Hilton Sustainability Report: Company Beats Water Goal
The company says this goal, like its other major environmental metrics, is based on results for 2,263 Hilton Worldwide properties and adjusted for weather and occupancy. The metric is per floor area.
The hotel used 73.8 gallons of water per square foot in 2012, compared to 76 in 2011 and 78.8 in 2009. For this metric, unfortunately, the company doesn’t provide a 2008 measurement.
Per room, water use fell from 207.7 gallons in 2011 to 196.4 in 2012. Again, the company has not made earlier years available. On an absolute basis in that time period, water use fell from 25.45 million gallons to 24.72 million gallons.
Hilton says it has developed several partnerships that offer improved laundering technologies, which can reduce water use by up to 45 percent, energy use by up to 43 percent and extend linen life by up to 40 percent.
The company says it has also developed sustainable housekeeping supplies that can reduce the amount of water used in cleaning processes by up to 30 percent, as well as improve efficiency and reduce the number of toxic chemicals used for cleaning. And Hilton says it has identified new lines of towels engineered to be lighter weight and more durable than standard towels, meaning hotels can launder more towels per load, and also produce less waste.
The 96-page report covers most of the metrics one would expect, although as noted above, sometimes the achieved goals are not fully detailed with actual numbers.
Hilton’s portfolio includes over 4,000 managed, franchised, owned and leased hotels and timeshare properties in 90 countries. Its 10 brands include DoubleTree, Conrad, Embassy Suites, Hampton Hotels and Homewood Suites.
The company says it counts sustainability as a performance metric on the same level as quality, service and revenue. The company uses LightStay, its proprietary sustainability measurement and reporting system, to calculate and analyze performance across more than 200 indicators, in areas including energy, water, carbon, paper product usage, waste, chemical storage, air quality and transportation.
All Hilton properties, whether owned, managed or franchised, must use LightStay to measure sustainability performance. Hilton says the system also supports its sales channels through a Meeting Calculator feature, which computes the sustainability impact of meetings and events at its properties. Such data is important to many business customers, the company says.
LightStay also includes a social media platform that allows properties from around the world to “neighbor” each other, share best practices and compare performance. Through the system, engineers provide information on return on investment and overall cost of each project. This allows the company to sometimes find solutions to sustainability challenges in a “bottom-up” rather than “top-down” fashion, the company says. The system currently has over 3,400 “neighbors” and tracks more than 8,000 improvement projects.
In EMEA, the company’s Environmental Awareness Initiative, a method of engaging employees in sustainability changes in hotels and at home, has helped prevent 28,600 tons of emissions and avoided utility costs of US $16 million, of which more than half was attributed to changes in employee behavior, the company says. Hilton says it is examining how to expand best practices from this program to other regions in the coming years.
In 2011, Hilton was two years early in meeting its target of cutting waste output by 20 percent, with a 23.3 percent drop since 2008. Last year the company further reduced its waste output to 24.9 percent below 2008 levels.
Waste per occupied room fell from 6.2 pounds in 2011 to 5.9 pounds in 2012, while waste per square foot stayed steady at 1.9 pounds. On an absolute basis, waste output fell from 248,000 in 2011 to 242,800 in 2012.
The company says one major area of waste concern has been mattresses, which take up a lot of landfill space, and cannot be reused or donated. Hilton has therefore developed a partnership with DH Hospitality and Serta, under which DH installs and removes mattresses and box springs at all US Hilton properties, then recycles 85 percent of the materials into such products as tools, car parts, flooring and carpet padding. To date, Hilton have recycled over 9,200 mattresses from 14 hotels (it did not give a timeframe for this achievement) and another 50 hotels have been contacted or provided proposals to participate in the coming year.
The company has also found that about 30 percent of the newspapers it makes available to guests are thrown out each day. It is trying to address the problem by offering North American guests free access to USA Today digital content.
Meanwhile, Hilton’s waste reduction pilot program has collected more than 17,000 pounds of food for food banks worldwide, in its first six months. And since 2011, more than 700 Hilton properties have collected 270,000 pounds of soap, creating nearly one million new bars for people in need, including refugees, orphans and disaster victims.
From 2008 to 2012, Hilton cut its carbon output by 12.8 percent, putting it behind the curve on its targeted 20 percent reduction by the end of 2013.
Hilton is a member of the Carbon Measurement Working Group, which created the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) 1.0 to calculate the carbon footprint of hotel stays and meetings. The company has integrated HCMI into LightStay.
It also has a carbon-offset program for events at 33 properties in Asia and the Pacific. The program uses the LightStay Meeting Calculator to track and measure carbon, then buys carbon credits to offset the environmental impact of the meetings at no cost to guests.
From 2008 to 2012, Hilton cut energy use by 12.2 percent, meaning the company is behind on its goal of a 20 percent reduction by the end of 2013.
It says that since 2009, efficiency projects have resulted in cumulative savings of over $250 million.
Hilton has invested in more efficient appliances, operating equipment and infrastructure. It has replaced traditional lighting with LEDs at more than 75 percent of Middle East and Africa properties. When this program is fully integrated across the MEA portfolio, Hilton says it will save more than 20 million kWh per year, offsetting more than 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions.
In the US, Hilton bought more than 450 million kWh of green power through December 31, 2012, enough to meet 94 percent of annual electricity use at its owned hotels in this country. The company was named as one of four EPA Green Power Partners of the Year in 2012.
Hilton says it provides a range of resources to help North American hotels maximize their energy reductions. These include partnerships that offer energy audits, support for purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates or green power, certification support and global carbon management services. Hilton requires every owned and managed North American property to complete a lighting audit.
Hilton analyzed almost 1,700 SKUs to determine the sustainability of various products, but says it faced challenges making this determination because of a lack of information and the wide variety of products available. The initiative is studying nearly 100 different product factors, including core life-cycle assessment components such as inputs, manufacturing, packaging, logistics, use and end-of-life disposal.
To help tackle the sustainable supply chain challenge, Hilton partnered with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) to launch the Center for Sustainable Procurement (CSP) initiative. Based on lessons learned from LightStay, as well as three-year pilot projects with AT&T, Best Buy and Dell, CSP is developing tools and approaches for sustainable procurement. It is also working with individual companies to embed sustainability into procurement decisions.
Hilton says it strives to procure goods locally where possible. In the Americas, it works with area farmers to source and distribute local produce. As part of this, it has worked with suppliers to develop training for farmers on handling and safety guidelines and insurance requirements – all necessary to supplying Hilton properties
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