Event planners in search of CSR solutions will welcome the launch of a standardised emissions index system for hotels and meeting venues. The Hotel Carbon Index Company plans to collect data on carbon emissions produced by venues while its partner, The Carbon Consultancy, will analyse data entered online by registered properties to produce an index, using Carbon Emission Per Available Room (Carepar), indicating the emissions per room over a period of time. Gold, silver or bronze ratings will be attributed to each property and they will be available to view on a dedicated website.
For more information, visit www.carepar.com.
PETER DUCKER, CEO, Hotel Carbon Index Company and executive director HBAA
We are in the early adoption phase of Carepar and are working with partners to debug and road-test the system. It will be fully functional by June. The Gore is the first hotel to register and we estimate 2,000 more will join it in the first year. Properties that pay an annual registration fee will regularly enter data, including their physical size, energy consumption and work undertaken to reduce emissions, on to the website. Where data falls outside the norm, the property will be audited and there will be random checks to ensure legitimate and accurate information is being inputted.
EDWARD BRACKEN, hotel director, The Gore
The Gore has registered for the Carepar index and we are waiting to sit down with the team and find out about the process. As an independent hotel, one thing we've not been able to do to date is measure our carbon emissions. Carepar is a great initiative that will provide a fair assessment. I'm keen to understand how our hotel is faring in comparison to our competitors. It's a good opportunity to share best practice and make positive changes. I will be interested to see how many other properties buy into the initiative.
SAMANTHA VAN LEEUWEN, head of UK hotels and venues, PWC
Carepar is a good initiative, the beginning of a standard tool that can be used effectively by hoteliers, corporates and agencies, and has been needed for some time. It will be particularly effective if the data can be used with confidence and audited. When the index develops, our intention would be to use it to provide our travellers with sufficient information to enable them to make informed decisions. We would also use it to track our carbon footprint. In time, it is likely to inform PWC's choice of properties. The only logistical problem with Carepar would be convincing all hotels to register, which is important to enable the index to grow. PWC has extensive CSR policies, which apply to events and travel. We undertake an annual survey of key hotel chains to understand their initiatives and we rank them accordingly. We are currently looking at ways of integrating this data into our online travel tool. We offset air travel, set CO2 targets for our air travellers, promote videoconferencing as an alternative to travel, include a CSR section in RFPs, promote the use of low emission vehicles, and issue guidelines for 'green' meetings. We will further develop these initiatives, particularly for meetings.
ANDREW WILLIAMS, managing director, Seventeen Events
I like Carepar's interactive nature - auditing venues and hotels rather than simply taking a tick-box approach. We are a sustainable event management agency and Carepar would allow us to quickly identify venues that shared our approach. Clients would derive real value from a measurable system to monitor the impact of their meeting venues. Carbon impact is important but we'd also want to know how ethically and transparently our suppliers were working. It's possible we'll use Carepar in future but BS8901, with which we are now compliant, remains key.
SUE BURGESS, chair HBAA
We have decided that, as an association, we will be adopting this measurement system for the industry. We will be encouraging all our members to use it and to recommend it to corporates. It's important to have a standardised measurement - rather than every property measuring emissions differently - and easily accessible data. We've been looking for a way of measuring meeting room emissions as clients are increasingly asking which is our 'greenest' venue.