Hilton aims to cut environmental impact in half by 2030

The Hilton Miami Downtown. Photo credit: Hilton

Hilton plans to cut its environmental footprint in half and double its social impact investment by 2030. With this commitment, Hilton will institute science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions and send zero soap to landfills.

The company also will 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.

New consumer research reaffirms Hilton’s corporate responsibility strategy. According to a survey of 72,000 Hilton guests, social, environmental and ethical considerations are central to their buying preferences, especially those younger than 25 years old. The six-day survey was conducted in May 2018 and asked travelers if they research a hotel company’s environmental and social efforts. It discovered:

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  • Of respondents, 33 percent actively seek this information before booking—of those, 60 percent conduct research even if the information is not easily accessible: 44 percent under the age of 25 actively seek this information and 36 percent of leisure travelers actively seek this information, compared to 29 percent of business travelers
  • Female travelers (39 percent) are more likely to actively seek this information before booking than male travelers (29 percent)
  • Guests staying in Central/South America (46 percent), the Middle East/Africa (45 percent), Asia-Pacific (41 percent) and mainland Europe (35 percent) are more likely to seek this information before booking

“For nearly 100 years, Hilton has been driven by our mission to have a positive impact on the communities surrounding our hotels,” Christopher Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton, and chairman, World Travel & Tourism Council, said in a statement. “In this golden age of travel, we are taking a leadership role to ensure that the destinations where travelers work, relax, learn and explore are vibrant and resilient for generations of adventurers yet to come.”

In April, Nassetta joined 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.

Photo credit: Hilton

Hilton’s new 2030 goals include the following environmental and social targets:

Cut Environmental Impact in Half to Help Protect the Planet

  • Reduce carbon emissions intensity by 61 percent, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative
  • Reduce water consumption and produced waste by 50 percent
  • 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 Social Investment and Drive Positive Change in Communities

  • 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

Since 2008, Hilton reduced carbon emissions and waste by 30 percent and energy and water consumption by 20 percent, saving more than $1 billion in operating efficiencies. LightStay, a performance measurement system, calculates, analyzes and reports the environmental impact at each of Hilton’s more than 5,300 hotels. Hilton will use LightStay to track its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 61 percent across its portfolio by 2030.

“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,” Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization, said in a statement. “Hilton has been our partner in this endeavor, raising awareness among customers with examples of best practices for the hospitality industry.”

“Companies play an integral role in solving our climate crisis,” Sheila Bonini, SVP, private sector engagement, World Wildlife Fund, said in a statement. “By committing to significant intensity emissions reductions based on science, Hilton is setting in motion a plan that will have ripple effects across the hospitality industry while providing more sustainable options for travelers.”