AccorInvest & CSR: "We invest in people before we invest in buildings"

7 min reading time

Published on 21/06/24 - Updated on 21/06/24

Franck Bermond, AccorInvest

AccorInvest, a major player in the European hotel industry, has unveiled its ESG Report 2023, marking significant progress in terms of certification, GRESB score and emissions reduction. A look back at 4 years of work with Franck Bermond, Director of Construction at AccorInvest, who oversees CSR-related issues.

AccorInvest's 2020 - 2026 ESG strategy is structured around three pillars:

  1. Act responsibly
  2. Respecting people and the environment
  3. Promoting positive hospitality


This approach focuses on long-term sustainable results, with the ambition of turning ESG performance into a competitive advantage. Among the targets set are a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, Green Key certification for all hotels by 2026, and BREEAM in Use certification for 80% of the gross value of its portfolio by 2026.

To ensure that these commitments are monitored and implemented, AccorInvest has put in place a rigorous governance system, including :

  • An ESG Committee within the Board of Directors
  • A Strategy Steering Committee, made up of members of the Executive Committee and the Chief Executive Officer
  • An ethics committee dedicated to compliance and ethical issues.

The ESG Report 2023 details the main achievements of the year, including :

  • A significant improvement in the GRESB score, reaching 81/100, an increase of 17 points compared with 2022
  • A 12% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with 2019
  • Green Key certification for more than 90 of the Group's hotels

These results testify to AccorInvest's ongoing commitment to environmental and social responsibility.

Interview with Franck Bermond

The objective of the plan you launched in 2020 is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. How far have you progressed with this trajectory?

We have defined 2 objectives, scope 1 and scope 2, which are essentially energy-related. We calculated our carbon footprint in advance of COVID 2019 and we've come a long way since we're at minus 12%.

To make progress on this trajectory, we have developed a pragmatic approach in which we invest in people before investing in buildings and before investing heavily in CAPEX.

We've called this strategy LowCAPEX, which means no or very little capex, followed by high capex.

We are currently going through an intermediate phase up to 2025, 2026, in which we are investing very little in CAPEX and above all in awareness-raising, training, measurement tools and control tools, in particular through the RECAP tool. This year we launched the BOOST programme.

We're going to our hotels to carry out a '100,000 km overhaul', without any CAPEX, we're resetting the hotel's parameters to 0. This is really part of our sobriety plans. It's about consuming what the hotel needs to consume, not more, to provide the same level of comfort to our customers.

The first building block is LowCAPEX, which is in fact the most sustainable. Because whatever the level of future investment and whatever the performance of the building in the future, we will always have to react like this.

This means training, and it's also a social action because it allows all the teams, whoever they are, to improve their skills. Operational or technical in the hotels.

For this approach, we distinguish between 2 types of hotel. We are currently renovating around thirty lines in our portfolio, and for these we are putting in place fundamental actions that will enable us to achieve long-term sustainability.

We have introduced an SRI [Socially Responsible Investment - editor's note] grid, as many property companies do, but we use it for our investments. Every time we put a project before the investment committee, we measure the score before and after.

When we renovate, we practice symmetry of attention. If we renovate the communal areas, we also renovate the staff areas and the technical areas.

What budget is being invested in these initiatives?

Several million euros have been invested in the RECAP diagnostic and monitoring tool. This tool makes it possible to monitor monthly consumption. Everyone does this now. We have added IoT connectivity, which gives us a number of building constants. This allows us to monitor energy consumption management and control in real time. This allows the hotel to know where it stands at all times, whether it's the manager or the hotel team.

Is there a different level of receptiveness from one market to another?

We can't say that it's geographical or cultural; it's fairly evenly spread. On the other hand, some areas are moving faster than others.

In this LowCAPEX phase we're currently in, we've set up a finer-grained monitoring system where we look at our data every month. We have done a colossal amount of data cleansing. This gives us real management tools to push hotels that are lagging a little behind. Above all, it allows us to promote those who are implementing the right actions and to create a certain amount of emulation.

How are your staff involved in this change?

In a way, it's everybody's business, but it's not enough just to say that. In my team, there's one person in charge of each theme. After that, it has to go through the hotel manager because there are operational practices involved, not just technical ones.

We offer several types of training. From understanding climate issues, which we have set up with Axa Climate. It's all about understanding what we're talking about.

We also look at the role and responsibility of the hotel manager, who has operational responsibility. You can over-consume water by doing certain things wrong, and not necessarily because of the temperature or because the guest stays too long in the shower. For the technical teams, it's a question of ongoing training and above all training for trainers.

GMs are incentivised on the basis of the energy performance of their establishment.

What are you doing to improve your social impact?

The hotel industry is a diverse sector. This richness is even more present at AccorInvest because we have 2 businesses. We are an investor and an operator. We are present in Europe and Latin America. Our workforce ranges from engineers to chefs to financiers. This diversity is incredible. At AccorInvest, we have more nationalities in our head offices than there are countries in which we operate.

We are working to encourage this diversity. We work in an industry that is incredible because it gives everyone a chance. I think we are perhaps one of the last sectors in which anyone can find a place.
We have set up very local employment accessibility programmes. In some hotels, for example, we recruit people who are completely excluded from the labour market, such as prisoners.

I'm convinced that the hotel industry must have this positive impact. We need to be a business that can change people's lives. There has to be something going on around a hotel. A hotel is not just a place where you spend the night. A hotel is a fabulous place where people work. We can change the lives of the people who work there. That's why we're deploying so many local initiatives.

We devised this ESG strategy in 2019 before crossing the COVID. It consisted of three pillars, 8 commitments and 19 challenges. We haven't yet reached the targets set for 2025 and 2026, but we're on the way and we've put a lot of things in place.

I'm very proud of the work done by all our teams to build all these foundations and deploy all these actions.

We are working on these foundations, on people and on training. We have worked hard to break down this highly complex subject into simple elements. We opted for Green Key certification in 2022 and we have already certified more than 100 hotels. 2024 and 2025 will be the years of acceleration that will enable us to reap the rewards of this fundamental work.



Investor / Finance

  • AccorInvest Europe
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