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Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI)

Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) is a free methodology and tool for hotels to calculate the carbon footprint of hotel stays and meetings in their properties.
Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) is a free methodology and tool for hotels to calculate the carbon footprint of hotel stays and meetings in their properties.


About HCMI

HCMI enables a hotel property to calculate:

  • carbon footprint per occupied room on a daily basis
  • carbon footprint per area of meeting space on an hourly basis

HCMI is free for all hotels. Using the tool will help hotels to:

  • understand their carbon footprint
  • benchmark their performance
  • set measurable targets
  • complete corporate reports
  • report to corporate clients (RFPs)
  • assist customers in their booking decisions

The methodology was developed by the hospitality industry to create a consistent methodology for all hotels to measure and communicate their carbon impact. HCMI is currently being used by over 25,000 hotels globally. Our ambition is that, through widespread use of HCMI, we will improve understanding, transparency and accuracy across the industry.

HCMI data can be used by hotels participating in the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmark Index (CHSB) – the hotel industry’s largest annual benchmarking of energy, water, and carbon. HCMI methodology is also used by the Hotel Footprinting benchmarking tool.

What’s included in the calculation?

The methodology includes all energy used ‘on site’ (including fuels such as natural gas, oil and other fuels, purchased electricity, and mobile fuels from vehicles and other equipment). It also includes, if applicable, carbon emissions from outsourced operations (e.g. laundry).

Who is it for?

HCMI can be used by all types of hotels around the world even those with no previous experience in carbon reporting. It applies to individual hotels, large and small, regardless of the type of amenities offered.

How was HCMI created?

HCMI was created in June 2012 by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (previously International Tourism Partnership (ITP)) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), in collaboration with 23 leading global hospitality companies. The methodology applies a number of aspects of the GHG Protocol Standards – a framework for businesses, governments, and other entities to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions.

It was tested in hotels of different styles and sizes in different geographical locations and further refined following subsequent stakeholder engagement including a number of hotel associations and a review by the World Resources Institute (WRI) – one of the GHG Protocol development partners. The methodology has subsequently been updated following further feedback from users and research by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research. The methodology was updated in 2016.

View our introductory webinar on how to use HCMI


Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) consists of an introduction to the methodology, a calculation tool and a worked example for guidance.

View our other methodologies and tools for hotels

The impact of the COVID-19 on environmental data

COVID-19 led to many hotels being closed or having lower occupancy rates, resulting in abnormal environmental data. While HCMI and HWMI guidance documents provide specific details on time periods to be used in calculations, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance recognises that the use of 2020 data has limitations. For the purpose of providing environmental data to corporate customers using the information for purchasing decisions, we recommend continuing to use 2019 data to better reflect the hotels’ performance. For all other uses of HCMI and HWMI, hotel companies should ensure transparency in the assumptions or decisions related to time period used, and discuss implications with stakeholders where relevant.