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ITC Sonar first hotel to earn carbon credits 28 Apr 2010

Times of India

ITC Hotels has set a precedence by possibly becoming the first hospitality chain in the world to have earned carbon credits. Its luxury property, ITC Sonar in Kolkata, which switched to energy efficient CFL bulbs as part of its energy saving drive, has been issued 1,996 carbon credits per annum for a period of 10 years.

The project has been registered as a clean development mechanism project (CDM) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The carbon credits earned by the hotel through its energy efficiency process can be capitalised to add to its revenues. One carbon credit is equivalent to reduction of one tonne of carbon-di-oxide. Carbon credits are currently trading at around euro 12 per unit. However, ITC has no immediate plans to sell its carbon credits as the price is currently low.

The hotel had applied to the CDM executive board with total reductions of 2,987 metric tonne of carbon dioxide per annum. However, the hotel qualified to earn 1,996 carbon credits per annum.

India’s second largest hospitality chain brought on board international consultancy firm Pricewaterhouse-Coopers to measure its carbon footprint and ITC Sonar, which was unveiled in 2002, was selected as a pilot project.

The 238-room hotel has been using energy-conserving CFL bulbs and energy-efficient air conditioning appliances, solar water heating equipment and improved pumping systems, among other such initiatives.

"The journey to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is going on. The same will be reflected at all ITC properties,"said Tarun Chattopadhyay, chief engineer of ITC Sonar. “ITC Sonar is the first hotel in the world to have earned carbon credits," he said.

PwC is also in the process of mapping carbon footprint at ITC’s other properties. ITC Hotels operates the ITC Luxury Collection, ITC Sheraton, Fortune and WelcomHeritage brands under its umbrella.

Globally, even though other hotels such as Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Ritz-Carlton,Taj and Leela have been implementing eco-friendly measures, ITC is probably the first to earn carbon credits. Some like Starwood have even launched green hotels called ‘Element’.

The CDM fund expected from the project activity is expected to encourage Indian hotels for investing in energy efficient initiative which would contribute towards meeting the energy demand of the country at large.

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