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Novotel launches major ocean conservation effort with WWF

Collaboration, set to span three years, aims to protect and restore the world’s oceans through innovative, science-driven actions and conservation projects

In an ambitious leap towards environmental preservation, Novotel, Accor’s iconic brand, has unveiled a transformative partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

This collaboration, set to span three years, aims to protect and restore the world’s oceans through innovative, science-driven actions and conservation projects. As the health of the oceans reaches a critical juncture, Novotel’s commitment signals a powerful dedication to fostering a sustainable future for the planet.

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The agreement, spanning from 2024 to 2027, will see WWF France provide technical expertise to Novotel, guiding its 580 hotels worldwide to positively impact the ocean. Novotel will sponsor several critical ocean-related conservation projects spearheaded by WWF, reinforcing its commitment to sustainability and balance.

Novotel’s brand ethos has long centered around balance, both in its business operations and guest experiences. This new focus on the ocean, the planet’s largest carbon sink and a crucial element in regulating climate and protecting biodiversity, aligns seamlessly with this philosophy.

Ghost fishing net discarded by fishermen causing widespread damage to a coral reef in the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar

A comprehensive action plan

Novotel will develop a three-year science-based action plan, aligning with three of the United Nations’ priority ocean-related actions:

  1. Reducing marine pollution and ocean acidification.
  2. Combating overfishing and promoting sustainable fishing models.
  3. Enhancing scientific knowledge and research for ocean health.

These initiatives will be organised under four pillars of Novotel’s Positive Impact Plan:

  1. Reduce Plastic, Water & Carbon Footprint Impact – Implementing plans to minimize plastic use, water, and energy consumption.
  2. Make Sustainable Food Choices – Focusing on reducing meat, fish, and waste, and developing sustainable seafood policies.
  3. Enhance Education & Ocean Awareness – Educating guests, staff, and local communities about ocean conservation.
  4. Contribute to Research & Innovation – Partnering with NGOs and investing in sustainable innovation.

Objectives and projects

The partnership will target four main objectives:

  • Develop sustainable seafood policies and supply chains.
  • Raise awareness among guests and employees about the importance of oceans.
  • Advocate for ocean preservation to influence industry and policymakers.
  • Preserve and restore marine biodiversity through WWF flagship projects.

Specific WWF conservation projects supported by Novotel include:

  • Protecting Posidonia in the Mediterranean, a crucial carbon sink.
  • Identifying and removing “ghost gear,” deadly marine plastic waste.
  • Supporting WWF France’s Blue Panda boat in its Mediterranean conservation efforts.
  • Tracking and tracing marine turtles in Asia-Pacific.
  • Protecting sea turtles in the Western Atlantic by combating illegal fishing.

Leadership and vision

Karelle Lamouche, Chief Commercial Officer, Premium, Midscale & Economy Division, Accor, expressed her excitement about the partnership: “Novotel has a long-standing commitment to innovation and balance, and we now take that commitment further, by choosing to help the greatest source of balance on our planet – the ocean.

“To make this ambition a reality, we are proud to unveil a groundbreaking partnership with the WWF – the World Wide Fund for Nature. Together with our partners, teams and guests, Novotel will lead the charge toward a sustainable future for our oceans, pioneering a new era of environmental stewardship in our hotels and driving industry change.

“There is a deep imbalance in the way the ocean is treated. Globally, over-exploitation and pollution are depleting the ocean’s resources, while only a tiny fraction of climate finance is allocated to its preservation. The ocean’s health affects us all and our collective actions have a profound impact. We will rebalance how we engage with it, consume its resources, and invest in its protection and restoration.  As a primarily land-based brand, Novotel has a unique opportunity to increase awareness of the impact everyone, everywhere has on the ocean and inspire positive change for the ocean’s future.”   

WWF Blue Panda Marine Protected Area

Yann Laurans, Conservation Director, WWF France, highlighted the importance of the collaboration: “WWF aims to restore ocean health for the benefit of people and nature. The oceans are an essential resource of biodiversity that must be protected. WWF is committed to strategic and innovative partnerships with the largest international and national companies in the world to help them reduce their ecological footprint in a concrete way and to make a positive contribution to the environment. We are confident our world-renowned technical and scientific expertise will help Novotel drive operational change for the greater good of their business and the ocean”.

Accor’s ongoing commitment

Accor, Novotel’s parent group, has a long history of supporting sustainable solutions in the maritime sector. Previous initiatives include supporting the Energy Observer since 2017, partnering with the Fondation de la Mer in 2022, and banning endangered fish species from their menus. These efforts align with Accor’s commitment to global carbon neutrality by 2050 and eliminating single-use plastics from guest experiences.

Brune Poirson, Chief Sustainability Officer, Accor, remarked:“Novotel’s commitment and investment in ocean preservation, alongside the WWF, represent a major turning point in its history. It demonstrates the determination of the brand and the Accor Group to act resolutely in favor of biodiversity and fight climate change, while inspiring the entire sector.”

Since its inception in 1967, Novotel has grown to over 580 hotels in 65 countries, serving over 30 million guests annually. This partnership with WWF represents another significant step in its journey towards a sustainable and balanced future.

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