April 23, 2024

Ground work

The serviced accommodation sector is responding to the ever-sharper focus on sustainability and social responsibility, says Catherine Chetwynd

Sutainability continues to rise up the corporate agenda and features large in accommodation RFPs, where organisations request that suppliers prove their credentials.

This year the pressure is increased by the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), EU legislation that requires large and listed companies to publish the risks and opportunities arising from social and environmental issues, and their impact on people and the environment.

Serviced accommodation specialists have responded with new tools, initiatives and accreditations.

AltoVita’s EcoStats, launched in December 2023, estimates CO2 emissions for each night’s stay in any of the platform’s inventory, based on location, duration and accommodation type. Created in partnership with Thrust Carbon, the tool bases calculations on certifications, renewable energy usage, responsible sourcing and more.

SilverDoor’s new carbon calculator also estimates building-specific, per night CO2 emissions for serviced apartment stays and compares the figure to an equivalent hotel stay using data from the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index, focused on water and energy consumption.

Citadines Islington has achieved green building standard EDGE certification thanks to improvements such as low flow taps and shower heads, a high efficiency air conditioning system and 100% LED lighting that will save 42% on energy use, 28% on water and 98% on ‘less embodied energy in materials’, according to the EDGE report. This is part of the Ascott move towards net zero by 2050.

Reduction targets

Cheval Collection has a five-year roadmap that includes targets for waste monitoring, carbon emissions, employee wellbeing, supply chain management and resource consumption. “We examined our performance in these areas throughout 2023 and, based on the data, will be committing to reduction and improvement targets for this year,” says Head of Sales and Marketing, Doug Greenwood.

“Buyers stressed the need for the sector to use one certified measurement of emissions, using science-based targets”

StayCity has a Director of Sustainability and the company has given employees two extra paid volunteer days, six weeks’ paid maternity leave, and paid adoption leave. It is also working on gender diversity.It has charity partners in the homeless and arts sectors, and is set to recruit a Head of Charity.

It measured CO2 emissions in 2022 and is using those figures as a starting point for continual improvement. As part of the organisation’s trajectory towards net zero, it has signed up to Science Based Targets (SBT), with attendant measures of electricity, gas, refrigerator consumption and emissions associated with the supply chain. As part of its SBT commitment, StayCity aims to reduce emissions by 1.5°C in line with the Paris Agreement.

CAP Worldwide and its CEO, Jo Layton, are working hard to ensure the voices of corporate buyers are heard. Layton and Debbie Woodley from relocation company Dwellworks are co-chairs of the 2023 CHPA Sustainability Workgroup, which has recorded three videos with perspectives from associations, sustainability assessors and corporate buyers, the latter featuring Sue Jones from Ingka/IKEA, Bernadette Basterfield from GE Vernova and Michael Funnell from Barclays.

“It’s important there’s a common thread throughout everything we do as industry and the ASAP green team underpins that”

The buyers’ video was launched to members of CHPA and covered all areas, including emissions, modern slavery, diversity, inclusivity and accessibility. Buyers stressed the need for the sector to adopt one certified measurement of emissions, using science-based targets.

James Foice, CEO of the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers, agrees: “We are working with the Corporate Housing Providers Association and the European Relocation Association, who have established a Coalition for Greener Mobility, to try to get some consistency when measuring carbon output. It’s important there’s a common thread throughout everything we do as industry and the ASAP green team underpins that.”

Green credentials

Situ has joined the sustainability data company Sedex to improve the management of ESG factors within its supply chain. It has also conducted an assessment of its own operations to reveal a healthy ‘low risk’ rating of 2.8/10.

In 2023 Mansley Serviced Apartments achieved a silver gong from Green Tourism and an EcoSmart Plus rating from Greengage. It produced its first Carbon Footprint Report, stating Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions, and from that it developed a Green Action Plan to highlight areas for improvement, such as operations, process, and internal engagement.

Stay3Sixty has partnered with Climate Reality Project, looking at renewable energy. “The project is helping us reduce carbon emissions, train staff members, and we recently reduced HQ emissions by 4.5%, vehicle emissions by 51% and in apartments by 36.4%,” says VP EMEA and APAC, Juliet Howie. “Dun & Bradstreet is working with us on a sustainability score for supply chain properties.”