Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) – a review

          Review and comments on the methodology paper.

          By Daniel Koeppel, Managing Director of Daniel Koeppel & Associates Co., Ltd.
          Source: Material courtesy by Mrs. Fran Hughes,  Head of Programms , ITP

          The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) have collaborated on a groundbreaking initiative to unite hotel industry efforts to calculate and communicate carbon impacts by agreeing on a standardised methodology and metrics. A joint Carbon Measurement Working Group, consisting of representatives from ITP and WTTC‟s hotel members, was established in May 2011. In partnership with advisor KPMG, the Working Group developed this methodology to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from individual hotels on a meeting room and guest room basis.

          The Working Group comprises representatives of leading international hotel companies (e.g Accor, Beijing Tourism Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Hilton Worldwide, , Hyatt Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Marriott International Inc, Meliá Hotels International, MGM Resorts International, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Orient-Express Hotels Ltd, Pan Pacific Hotel Group, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, TUI AG, Wyndham Worldwide among others.

          The International Tourism Partnership (ITP), founded in 1992 and part of the International Business Leaders Forum, brings together the world‟s leading international hotel companies to provide a voice for environmental and social responsibility in the industry. It works to demonstrate in a very practical way that environmental and social responsibility makes good business sense. ITP‟s programmes and products include, among others, the Youth Career Initiative, the Green Hotelier online magazine, the Environmental Management for Hotels handbook, and Sustainable Hotel Siting, Design and Construction. The combined reach of the membership extends to over 22,000 properties, over 3.2 million rooms and over 1.5 million employees in over 100 countries worldwide.

          The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism. It promotes sustainable growth for the industry, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity. Travel & Tourism accounts for 255 million jobs globally. At US$6 trillion (9% of GDP) the sector is a key driver for investment and economic growth. For more than 20 years, the World Travel & Tourism Council has been the voice of this industry globally.

          What does HCMI provide the participating Hotel?
          The methodology provides hotels with a carbon footprint per occupied room on a daily basis and per area of meeting space on an hourly basis. This information can then be used to calculate the carbon footprint of a specific client‟s use of the hotel (i.e. number of room nights and usage of meeting rooms). These are the measures which feedback has suggested the industry will find most useful, particularly for hotels completing Request For Proposals (RFPs) from potential clients.

          Who should use this methodology?
          The methodology is designed to be applied by any hotel around the world. The methodology has been designed in partnership with major hotel groups, however, it applies equally to individual hotels, large and small, regardless of the type of amenities offered. Hotel managers should refer to the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative 1.0 Practical Guide and accompanying spreadsheet, which can be obtained from WTTC and ITP, to calculate their emissions. Daniel Koeppel and associates Co.,Ltd. stands at the ready should you require any support.

          In order to compare apples with apples the boundaries of the methodology has to be agreed upon. The methodology requires hotels to agree and report on all GHG emissions resulting from activities within their premises. This includes restaurants, meeting spaces, shops, casinos, golf courses, spas, garden space, fitness centres, „back of house’, and any other amenities that are located within the hotel‟s premises. Private space is the one exception to this rule.

          Reporting Period

          Baseline year:
          The calculations are required to be performed once a year. The methodology includes an element of standing data, which is unlikely to change year on year, and information that should be updated annually (e.g. energy consumption and number of occupied rooms). Total GHG emissions should be calculated using a 12-month data set but the 12-month data period can be defined by each hotel or company internally.

          Reporting and disclosure periods:
          Data is collected and reported for a twelve month period (the reporting period). The methodology allows hotels to have a maximum of six months to prepare their data before data for the prior period should be considered to be out of date and only suitable for use as a comparative to show trends against more recent periods. Best practice for preparation is within 60 days. After the calculations have been completed, the carbon footprint data is valid for 12 months (the disclosure period). Therefore, the footprint data is never more than 18 months old.

          Example: Hotel XYZ wants to report their carbon footprint for 2012.
          Hotel XYZ has maximum until June 2013 to prepare and fill out the HCMI spreadsheet.
          It is recommended to include the HCMI data management to include in the annual budget process. Perhaps not in the first year but in the following years. Improvements and operational adjustments following the analysis of the HCMI spreadsheets could be included in the planning of the coming fiscal year budget.

          The Methodology paper

          The methodology paper is written comprehensively and in an easy to understand language, it gives information on:

          • Data Requirements

          • Calculate Emissions

          • Outputs

          Carbon footprint per occupied room on a daily basis

          Carbon footprint per area of meeting space on an hourly basis

          • Appendix 1: Definitions

          • Appendix 2: Unit conversions


          Daniel Koeppel

          Daniel is an environmental sustainability specialist with a hospitality background. He is passionate in supporting visionary hotel companies wishing to increase their environmental sustainability know how and solutions. Contact us now for a non-committing assessment!

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