The hospitality industry is a notoriously competitive place, but 23 global hotel companies have put their rivalries aside and teamed up to find a standard way to measure their carbon footprint and allow customers to make informed environmental choices.

Previously hotels measured their commercial energy use, and the effect it had on their carbon footprint, in different ways, but those that have signed up to the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative are hoping to change this. KPMG, a working group of the International Tourism Partnership, the World Travel and Tourism Partnership and 23 hospitality companies have developed a brand new methodology and a clear and uniform way to report findings. The test takes two hours to complete and is compiled from easily available data such as bills and information from business electricity and business gas suppliers. When all of the information has been entered into the system a hotel can work out its carbon footprint for a particular year, per night and per guest.

David Scowsill, World Travel and Tourism CEO, said he hoped more hotels would sign up to what is becoming a new industry standard and added: “The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative is a fantastic example of the world’s largest hotels putting their competitive differences to one side to work together in the interests of the industry overall.”

With many businesses now making a point of considering carbon footprints before they choose hotels for their events, it’s a clever move for the hospitality industry to make. George Favaloro, managing director of PricewaterhouseCoopers commented: “Companies want to do business with companies that have the same mentality. It’s your biggest and most sophisticated customers who care about this.”

With big players such as the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and the Premier Inn-Whitbread Group on board, it seems that Mr Favaloro is right. At the recent World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Abu Dhabi, Bill Clinton acknowledged the importance of the initiative in his keynote address and praised those involved for taking on the environmental agenda and doing their bit to make a difference.

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