We are founded in Denmark and originally, our goal was to help guests and companies choose eco-conscious accommodation addressing the challenge of assessing a hotel’s carbon impact. Existing highly accredited green certificates can still miss clarity on specific sustainable initiatives.
We developed Climate Score®, a tool for hotels and events to reduce CO2 emissions with easy recommendations. Meanwhile, we found it to be a very powerful tool that enables hotels to prioritize which of their climate initiatives they should focus on and consequently save a lot of money. Both findings are very important in the mission to create more climate conscious hotels to choose from. The Climate Score® considers guest behavior, hotel consumption, and choices in food, energy, etc.
The methodology is well-documented and adheres to ISO standards. Both large and small hotels can easily utilize this tool.
The Climate Score® is a unique concept developed by ClimateScore to address the environmental impact of the hotel industry. Taking a scientific approach grounded in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) principles and adhering to ISO 14040 and ISO-14044 standards, this method has undergone critical reviews by three external climate institutions, ensuring its reliability.
ClimateScore conducts LCAs for hotels, converting CO2e emissions into a metric known as the hotel’s “Climate Score®”. This annual score, ranging from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the best), reflects the lowest quantified CO2e emissions per guest per day. The score is dynamic, reset yearly with updated data, and must always display the assessment year. This intentional design motivates continual emission reduction efforts, encouraging hotels to act proactively.
The Climate Score® serves as a guide for selecting environmentally friendly accommodations and doubles as a valuable tool for hotels. It empowers them to strategically reduce future emissions by prioritizing initiatives and investments based on their potential for CO2e emission reduction.
Table: Overview of the conversion between Global Climate Score® and CO2e pr 24-hour guest equivalent for 2024
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is considered the most comprehensive method for quantifying climate impact. It is the preferred approach in anticipation of the future EU ‘Green Claims’ directive, addressing communications and comparisons related to climate. This ensures that your communicated results and scores are robust, minimizing the risk of greenwashing allegations or critical inquiries into your outcomes.
To make informed choices about hotels assessing their CO2 emissions, ClimateScore follows Life Cycle thinking – a crucial tool in decision-making. This process involves a quantitative assessment using a life cycle assessment (LCA), following ISO-standardized steps such as goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment, and interpretation of results.
Life cycle thinking allows us to comprehensively quantify environmental impact, considering all activities from raw material extraction to recycling and end-of-life. One of the strengths of LCA is its collection of multiple impact categories for a holistic analysis, including water, emissions, land use, etc., to understand all aspects of the impact. The primary focus, most discussed publicly, is on global warming potential (GWP), measured as the sum of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in CO2 equivalents (CO2e). The resultant impact is referred to as CO2e-impact.
The Climate Score® encompasses daily activities in a hotel, considering various factors like transport, energy, food, beverages, waste, water, hotel procurement, services and staff activities. The methodology is well-documented, adhering to ISO standards, and can be easily utilized by both large and small hotels. With stringent data validation, hotels provide detailed information, ensuring accuracy and transparency. The assessment evaluates the environmental impact of a guest’s 24-hour stay, expressing the result as the average kilograms of CO2e per guest per day (referred to as 24h guest eq.). Notably, long-distance travel emissions are excluded from the assessment, and the methodology encourages hotels to make measurable changes to reduce emissions directly during a guest’s stay.
The Climate Score® provides an overall impression of emissions related to living in a hotel, encompassing areas influenced by hotels, guests, or their interaction. It goes beyond traditional scopes, offering a holistic approach for hotels to actively engage in climate initiatives and encourage guests towards more climate-friendly behavior. The methodology covers a comprehensive range of activities experienced by a guest during their stay, including energy, water, food and beverages, waste, hotel purchases, laundry, staff activities, and guest transit transportation. The assessment is designed to focus on the most comprehensive type of guest ”those staying for 24 hours” while recognizing the existence of various guest types within a hotel.
The Climate Score® compares hotels by allocating emissions based on the number and type of guests, specifically overnight guests, conference attendees, and restaurant guests, to the number of 24-hour guest equivalents. These guest types are chosen for their commonality and broad identification by most hotels. The allocation factors for each guest type are crucial for accurate comparisons. The approach recognizes variations in hotel operations based on guest types and their usage patterns, ensuring that the Climate Score® captures the diverse priorities of hotels catering to various guest types. The scientific aspect lies in recognizing and accounting for the significant variation in the composition of guests at different times, enhancing the accuracy of comparisons and enabling effective prioritization of climate initiatives.
By decomposing all emissions and allocating this accordingly to guest types of the final Climate Score® based on kg CO2e per guest per day is obtained. This value can be used to compare hotels thus providing guidance for travelers to choose low emitting accommodation.
GHG and ESG reports serve all companies for reporting and internal work on climate, environment, and sustainability.
ClimateScore is designed with a specific focus on hotels and conference venues. It aims to be easily communicated to guests and hotel buyers while also being suitable for reporting and internal climate efforts.
Both the Climate Score® and general environmental reports are based on greenhouse gas emissions from products, energy, and services. The difference lies in what is included. GHG and ESG reports, for instance, assign 0 kg CO2 for electricity generated from renewable sources because the production of electricity itself emits nothing. This applies even when purchasing certificates. In contrast, ClimateScore includes the emissions from the production of, for example, the wind turbine generating wind energy. Therefore, the emissions from sustainable energy sources like wind turbines are NOT 0 kg CO2.
Furthermore, GHG and ESG reports allow for carbon offsets, meaning you can buy offsets or engage in projects related to natural CO2 capture, such as reforestation in South America. This allows for achieving negative emissions and carbon neutrality, signifying a balance between a company’s CO2 emissions and absorptions.
ClimateScore does not permit CO2 compensation. Consequently, it is impossible to achieve 0 emissions through this method. Instead, Climate Score® rewards real actions and initiatives that reduce consumption and emissions related to the activities occurring on the hotel or conference venue premises.
The reason behind these differences lies in the purposes of the methods. ESG and GHG reports provide an overview of a company’s emissions while incentivizing investments in climate-friendly solutions in society. In contrast, Climate Score® signifies what the hotel can do to minimize a guest’s environmental footprint throughout their entire journey. For this reason, it does not grant negative CO2 emissions for activities taking place elsewhere and not directly on the hotel’s premises.
For hotels that have not yet provided data, the Climate Score® can be calculated based on publicly available data and average values for similar hotels collected through ClimateScore’s extensive work. This is done by matching key parameters obtained from public websites and databases to those of similar hotels that have previously received a Climate Score®. These parameters include location, hotel type and rating, green certificates, and more. The number of guests is estimated based on the number of rooms, which can be found on the hotel’s own website, and an occupancy rate assessed based on the hotel’s location.
Hotel consumption fluctuates throughout the year, much like your private consumption at home. Therefore, the Climate Score® is calculated for an entire year and is updated annually. This approach ensures that the Climate Score remains comparable between hotels from year to year. Hotels that do not upload data themselves will see their Climate Score® change as more hotels upload real data each year.”
What Climate Score® should a hotel have to be more carbon-conscious than staying in an average Danish household?
The Climate Score® methodology accounts for almost all types of consumption found in households. However, certain industries and sectors contributing to national emissions, such as hospitals, education, air, and water transportation, are not included in the methodology. For a valid comparison, these exclusions must be kept in mind.
The Climate Score® assessment (24h guest eq. CO2e-impact) can still be compared to emissions in households (citizen CO2e-impact). This indicative comparison serves as a reference for discussing emissions per person per day, allowing the average traveler to understand. For each specific country, a particular score will then be equivalent to household emissions, indicating that some hotels emit either more or less than the average citizen per guest. The comparison is based on values from Exiobase. To read the full description, please continue reading here: Method.
Statistically, for a hotel to be considered more carbon-conscious than staying in a Danish household – in other words: have less Carbon emission, it should have a Climate Score® above 4.6. This benchmark is based on a Danish comparison and publicly available Exiobase, as well as the Climate Score® methodology. The average Dane is estimated to have a Climate Score® of 4.6, corresponding to an average daily emission of 29.6 kg of CO2. Therefore, any hotel with a Climate Score® surpassing 4.6 is provocatively claimed to be a more climate-friendly choice than staying at home. Keep in mind that this serves as a bold statement encouraging individuals to make environmentally conscious choices when selecting accommodations. The Climate Score® methodology covers almost all types of consumption found in households, making it comparable to citizen CO2e-impact. However, certain industries and sectors contributing to national emissions, such as hospitals, education, air, and water transportation, are not included in the methodology. For a truly valid comparison, these exclusions must be kept in mind. To read the full description, please continue reading here: Method.
Illustration of what is included in the Climate Score methodology and examples of what has been removed from the Exiobase dataset to make a fair comparison.
Yes, sustainability and reducing CO2 are increasingly important for both hotel guests and businesses. Hotel guests are requesting more transparency and clear indications that their chosen accommodation is committed to operating sustainable. This leads to a new demand for a tool to guide the guest. Traditional “green” labels and/or certificates may not accurately represent a hotel’s carbon footprint, as factors like daily sheet changes can significantly impact the overall CO2 impact.
In the current business landscape, where eco-consciousness is gaining prominence, the focus is shifting from traditional financial reporting to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reports. These reports document a company’s emissions, efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and future plans for sustainability. Successful companies are leveraging this reporting tool to achieve transparency and honesty regarding climate, environment, and sustainability.
The shift towards ESG reporting reflects a new era of environmental-conscious businesses, emphasizing the importance of on-site actions, documentation, and monitoring.
In conclusion, there is a growing demand from travelers, hotel guests, and meeting planners for climate-conscious hotels. Companies with traveling employees are committed to reducing CO2 emissions and are turning to ESG reporting. Shifting employee hotel nights to hotels with a high Climate Score® becomes a significant strategy for companies to reduce their carbon footprint. The collective effort to make informed decisions can contribute to a more sustainable world, one hotel stay at a time.