Global hospitality giant Hilton recently conducted research that the company says indicates consumers going away on business or pleasure are increasingly focused on environmental and social sustainability – and want the companies with which they trust their travel dollars to reflect these concerns.
To that end, TriplePundit recently caught up with Maxime Verstraete, Hilton’s vice president of corporate responsibility and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, and asked him a few questions.
More specifically, 33 percent responded that they actively seek information on hospitality companies’ sustainability practices before booking. And, of that cohort, 60 percent conduct their own research into companies’ social, environmental and ethical practices, even if the information is not easily accessible.
We find ourselves in the Golden Age of Travel, as research continues to show the links between tourism and climate change. According to a recent University of Sydney study, global tourism’s carbon footprint contributes about 8 percent of all emissions—more than double the previous estimate from the World Travel Organization. In that light, the viability of our industry depends on our ability to adapt and to protect the resources that will support and sustain our growth. With the launch of our 2030 Goals, we’re in a quest to redefine sustainable travel and tourism and hope to lead the industry by example and encourage others to follow.
We’ve also committed to reducing water consumption and produced waste by 50 percent. To date, we have already saved 1.8 million gallons of water in the US using advanced technology linens that use less water to clean and have 2,700 hotels within our portfolio that use low temperature laundry technologies—delivering 40 percent water reduction with every wash.
We’re also committing to doubling our social impact investments, with partners including minority-owned suppliers, women and youth empowerment programs.
Our ability to track progress towards these commitments is equally important to us and to our brand. Since 2008, the company has 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, an award-winning 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.
Image credit: Hilton
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.