Footprint Exclusive: Accor to look at “smarter menus”

THE HOTEL group Accor, which owns Novotel, Ibis and Sofitel, has set up a working group to look at providing more sustainable menus for its clients. This could include the integration of more vegetarian options over the coming years.


Speaking exclusively to Foodservice Footprint, the hotel group’s executive vice president for sustainable development, Sophie Flak, said there wouldn’t be a one size fits all solution to what these “smarter menus” might look like, but Accor would be offering sustainable food options as an alternative for some hospitality clients.

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Flak said the process was not an easy one given that it is a multi-cultural brand and the fact that sustainable food is such a broad issue covering everything from Fairtrade to health. She also admitted that the group would not lose sight of the fact that food is about pleasure; as a hospitality business she said they wouldn’t be “guilting anyone into anything”.



Much has been made of the environmental impact of meat and Flak said she didn’t want to “start a war” with the meat industry, but aware of the need to integrate more vegetarian options into the menus where it was possible.


Details of the smarter menus could be launched as soon as April when Accor will launch its five-year sustainability plan. The group, which has 4,200 hotels in 90 countries, has spent a year working with PwC on an in-depth assessment of all its environmental impacts – the first of its kind in the hospitality industry.


The study, which has just been published, used life cycle analysis to look up and down the entire chain, from the point where raw materials are extracted, through to use by the hotels and on to disposal. It threw up some surprising results, as PwC senior manager for strategy development Clement  Lefevre explained.

“The impact of the food supply on water use and eutrophication was a big one. Some 80% of Accor’s water use is related to food supply. This idea of looking right up and down the supply chains [at impacts] is something very new for the hospitality sector.”


Indeed, Accor was seen as a leader on sustainability in the sector, but had focused mainly on its on-site operations and impacts to date. Flak wants the assessment and the forthcoming sustainability strategy to be an inspiration to others. “We’ve been discreet [about our progress in sustainability],” she added. “We want to share this work and for people to use it.”

The full version of this exclusive interview with Accor and PwC will be in the March issue of Foodservice Footprint.