A future where all luxury is eco-luxury

Accor is focusing on sustainability in line with customer demand

Sustainability is a buzzword in the travel and hospitality industries. But is it incompatible with luxury? This was due to come under the spotlight at an ITB hospitality executive panel entitled, “Luxury and Sustainability: Contradiction or Prerequisite?” Among those who were set to take part was Marc Dardenne, Chief Operating Officer Luxury Brands Europe for Accor. Here, he gives his thoughts on luxury and sustainability as they intersect with the hotel industry.

Accor has an acute understanding of the symbiotic relationship between luxury hospitality and sustainability. Protecting the health and welfare of our destinations is as important to our guests and the communities in which we operate as it is to our long-term sustainability and profitability. With more than 5,000 hotels and 40 brands, we welcome over 120 million guests and serve 200 million meals each year. We provide luxury hospitality experiences in some of the world’s most metropolitan, energy-consuming hubs, as well as in some of the world’s most remote, unspoiled, ecologically pristine regions.

Ideally, sustainability practices will become the industry standard

As a result, we take our role as a responsible corporate citizen to heart, and have been working within the scope and focus of our sustainable development program, Planet 21, for nearly a decade.

What are the key trends regarding sustainability and luxury in the European hotel market, and what is Accor doing?
Like almost every global market, there is a shift in Europe toward greater mindfulness in what we consume and how we use the world’s natural resources. There is a greater desire among consumers to connect with businesses that actively work to make the world a better place for people, wildlife and surrounding habitats and communities. In this regard, Accor has made a commitment to eliminating all guest-related single-use plastic by 2022 and our hotels are already actively engaged in doing so.

What does the future look like?
We expect a future where all luxury is eco-luxury. Sustainability is now at the forefront of our business decisions and this will continue. Our hotels and owners are asking for more opportunities to create healthy changes for our guest experiences, our surrounding communities and the natural habitats of our neighbouring plants, animals, rivers and oceans. Our hotel network is also becoming much more sensitive in our hotel development and construction processes. At the higher end of the market, our luxury and premium hotels are leading the way and new hotel construction is getting more low-carbon through green building practices. I am hopeful for the future and believe our luxury hotels will evolve towards the best levels of Planet 21. Ideally, sustainability practices will become the industry standard.

Photo: Marc Dardenne, Chief Operating Officer Luxury Brands Europe, Accor


Accor is offering customers a greater range of vegetarian and vegan options as the popularity of more sustainable diets increases. Sofitel Wroclaw in Poland, for example, is starting to offer fully vegan and vegetarian options to meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) visitors during breaks. Increasingly, MICE organisers are said to want to provide low-carbon and ecofriendly event options to clients. Also, The Bridge Wroclaw – MGallery hotel in Poland is “actively promoting healthy and organic food” through a range of initiatives. Bread is made at the hotel, honey comes from local bee hives and marmalade is certified organic.