Ecompter: What Gets Measured, Gets Done

    Ecompter is a start-up which offers a new service to the hospitality industry in these times of climate change. While every major airline has a carbon footprint calculator on their website, for hotels and the hospitality industry such measures are currently still of little concern. Ecompter is setting out to change this, and aims to help hotels measure their exact carbon footprint.

    Established in May of 2008 the company was founded by Ville Valorinta, who has been working in the hospitality industry and saw a nichr which could be filled. While for airlines a CO2 calculator was slowly becoming the standard, the hospitality industry was unaware of its carbon footprint. Tekes agreed with Ville and his team, and the start-up got a grant to develop the carbon calculator for the hospitality sector – “It is great to see others also believe in your idea.” Ville said.

    In 2009 the calculator was ready, and as a first reference Ecompter was able to get the Klaus K design hotel in Helsinki aboard – which shows the calculator prominently on its entry page when you visit the website. There are a few other early adaptors who are using the Ecompter carbon calculator, and Valorinta and his team are in negotiations with several hotels and chains at the moment. However, as for many companies in the environmental management business, there is a lot of education to be done; Ville told me that “Environmental management and carbon footprint are still such new topics to most hotels that a lot of time is spent educating.”

    The carbon calculator, which will give exact emission information specifically for the hotel or venue, is only one service the company offers. Once a hotel knows what its annual carbon footprint is, Ecompter can help them with environmental management tools to decrease that number. And because doing the right thing for the environment is a good cause – not only financially, also for your image – Ecompter also can help with communication matters.

    The company hopes to break even in 2010, and concentrates on national and international growth. I believe partnering with other travel and hospitality websites – Dopplr, for example – could accelerate this growth, and the knowledge about the hotel carbon calculator. Other possible partners are credible companies which can help Ecompter’s clients offset the CO2 emissions guests incur. While Ecompter is not actively looking for investors, they are open for a chat, realizing that they need more funding than their cash flow to roll out the carbon calculator across the world.