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A guide to sustainable travel in Australia

These hotels prove you don't have to compromise on comfort to travel sustainably.

No longer just a dream, sustainable travel is now very much a reality. And whether you're on a business trip or travelling with family, these Australian hotels prove you don't have to compromise on comfort to travel sustainably.

The rise of sustainable travel – and why it matters

Smart travellers now expect some elements of sustainability when they travel, with 65% of global travellers intending to stay somewhere eco-friendly.1 For some of us though, when we think about sustainable hotels, we picture straw huts in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity or running hot water, and you can forget about a swimming pool or Kids’ Club. This can sometimes be too much of a sacrifice.  In fact, less than 10% of guests are ready to accept an inferior location or reduced comfort in order to stay in a hotel that has implemented eco-responsible measures.2 But luckily, you don’t always have to choose.
Accor has over 200 hotels around the country, all of which have an excellent range of facilities including gyms and swimming pools, making them perfect for a girl’s getaway, romantic weekend or family holiday. Beyond the amazing hospitality offered by Accor, the hotel group is also taking big steps towards making its hotels more sustainable.

A sustainable future

The hotel’s Planet 21 sustainable development program aims to provide a positive hospitality experience through the rollout of sustainability initiatives. This program even won them the Large Business Sustainability Leadership Award at Australia’s most prestigious sustainability awards, the Banksia Awards. 
The program spans six key pillars outlining goals for 2020 which are aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Two key issues the program is focusing on are food and buildings.
Accor Sustainable Food Charter aims to cut food waste by 30% across group food outlets by 2020 with over 100 Accor hotels internationally already achieving this. As well as this, 12 Australian Accor hotels throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria have made donations of 6,283kgs of food (equal to 19,000 meals) to OzHarvest.
Accor is moving towards carbon neutral buildings with the installation of solar panels on many of its hotels. It’s also reducing its carbon footprint by cutting back energy consumption and installing these solar panels. 
Accor’s Plant for the Planet program reinvests savings from guest towel reuse into planting trees. A staggering 50,000 trees have been planted in Australia to date with a goal of maintaining local precious natural habitats around the country.
Accor Indigenous Employment program is another initiative going from strength to strength. The program broke through a key employee milestone in 2017 with 5.3% of Accor employees today being Indigenous.

Sustainable hotels in Australia

Here are our favourite sustainable Accor around the country and the ways they are helping to shape industry standards.
Novotel Barossa Valley
Nestled in the beautiful Barossa Ranges, just an hour’s drive out of Adelaide lies the Novotel Barossa Valley. This hotel is paving the way in solar power by installing 485 solar panels this year in an effort to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint. The Novotel Barossa Cellar Kitchen also has a focus on sustainability. By using seasonal, regional produce and cultivating great relationships with local producers the restaurant is reducing its carbon footprint and supporting local farmers. 
Solar panels on the Pullman Quay Grand roof
The Pullman Quay Grand installed 350 solar panels on its roof

Pullman Quay Grand
The luxurious 5-star Pullman Quay Grand Hotel which is located in East Circular Quay near the iconic Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge is another solar power adopter. This hotel installed a whopping 350 solar panels (100kWh solar system) on its roof. This system will provide electricity to cover the majority of base building systems which is equal to about 20 conventional houses.2 It’s one of the largest solar systems to be installed in the Sydney CBD. 
Some of the 'Ugly Mugs' on offer at Two Donkeys Café
Some of the 'Ugly Mugs' on offer at Two Donkeys Café

Novotel Brisbane
After Accor announced its commitment to cut food waste by 30% across group food outlets by 2020, Novotel Brisbane was one of the first to jump on board. In just 3 months the hotel managed to reduce its food waste by 30–40% and is now helping other Accor hotels achieve the same results. 
As part of this initiative, the chef has started making orange marmalade biscuits using homemade marmalade. By using orange peels from the fresh fruit on the breakfast buffet over six months, 780kg of orange peel is diverted from the rubbish bin and turned into delicious treats instead.
One of the hotel’s quirkier initiatives comes from its Two Donkeys Café. Their Ugly Mug program gives customers the opportunity to enjoy their coffee in an old-school ceramic ‘ugly mug’ instead of a takeaway coffee cup in an effort to reduce waste. You can either choose from the ceramic mugs painstakingly sourced from charity shops by staff or bring your own – and you get 50c off your coffee to boot!
Pullman Reef Hotel Casino's bee collection
The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino's rooftop is home to over 20,000 bees

Pullman Reef Hotel Casino
Accor’ Pullman Reef Hotel Casino located in beautiful Cairns is another hotel focusing on sustainable food management. This hotel has cleverly transformed unused balcony and roof space into garden beds. Thanks to the installation of two Ebb and Flow (flood and drain) hydroponic systems these spaces are now producing a range of herbs and edible plants for hotel guests and food and beverage outlets.
As well as this, the hotel’s rooftop is also now home to two beehives hosting around 20,000 bees. By providing a home for honey bees, the hotel is fostering the pollination of local agricultural and horticultural crops which ultimately produce a large proportion of the food that we all eat. 
All the honey that’s produced here is passed directly onto the hotel’s award-winning Tamarind Restaurant. 
Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is a hotel for bees

References: 1. Booking.com’s 2017 Sustainable Travel Report2. Accor Sustainable Development Guest Study Report 2016.

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