Fairmont Hotel Joins WWF’s Climate Savers Program

FairmontSonoma1.jpgby Daniel Kessler

SAN FRANCISCO, (RPRN) 04/01/09– WWF announced this week that Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is committing to its Climate Savers Program. Fairmont said they will reduce operational CO2 emissions from its existing hotels by 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2013, while also working on reducing their CO2 emissions through the brand’s new Energy and Carbon Management program. Is this a greenwash or truly something significant?

According to WWF’s press release, Fairmont has also committed to:

-Finalize a Green Procurement Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct by the end of 2009;-Educate and encourage its top suppliers (representing approximately 25% of the supply chain) to provide products in accordance with the Green Procurement Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct by the end of 2010;

-Update existing Design and Construction standards to incorporate and reflect LEED standards by the end of 2011;

-Endeavor to include sustainable and LEED-certified hotels across the brand;

-Seek to relocate Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Corporate offices in Toronto Canada to a building with a LEED NC Gold target by 2011.

WWF’s Climate Savers Program “is a collaboration among some of the world’s leading corporations and WWF to show leadership in voluntarily reducing emissions and heading off the environmental impacts associated with climate change. Fortune 500 companies and other top businesses like The Coca-ColaScryve Corporate Social Responsibility Rating Company, IBM,Scryve Corporate Social Responsibility Rating Johnson & Johnson, and Nike partner with WWF to develop practical, cost-effective strategies that reduce emissions of CO2 and achieve energy efficiency goals.”

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By 2010, the 21 Climate Saver companies will all cut carbon emissions by some 14 million tons annually. So, the question is, is this a greenwash or are commitments like Fairmont’s for real?

Let’s start with the science. The IPCC says that developed countries must cut their emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020. That’s the short term target. The long-term target is actually a complete abolition of carbon. To get there, everyone is going to need to pull their load–government, citizens and business.

WWF’s Climate Saver engages businesses to start to do their share. But 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2013 strikes me as low. One would think that by efficiency measures alone, Fairmont could surpass that figure. There’s also no obligation to use their influence to push for comprehensive climate action. If corporations want the cloak of green, WWF needs to make them earn it.

A better model may be BICEP, a coalition of companies like Starbucks and Nike that is pushing for immediate action on climate and real targets for emissions reductions.

Their eight principles are:

Set greenhouse gas reduction targets to at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.Establish an economy-wide GHG cap-and-trade system that auctions 100 percent of carbon pollution allowances, promotes energy efficiency and accelerates clean energy technologies.

Establish aggressive energy efficiency policies to achieve at least a doubling of our historic rate of energy efficiency improvement.

Encourage transportation for a clean energy economy by promoting fuel-efficient vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids, low-carbon fuels, and transit-oriented development.

Increase investment in energy efficiency, renewables and carbon capture and storage technologies while eliminating subsidies for fossil-fuel industries.

Stimulate job growth through investment in climate-based solutions, especially “green-collar” jobs in low-income communities and others vulnerable to climate change’s economic impact.

Adopt a national renewable portfolio standard requiring 20 percent of electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020, and 30 percent by 2030.

Limit construction of new coal-fired power plants to those that capture and store carbon emissions, create incentives for carbon capture technology on new and existing plants, and phase out existing coal-based power plants that do not capture and store carbon by 2030.

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