Hyatt’s First Ever CSR Report Is Light on Substance: More Commitments in Next Report, Please

As I read Hyatt’s first ever CSR report, I thought of what fellow Triple Pundit writer Leon Kaye said about MGM Resorts’ CSR report reading “more like a travel brochure.” I would actually describe Hyatt’s CSR report as a cross between a travel brochure and a press release. Since it is a first ever CSR report, I tried to give Hyatt some slack, but reading pages about the launch of its Hyatt Thrive program, basically a sustainability program, made the words “press release” run through my mind. It seems to me that less space could be given to Hyatt Thrive and more to its 2015 goals for reducing energy use, water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The report describes the goals as “aggressive, measurable” but fails to list those goals.*

There are some sustainability achievements in 2011 listed in the report, including reduction of energy use, GHG emissions, water use and waste. Those achievements should be trumpeted more. The achievements include a decrease in energy use by nine percent per square meter, water use by seven percent, GHG emissions by 10 percent per square meter, and waste sent to landfills by three percent.

Hyatt has over 90,000 employees worldwide, so it makes environmental sense to launch a Green Teams program. The Green Teams are, as the report describes, made up of employees that serve as “green ambassadors.” They undergo Hyatt Earth Training to “to identify opportunities to reduce waste and conserve water and energy at our hotels.” Since 2009, over 35,000 employees have participated in the training, and Green Teams are at 92 percent of Hyatt’s hotels.

In 2011, Green Team volunteers devoted over 6,000 hours to local environmental projects. In one particular hotel, Hyatt Regency Bellevue in Washington, the Green Team adopted the King County Parks Belmondo Reach Natural Area on the Cedar River. As a result, Hyatt employees participated in seven restoration events, planted 1,260 native trees and shrubs and enhanced 2.5 acres of critical habitat for fish and wildlife in 2010 and 2011.

Here are some other highlights from the report:

Green building

  • Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands retrofitted hotels with energy efficient lighting, which reduced guestroom lighting energy use by 65 percent. Both brands also replaced 2,500 three gallons per flush toilets with 1.28 gallon per flush toilets.
  • Five Hyatt properties and one Hyatt banquet space have received LEED certification.
  • Hyatt Center, its corporate headquarters in Chicago, received LEED Platinum certification.

Dining

  • Added dining options that follow the Bay Aquarium Guidelines, cage-free eggs and antibiotic- and hormone-free beef hamburgers in North American restaurants.
  • Provided compostable-to-go containers made of recycled material in its North America restaurants

Supply chain

  • Replaced shampoo and lotion bottles with ones made of 100 percent recycled plastic, which it claims diverted 209,000 pounds of plastic from landfills in 2011.
  • Replaced key cards with ones made of 50 percent recycled plastic in its North America hotels.
  • Started providing guests with reusable cloth laundry bags in its hotels outside North America
  • Used 100 percent recyclable carpet that is urea and formaldehyde free in its Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels.
  • Switched to zero-VOC paint at Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels.

Photo: Flickr user, laverrue

*CORRECTION: The goals are listed in a chart on page 11 of the report.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.