Accor : an ambitious CSR strategy for the European hospitality leader. It is not only our department but everybody’ responsibility to do something for the environment and on social issues. Interview with Brune Poirson, Chief Sustainability Officer at Accor.
Since you joined Accor, what convictions have you formed?
What is really striking when you join the sector, is how the social element is key. It is a sector of the economy that has the capacity to attract a very wide range of people and give them equal opportunities to make the most of their talent. This is one of the reasons why with the CEO of the company we put social issues at the very heart of our sustainable development strategy.
What has changed since the Planet 21 initiative?
Today, the objective is to put sustainability at the heart of everything we do. We want it to be at the core of everything we do. It is one of the why I am a member of the executive committee.
In your opinion, what were the tipping points in terms of sustainable development?
In the last few years, we have seen a lot of changes and a lot of pressure, which is a good thing, to really embrace environmental and social issues. A lot of young people are concerned about it and the Covid crisis emphasized the need to respect our ecosystems. We have pressure from the regulator, from some of our partners, investors, from insurance companies, from our customers and hotels owners. It is about collaborating to do things much better than we used to do.
What are your latest initiatives?
We developed a strategy based on four pillars; it shows how strongly we want sustainability to be included in everything we do.
First pillar is “people”: we want provide people with the opportunity to grow regardless of their backgrounds.
Second pillar is “stay”: illustrated by the sustainability linked bond (indexed to the Group’s sustainable development goals-editor’s note).
Third pillar is “eat”: Reduce food waste, less meat in our menus, sourcing more local and seasonal products
Fourth pillar “explore”: It’s about discovering the property’s surroundings. This is where nature comes.
How do you ally CSR and economic performance?
The two are very closely aligned, it has to come together. It allows the hotel to do savings for instance for energy. It also allows properties to attract investors, they are looking more closely at how the company is invested in sustainable development.
I we want to remain attractive; we have to use it not only to comply but also to use it as a competitive advantage.
As a hospitality leader, what role does Accor play?
Accor has a specific responsibility, we have a wonderful opportunity of really showing the way because of our size and of the amount of passionate people we work with. By embracing our social responsibility, we show that it is doable. […] We also want to work with some of our competitors because we believe that it is by working closely together that we will find great solutions that work concretely.