Christopher J. Nassetta

Position - Former President and CEO, Hilton Hotels Corporation

Background

Christopher J. Nassetta joined Hilton Hotels Corporation as president and CEO in December 2007. Previously he was president CEO of Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. a position he held since 2000. He joined Host in 1995 as executive vice president and was elected chief operating officer in 1997. Before joining Host, Mr Nassetta co-founded Bailey Capital Corporation in 1991, where he was responsible for the operations of the real estate investment and advisory firm. Prior to founding Bailey Capital Corporation, he spent seven years at The Oliver Carr Company, ultimately serving as chief development officer. In this role he was responsible for all development and related activities for one of the largest commercial real estate companies in the mid-Atlantic region. Mr Nassetta serves on the following boards and organisations:-

  • CoStar Group Inc
  • The Real Estate Roundtable, which he chairs
  • Federal City Council member
  • McIntire School of Commerce Advisory Board for the University of Virginia.
  • Los Angeles World Affairs Council

Christopher discusses Hilton

It is challenging to measure the success of business earned from individual business and leisure travellers based on our sustainability commitments and activities. We believe that guests choose our Hilton Family of Hotels primarily based on their strong reputation for providing excellent products and services. Hospitality is our business. Sustainability is a lens, a discipline we use to support our overall business of hospitality.

Having said that, we are reviewing our purchasing, design and construction practices, as well as brand standards to maximise efficiencies in all areas while maintaining the highest levels of customer satisfaction. The company’s We Care! programme throughout Europe, which is being rolled into the more recent global commitments outlined herein, reported last April that reduction in energy and water consumption resulted in saving more than US$9m since the programme started in 2005—proving that sustainability is good business.
Moving forward, our mission is to manage our business through a lens of sustainability and find ways to innovate with our products and offerings. We will create better experiences for our guests, better business opportunities for our partners and investors, better work facilities for our colleagues and better serve our communities. By managing our business in this fashion, and supporting our overall strategic objectives, we feel we will create tangible business value for all of our stakeholders.

I'm most proud of our team members across the globe, and the passion and enthusiasm they show every day for not only providing the best guest experience possible, but finding ways to accomplish this with a like-minded focus on minimising our impact on the environment. Our team members are the real innovators and it is their efforts that I am most proud of. Beyond that, in our European region, energy and water consumption have already been reduced by 10% in the past two years. In the UK and Ireland, the introduction of carbon-free electricity has reduced CO2 emissions in participating Hilton hotels by more than 64,000 tons, or 56% of our carbon footprint. In the United States, Hilton was the first in the industry to complete the installation of a commercial fuel cell power system, atop the Hilton New York, delivering one of the cleanest power-generating technologies available today.

I think the biggest lesson so far is that we still have much to learn. To meet the growing demand of increased travel around the world, we must be able to do so in a genuine, sustainable fashion while still delivering unsurpassed levels of hospitality, including a better night’s sleep, an enhanced dining experience and a more productive meeting. We must operate our business in ways that provide for our current needs while allowing future generations to meet their own needs. This is the essence of sustainability and the path we must follow. Not only is it the right thing to do as responsible global citizens, it's the right thing to do for our business. We have come a long way as a company and have learned so much to date, but I am personally excited about the opportunities and challenges in front of us as we continue our journey.

Education will play a vital role for Hilton Hotels Corporation in the short- and long-term on multiple levels. As it relates to sustainability, Hilton Hotels Corporation is supporting its portfolio of commitments in a number of ways by:

  • Building educational and engagement programmes for all brands and team members, including online learning, centralised web content and various training modules.
  • Measuring and reporting on our progress. The internal environmental management tool used within company-managed hotels will be extended to all properties, allowing us to track and report on our commitments and design processes and programmes that identify areas of opportunity to drive innovation and efficiencies.
  • Revising brand operational and design and construction standards for 2009 to ensure both internal and external best practices are shared, adopted and transparent around the globe.
  • Evaluating all current and future purchasing policies and practices across the brands to ensure that the range of products placed in hotels not only enhances the guest experience but drives value for owners while supporting the company’s overall sustainability efforts.

The sum of these parts will hopefully begin to lay a foundation of knowledge around sustainability and allow us to effectively build sustainability into the organisation in a measurable and meaningful way.

We plan to build on the foundation and success established by our teams in Europe, Africa and the UK as well as our global HR learning and development team. The evolution will include a portfolio of content to engage our team members and guests, share best practices and supply tips, resources, and knowledge. The end result is hopefully to provide our stakeholders with a tool kit that will empower each person to make the most effective decisions possible around understanding sustainability and our impacts while looking at our business through a new lens that will enhance the guest experience and drive business value.

Right now there are several macro economic issues that are driving sustainability. Irrespective of where you stand on climate change, it remains fact that population growth, globalisation, and industrialisation are all accelerating the depletion of natural resources. Demand for energy and food continues to grow and fresh water scarcity is becoming a reality. How we respond to these challenges in meaningful ways will determine the sustainability of our future lifestyles, our communities as we know them and ultimately the sustainability of our planet.

In addition to these large macro issues, we're seeing a growing awareness from our guests, business partners, governments, and team members. These issues are not regional, temporary, or independent of one another and, going forward, we must act and focus on sustainability in a thoughtful, coordinated, and disciplined manner.

As a result of these drivers, Hilton Hotels Corporation recently announced its short- and long-term goals and objectives towards building sustainability into the core fabric of its businesses worldwide. By 2014, goals for the Hilton family of hotels are to:

  • Reduce energy consumption from direct operations by 20%
  • Reduce Co2 emissions by 20%
  • Reduce output of waste by 20% and
  • Reduce water consumption by 10%

As a global business serving more than a quarter billion guests a year in more than 3,000 hotels across 74 countries and territories, the Hilton family of hotels, including Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn and Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites by Hilton and The Waldorf-Astoria Collection, are well-positioned to make a difference environmentally, socially, culturally and economically.

In addition to the stated measurable short-term targets, the company has also committed to focusing on several high-impact areas that offer significant long-term benefits. Sustainable buildings and operations, including the advancement of sustainable design and construction, operations, chemical management and purchasing will be one key area. We also are committed to the advancement of renewable energy as a source of power for our operations, not only to reduce our carbon footprint but to develop a viable commercial infrastructure for powering hotels and corporate offices.

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