Why Your Hotel Should Have a Carbon Offset Program
As a hotel, how can you continue to meet guest expectations for sustainable operations, while holding down costs? Given all the many things hoteliers are doing to go green in order to try and stay competitive, it’s not uncommon to occasionally overlook some of the simple ways to get there. As far as sustainability measures go, a carbon offset program is one of the very easiest ones to implement. First, the amount of carbon generated by a guest’s hotel stay, participation in a meeting, or some other event is estimated. Next, the emissions are compensated for by funding projects intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions somewhere else. These projects typically include renewable energy, energy efficiency, reforestation, agriculture and so on. Hotels can choose whether or not to pass these costs on to guests.
Why should a hotel have a carbon offset program?
#1 Your CSR ratings shoot through the roof. Hoteliers should understand that businesses everywhere are under increasing pressure from consumers to improve their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) through sustainability and environmental initiatives. Offering a carbon offset program is an easy and cost-effective way to boost your hotel’s CSR. #2 Businesses are demanding green business meetings. Odds are that several of the businesses represented at meetings and conventions are hoping to improve their corporate social responsibility (CSR) too. A growing number of companies are adopting aggressive environmental sustainability initiatives of their own; several may even include a requirement for 100% carbon-free green business meetings. #3 Green-minded guests want to practice sustainable travel. Don’t forget about individual guests, too – they’re also looking for convenient ways to ‘green up’ their traveling as much as they can. A carbon offset program can allow green guests to feel better about their traveling.
Forward-thinking Hotels with Carbon Offset Programs
The AAA Four Diamond Talbott Hotel in Chicago has several green initiatives including the purchase of carbon offsets to reward guests for responsible practices. 100% of the hotel’s carbon footprint is offset through the purchase of wind energy credits. The Lenox Hotel in Boston has been recognized as one of the greenest luxury hotels in America. The Lenox has been awarded EPA Power Partner status for ambitiously matching 100% of electricity with renewable energy credits and matching 100% of its natural gas use with carbon offsets. The Best Western Plus Chateau Granville Hotel & Suites & Conference Center in Vancouver allows guests to contribute an extra two dollars per night to support sustainable initiatives through their EcoStay program. 75% of what is collected is used to purchase carbon offsets to make the guests’ stay carbon neutral by funding projects such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, agriculture and recycling. As part of its broader vision of sustainability, Hilton Worldwide has a pilot carbon offset program in Southeast Asia for meetings and events. Guests, who choose to hold their meeting and events at specific Hilton properties in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, or Vietnam, will automatically be supporting various carbon reduction projects throughout Southeast Asia.
What Carbon Offsets Don’t Do
Carbon offsets are only meant to compliment, not replace, other efforts to reduce carbon output. Your hotel should first find ways to cost-effectively reduce GHG emissions internally prior to engaging in carbon offsets. Purchasing carbon offsets are best when they are used to help make-up for the carbon emission reductions that can’t be reduced internally. If your hotel is working hard to brand itself as an eco-friendly one, a carbon offset program is the way for you to be able to proudly proclaim that your hotel is 100% carbon neutral. What steps has your hotel taken to reduce its carbon footprint? Share it in the comments!