtration in glass bottles or water fountains, vegetarian menu options, donation of surplus materials, reusable table and glassware, food waste management solutions and temperature management. We commit to carbon and sustainability targets in our events with different regions and countries implementing additional objectives in line with local needs. Carbon reduction remains the topic of the day and the currency of the future, particularly for business travel and meetings and events. An Accor survey of corporate clients revealed that 54% rank carbon emissions as their top CSR priority.

Accor’s industry leading insight report, titled Meeting Expectations: The Future of Meetings and Events, explores the growing significance of carbon and sustainability in the sector. The report highlights that sustainability should be the first thought, not an afterthought - which echoes our strategy for responsible hospitality.

Alongside more than 70% of our corporate accounts, Accor has established Science Based Targets. The more actively we pursue these targets, the greater the positive impact we’ll have on our clients’ ability to meet their commitments. This isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also good for business. The currency of the future is carbon and to drive significant sector change and positive impact tomorrow we must start to think carbon-free today.

Sophie Hulgard Chief Sales Officer, Accor

6 Ways Accor Promotes Sustainable Practices for Meetings and Events

Accor offers more than 18,500 meeting and event spaces around the world. By planning with Accor, event planners can not only participate in creating more sustainable and responsible meetings and events and access a wide range of addresses, but also earn points with Accor’s dedicated loyalty program through the ALL Meeting Planner, for every meeting or event they book. Together, we can act for a more sustainable future for meetings and events and Accor is committed to driving sustainable change in the different aspects of event planning and execution.

1. Empowering our hotels to achieve sustainability certifications

Green credentials are no longer a bonus for events – they will be critical in determining who wins the business. With this in mind, we have committed to supporting our 5,600 hotels obtain external sustainability certification. In line with this ambition, Accor has established two global partnerships with Green Key and Green Globe as preferred certification partners, as well as local strategic partnerships such as EcoTourism Australia in Pacific. These external certifications independently validate the hotel’s sustainability practices. Driven by growing guest and business clients demand for rigorous sustainability initiatives and accountability, eco-certification offers hotels and brands the potential to boost operational efficiency and minimize the environmental impact of your event from the start.

2. Innovating to drive sustainability in catering

Catering is an essential part of events, offering moments to rejuvenate and connect that also contribute to both wellbeing and sustainability. Accor hotels are working with clients to rethink catering to anticipate and better serve the needs of attendees and carbon budgets. Accor supports the adoption of sustainable catering practices to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of events by working with hotels’ catering teams to prioritize locally sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients for meals and refreshments as well as options for all dietary needs including meat-free and vegan. We also aim to minimize food waste by accurately forecasting attendance numbers and designing creative menus that waste less and reuse more. For example, transforming leftover breakfast and lunch fruit and vegetables into rejuvenating afternoon smoothies and cold pressed beverages. Accor encourages hotels to use reusable or compostable serving-ware and provide clearly labeled bins for recycling and composting food scraps. By adopting sustainable catering practices, we can significantly reduce the environmental footprint of events while supporting nutritional wellness and local suppliers.

3. Implementing waste reduction strategies and powering a circular economy

Minimizing waste generation and maximizing recycling opportunities are essential aspects of conducting sustainable meetings and events in hotels. Accor supports efficiency and sufficiency planning, offering solutions to ensure a positive impact on the environment and attendees. We work with the hotel teams to implement waste reduction strategies such as providing digital event materials instead of printed handouts and using refillable water stations instead of single-use plastic bottles. We also offer recycling bins in meeting rooms, common areas, and guest rooms, and clearly communicate recycling guidelines to attendees. Our hotels partner with local recycling facilities and waste management companies to ensure that recyclable materials are properly sorted and processed. We also work with local charities to maximize end of life use. By prioritizing reduction and recycling, we divert valuable resources from landfills and contribute to a circular economy.

4. Encouraging Sustainable Travel: Reducing traffic and air pollution

Transportation emissions are a major factor in the environmental footprint of meetings and events. With this in mind, Accor encourages event attendees to use eco-friendly transportation and provides information on nearby public transportation routes, bike-sharing programs, and carpooling arrangements to facilitate sustainable travel choices. By promoting sustainable transportation alternatives, the Group is working towards reducing traffic congestion and air pollution associated with commuting to and from the event.

5. Planning low carbon meetings and events

Accor’s certified Carbon Calculator goes beyond “how” to meet, helping our clients consider “where and when” to hold their events. By evaluating attendee travel and climate impacts at different destinations and hotels, and for different trip durations, it facilitates the design of sustainable events from the start, minimizing the need for significant carbon offsetting after each event.

6. Protecting the local culture and environment

Authentic experiences and local discovery are increasingly crucial to designing memorable events that are also sustainable, engaging and supporting the local community and embracing responsible discovery. Accor not only offers local experiences, but also promotes awareness and knowledge to ensure the protection and preservation of local culture and local natural ecosystem and positively impacts people and places. Impact Travel, an extension of the recent trend for learning and betterment, is fueled by a growing desire for transformative experiences. It offers travelers a chance to make a positive impact, creating significant opportunities for planners and experience designers.

Accor: Trusted Partner, Sustainable Events

As the desire and imperative grows to organize greener and more sustainable meetings and events, at Accor, we are committed to building sustainable solutions and collaborating with our partners to together to minimize environmental impacts across event planning and execution. By partnering with Accor, event planners can make significant strides towards creating more sustainable and responsible gatherings. Our innovative strategies across meetings and events not only benefit the environment but also enhance the overall attendee experience, resonating with the Group’s ambition to build a more sustainable hospitality model and act for positive and meaningful change.

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