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Photo Credit: Prague Convention Bureau

Prague Convention Bureau conducted an interview with Lars Goerting, the Director of Conferences & Events at Hilton Prague & Hilton Prague Old Town. Lars outlined why sustainability is at the core of Hilton’s aspirations and how Prague is becoming one of the greenest capitals in the region.

Q: How do you and your team support meeting planners regarding carbon offsetting for meetings and events?

For meetings and events, in particular, Hilton has a set of fantastic tools that have been specifically developed to support meeting planners. Hilton has a corporation with The South Pole Group, which is our partner with regard to offsetting the CO2 footprint. The South Pole Group delivers emission reductions and renewable energy by implementing global projects for organizations looking to compensate for their carbon footprint, source clean power and improve lives.

Q: How does it work in practice?

Our internal program, called LightStay, allows us to pull data and tailor-made reports via the meeting impact calculator, which will present and show the client their carbon footprint during their meeting on site. It also shows them some specifics on what their credit will be towards the good cause. Hilton will then offset the CO2 emissions by procuring carbon offset credit from the South Pole Group.

Q: What are the benefits for your customers?

We are the first hotel chain that provides such a program. It not only helps and supports our clients to give back to the environment, but they also benefit from the advantage which clearly sets us apart from other hotel chains and within the industry.

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Photo Credit: Prague Convention Bureau

“The meeting planner should be made aware of what can be done towards the environmental and social impact.”

Q: Did you receive any feedback from clients that this was a particular reason why the business was converted?

Yes! We secured business since we knew from the beginning that the customer was paying particular attention to sustainability. Because we provided them with a tailored report, showing them their carbon footprint for their upcoming meeting, they were comfortable knowing that their carbon footprint would go towards a good cause. They felt simply confident hosting their meeting with us.

Q: What do you have in place in your hotels that helps the environment in general, apart from the carbon-neutral meetings?

We do plenty of things. At Hilton Prague, we have recently finished the renovation of the atrium pyramid roof. By changing 2,000 sq. of glass consisting of 800 segments featuring sun and heat protection, we have significantly reduced our carbon footprint.

We are now launching electrical car charging stations in front of the hotel. We use waste heat from the kitchen to heat the laundry. At Hilton Prague Old Town, we have beehives on the rooftop and offer our own honey during breakfast.

These are just a few examples out of all the initiatives, which we have in place to support sustainability and give back to the environment.

Q: How is the overall meeting experience impacted by this approach?

Hilton has great programs and projects that constantly help meeting planners and delegates to be more mindful regarding their meetings. One of them is Meet with Purpose. “Mindful Being“ as well as “Mindful Eating“ are the two main pillars, which focus on our delegates‘ well-being through energizing activities and nourishing meals with locally sourced ingredients. The third pillar “Mindful Meeting” means, that we use sustainable practices to conserve resources and minimize energy waste.

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Photo Credit: Prague Convention Bureau

Q: What would you suggest should be the overall approach of meeting planners when selecting a venue?

It is very beneficial to have the initial conversation and communicate the overall importance of the individual meeting requirements and what the expectations for the hosting hotel are – especially in the enquiring stage. The meeting planner should be made aware of what can be done toward the environmental and social impact. It is also a peace of mind to feel at ease, knowing that the carbon footprint will be set off and go towards a good cause. You don’t feel guilty. :)

Read more news from Prague here.