Why We Went Carbon Neutral

Understanding carbon neutrality and corporate responsibility and empowering you through our new carbon-offset loyalty program, MISSION by SH.

Published on: April 22, 2021

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Carbon Neutrality is incredibly in vogue these days amongst the sustainability-savvy. So, there’s no time like the present to talk about what it really means to be carbon neutral and why it’s so important in evaluating corporate responsibility. After all, we hope to empower you to hold corporations accountable in the heat of the climate crisis — ourselves included.

What does it mean to be carbon neutral?

Being “carbon neutral” means that you, or the operations of your business, “take away” as many carbon emissions (greenhouse gases) from the atmosphere as you release. Your net emissions balance out to zero.

Carbon neutrality is a holistic approach to tackling the climate crisis. From a business perspective, it should account for the entire life cycle of a product or company — not just the emissions required for producing a product in a factory. That business is responsible for the emissions all the way up to the product’s end of life, as follows:
• Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from company-owned or controlled sources.
• Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling by the company.
• Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions that occur down the company's value chain from sources such as waste, water, procurement, and business travel.

As we mentioned in our previous post, the carbon emissions of the average individual pale in comparison to corporations. In fact, 100 companies are responsible for 71%of global industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As the climate crisis accelerates by the minute, meaningful corporate action is not only important, it's a global obligation.

So naturally, carbon neutrality is a massive piece of our corporate responsibility at 1 Hotels. It requires us to continually reassess our operations at every single stage — property-based electricity and fuel use, emissions stemming from the transport of company-owned goods, business travel, and waste. It holds us accountable and keeps our hearts and minds open to new, innovative ideas.

There are two high-level parts of carbon neutrality: (1) minimizing emissions as much as possible through frequent, continuous improvement and (2) offsetting the emissions you do create through Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) and carbon offset projects.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the specific processes and projects we support in these efforts.

What carbon-neutral efforts do we support at 1 Hotels?

At 1 Hotels, carbon neutrality starts with our thinking. As our founder and chairman, Barry Sternlicht, explains, “1 Hotels is the first mission-based hotel brand; rather than being a hotel company first, and building a platform of sustainability around that product, our product is a result of our mission, vision, and compass — all centered around sustainability.”

Since our first days, we’ve used technology and focused attention to reduce our energy use and clean energy procurement to continuously minimize GHG emissions. As a result:
• In 2018, we were able to reduce our CO2 emissions from our Central Park location by an estimated 83 metric tons annually.
• In 2019, all Executive Committee team members’ incentive plans were updated to include a sustainability component based on Waste Diversion, Energy and Water Use, IAQ, Water Quality, and a Sustainability Audit. We also partnered with RTS to achieve 43% waste diversion across our portfolio.
• Today, we are LEED-certified and 100% Certified Carbon Neutral across all operating US properties.
• Moving forward, we’re working to expand our carbon neutral certification to all 1 Hotels worldwide, increase waste diversion to 50%, increase our energy savings to 40% at specific locations, and track our GHG emissions in real-time.
• And more!

Through our carbon-neutral efforts, we’ve supported initiatives including Seneca Meadows Landfill and Gas Project, Green-e Wind Projects, and American Carbon Registry (ACR) Projects.

That’s not all. We’ve recently ramped up our carbon-neutral initiatives. We’re thrilled to introduce our new cause-driven loyalty rewards program, MISSION by SH, which has sparked our involvement in new carbon offset projects and helps you make your mark on them.

Meet our carbon-offset loyalty program, MISSION by SH.

MISSION by SH, is a new kind of rewards program — one that’s carefully and consciously aligned with our sustainability goals. MISSION by SH seeks to uplift the planet and empower you, our loyal guests. The program allows you to offset the climate impact of your stay by donating reward dollars to the following carbon offset projects.

Protecting the American Wilderness

This project works to preserve the 8,600-acre Doe Mountain forest in Tennessee, home to communities of deer, black bears, and 40 endangered species. These forests are natural water filters that purify the water ecosystems for all species who use it. To date, the project has offset over 1.2 million pounds of CO2.

Wind Power Project

This project funds the use of clean wind electricity for communities in India that would otherwise depend on coal and oil — or live without access to electricity. The project has already offset over 11.5 million pounds of CO2, generated jobs for skilled and unskilled workers, and improved air quality and public health in the area.

Rainforest Conservation and Agroforestry

This project works to reforest five regions of rainforests in Panama that sustainably produce goods like timber and cacao and host 15 endangered species. This conservation and agroforestry project has planted 7.5 million trees, created 150 jobs, and offset over 2.5 million pounds of CO2.

We’re proud that MISSION by SH not only aims to fight the climate crisis but strives to deepen your connection with the natural world — the heart of our purpose at 1 Hotels.

What does the future hold?

Did you know that the United Kingdom, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and 110 other countries have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050? That means roughly 50% of the world’s GDP and global CO2 emissions are covered by this net-zero pledge.

How’s that for some global inspiration?

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about our pledge as a brand. As previously mentioned, we’re committed to frequent assessments, third-party accountability, and working to expand our carbon-neutral certification to all 1 Hotels locations worldwide. With everything we do, we aim to set a new standard within the hospitality industry — a standard that inspires change and holds the planet and people at the forefront of its mission and operations.

We can’t promise perfection, but we do promise continuous course corrections — with sustainability remaining our True North.

Rather than being a hotel company first, and building a platform of sustainability around that product, our product is a result of our mission, vision, and compass — all centered around sustainability.