Latest Cornell benchmarking study more valuable for hotels

Hotel Sustainability

The Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking study has become even more valuable for hotels now climate and sector differences have been factored in.

Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) has released the latest annual benchmarks from an ongoing international project to create default sustainability data for the global hotel industry.

The report, “Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index 2016: Energy, Water, and Carbon led by Eric Ricaurte in collaboration with eleven global hotel firms, analyses data provided for 8,880 properties. The report, which details the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmark Index (CHSB), is freely available from the CHR at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.

Ricaurte said, “By adding new segmentation by climate and hotel type, we have strengthened our industry-centric approach to this effort, given the realisation that a practical benchmark must start within specific locations and segments, rather than trying to compare all properties.”

The hotel sustainability study’s goal is to build a representative database that provides raw benchmarks as a base for industry comparisons and data integration, for example in the Hotel Footprinting Tool where hotels can click on a map to see what the average carbon footprint is for hotels in their country or locality, allowing them to benchmark more accurately.

The Cornell results are presented in the CHSB2016 Index report, where users can obtain the range of benchmarks for energy consumption, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions for hotels within specific segments and geographic locations.

Data for this benchmarking report were provided by a range of hotel groups, many of them ITP members with an ingrained interest in improving their own sustainability performances. The hotels include Diamond Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, Host Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Marriott International, Park Hotel Group, Saunders Hotel Group, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, and Wyndham Worldwide.

Maxime Verstraete, vice president of corporate responsibility, Hilton Worldwide said, “Hilton is committed to sustainable business. By participating in the CHSB index we are able to analyse and benchmark our environmental data, which we track through LightStay, our corporate responsibility performance measurement platform, against the broader hotel industry to drive improvements and reduce our footprint. We are proud to be a part of this global initiative which positively impacts our industry and the environment.”

Ricaurte invites all hotel companies to participate in the 2017 edition of the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index, which has now begun collecting 2015 data sets for carbon emissions, energy use, and water use.

Denise Naguib, vice president, sustainability and supplier diversity, global operations, Marriott International, said, “The travel and tourism sector has an incredible opportunity to drive sustainability around the world. The CHSB benchmark provides hotels the information that they need to know where they stand among their peers, and to apply that information to drive improvements and promote their own efforts to customers.”

Natalie Chan, director, corporate responsibility and sustainability of the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd., said, “We appreciate this study’s effort to enable hotel companies to benchmark their environmental performance and build awareness across key markets.”

Ricaurte concluded, “We’re also excited to share this year’s CHSB Index in partnership with a number of additional initiatives that support the common goal of sustainability benchmarking. I want to thank the participants in this year’s study, and we encourage other organisations to become involved. We see great customer support for this effort, since many guests want information about the carbon footprint of their hotel stay.” Companies who include business travel as part of their own reporting on emissions can also use the Hotel Footprinting Tool to produce a report on the carbon footprint of their stay or meeting.

Hotels interested to participate in 2017 should benefit from a 30 minute webinar from Greenview due the last week of August which will explain CHSB, the data set, and participation. Those who have already participated are invited to share their feedback in a very short survey to help improve the process.

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