Hilton has announced it will cut its environmental footprint in half and double its social impact investment by 2030. With this commitment, Hilton will become the first major hotel company to institute science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions and send zero soap to landfill.
The company will also double the amount it spends with local and minority-owned suppliers, and double its investment in programs to help women and youth around the world. These goals are part of Hilton’s “Travel with Purpose” corporate responsibility strategy to further the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
In April, Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton, and Chairman, World Travel & Tourism Counciljoined Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to engage travel and tourism industry leaders in a “common agenda” to take action on climate change, implement the Paris Climate Agreement and adopt science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions.
Hilton’s new 2030 Goals include the following:
- Reduce carbon emissions intensity by 61%, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)
- Reduce water consumption and produced waste by 50%
- Remove plastic straws from managed properties
- Sustainably source meat, poultry, produce, seafood and cotton
- Expand existing soap recycling program to all hotels and send zero soap to landfill
- Double the amount spent with local, small and minority-owned suppliers
- Double investment in opportunity programs for women and youth, including partnering with local organizations and schools
- Contribute 10 million volunteer hours through Team Member initiatives
- Double monetary support for natural disaster relief efforts
- Advance Human Rights capabilities in Hilton’s value chain to eradicate forced labor and trafficking
Hilton is already an environmental leader in the industry. Since 2008, the company has reduced carbon emissions and waste by 30% and energy and water consumption by 20%, saving more than $1 billion in operating efficiencies.
“The World Tourism Organization commends Hilton’s focus on sustainability, which is in line with our overall commitment as the UN’s agency that is dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism for development worldwide,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). “Hilton has been our partner in this endeavor, raising awareness among customers with examples of best practices for the hospitality industry.”
In 2016, Hilton announced the hotel chain had saved $550 million since 2009. Since implementing its Travel with Purpose CSR strategy, Hilton says it has reduced energy use by 14.5%, carbon output by 20.9%, waste output by 27.6% and water use by 14.1%, compared to 2009 levels.
Another hospitality group tackling climate change and environmental issue is Xanterra Parks and Resorts, a Colorado-based park and resort management company. Catherine Greener, VP of sustainability with Xanterra, spoke at the recent Environmental Leader and Energy Manager Conference in Denver last week.
When it comes to CO2 reductions, Xanterra has already plucked the low-hanging fruit that’s easiest to harvest – in other words, made the obvious, simpler changes that lead to big reductions – but Greener has still set an ambitious goal of reducing emissions by another 50% in the next decade. “The CFO looks at me in a stern, CFO-way, and asks me how on earth we are going to meet a fifty percent reduction in ten years. And I said, ‘We are going to do it with technology that hasn’t been invented yet.’ And he goes, ‘H’m. Okay.’”