AccorHotels making big moves to fight climate change

AccorHotels' Ms Reid said its hotels in Singapore have funded the planting of 15,000 trees since 2010.
AccorHotels' Ms Reid said its hotels in Singapore have funded the planting of 15,000 trees since 2010.

The French group that bought the Raffles Hotel brand early this month is also prominent in trying to combat climate change.

AccorHotels has instigated tree-planting programmes around the world to offset what it sees as the damaging effects of carbon emissions.

It planted 27,000 trees in Peru recently in an effort to offset the emissions resulting from the two-week conference on climate change held in Paris last month.

The hotelier estimated that the trees offset the 9,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide that would have been generated by all the hotels in the Paris region during the event.

AccorHotels - the largest hotel operator in Europe and Singapore - said its Plant for the Planet scheme has planted 4.5 million trees since it started in 2009, with plans to plant 10 million by 2021.

It noted also that it had saved €1.1 million (S$1.7 million) by reducing laundry costs, thanks to guests re-using towels and linen. Half of the savings was reinvested in reforestation projects.

AccorHotels paid US$2.9 billion (S$4.1 billion) to buy out FRHI Holdings, which owned the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel hotel brands.

Ms Gaynor Reid, AccorHotels Asia Pacific's vice-president of communications, said since Plant for the Planet was launched here in 2010, its hotels in Singapore have funded the planting of 15,000 trees and saved $123,000 in operating costs.

"In the Asia-Pacific, more than 200,000 trees have been planted, primarily through the towel-for-tree initiative and other fund-raising activities such as Hug A Tree in Thailand," said Ms Reid.

"These initiatives encourage the regeneration and preservation of ecosystems and go beyond tackling carbon issues to enriching communities with new forms of livelihoods and economic opportunities."

Hotel guests can support the programme by re-using their towels and bed linen, added Ms Reid.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2015, with the headline 'AccorHotels making big moves to fight climate change'. Print Edition | Subscribe