NH Hotel Group aligning CSR with the Global Goals

A room at the modern Nhow Berlin

A room at the modern Nhow Berlin

NH Hotels is the latest global hotel group to align its CSR reporting and activities with the United Nations' SDGs.

The move is revealed in the company's 2016 Annual Report which includes details of the group's commitments to responsible business and their ongoing activities which benefit the environment and society.

The report says: "NH Hotel Group wishes to become a leading example in corporate responsibility within the hotel industry, by creating shared value at an economic, social and environmental level in the countries where it conducts its operations. That is why in 2016 the Company has formalised its Global Corporate Responsibility Plan (the Responsible Commitment Plan) for the next three years (2016-2018), with which it intends to set the standard for Corporate Responsibility within the business. The Plan is part of the Company's strategy and its five-year Strategic Plan. It includes its main commitments in terms of corporate responsibility, and the development of action lines in key corporate areas."

The new Corporate Responsibility Plan is divided into five action plans and one cross-cutting central theme. The first pillar relates to responsible business practices and operations established on business models based on dialogue with stakeholders. The second pillar refers to the company's employees and their professional development. The third pillar focuses on customers: NH Hotel Group invites customers to get involved in its ethical, social and environmental commitments. Giving back to the community and promoting sustainability by offering sustainable products, reducing consumption and fighting against climate change are the last two pillars of the Plan. Communication through active and transparent dialogue with stakeholders serves as the cross-cutting central theme. Commitments, goals and progress indicators were identified for each of these pillars. These indicators will be used to report annually on the achievements and advances made and thus assess the responsible performance of NH Hotel Group.

The report details the company's membership of the International Tourism Partnership, where it collaborates with other leading hotel groups for sustainable growth in the sector. It also highlights its work with the Youth Career Initiative, providing hospitality skills training to disadvantaged young people, as well as work with the UN Global Compact, WTTC, Enterprise 2020, Seres Foundation and Together for Employment.

The report notes, "NH Hotel Group supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agreed by the United Nations, focusing on its capacity to create jobs, protect the responsible consumption of natural resources and promote culture or local products. It also contributes to the goals centred on areas in which the Company has greater impact (Sustainable cities and communities, Gender equality and Reduced inequalities). Accordingly, in 2016 the Company has identified the SDGs with the most direct impact on its daily activities. These include Goals 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing), 8 (Decent work & economic growth), 12 (Responsible consumption & production), 13 (Climate change), 16 (Peace, justice & strong institutions) and 17 (Partnerships)."

Regarding Goal 8 they say: "The capacity to create jobs is one of NH Hotel Group's values. The Company works on a number of initiatives in collaboration with the public sector and third-sector organizations, not only to improve employability and fight against inequality, but also to create opportunities. Evidence: Youth Career Initiative (YCI) is a high- impact international initiative for the training and professional development of youth at risk of exclusion, of which NH Hotel Group is a member."

For Goals 12 and 13 they note: "The plans that specifically promote the achievement of these two Goals are: - Green Savings Project: Savings in consumption by the Company (water, energy and other related aspects, such as laundry). - Green Hotel Project: Sustainable actions with customers. Evidence: All hotels submit monthly reports on water and energy consumption, as well as carbon footprint. Also, 273 of hotels use green energy sources and 131 have an external environmental certification."

For Goal 17 they say: "NH Hotel Group is aware of the importance of collaborating with institutions to implement the sustainable development agenda. That is why the Company establishes partnerships on the basis of shared principles, values and goals with different organisations, whether public or private, at global, regional, national and local level. We work in partnership with ITP, an international platform that brings together the leaders in Corporate Responsibility within the hotel sector. ITP works on the thematic areas in which the sector can achieve the most impact: youth and employment, water, human rights, carbon footprint and labour standards."

In addition the company is working hard as a responsible employer, investing in staff and ensuring a diverse workforce. Over 43% of management positions are taken by women.

Regarding their environmental focus the report states: "Sustainability forms part of the 24 initiatives that constitute the five-year Strategic Plan, acting as a cross-value enabler in NH Hotel Group. NH Hotel Group's sustainability perspective can be classified into 3 commitments:

  • We care for the people we host
  • We care for the destinations where our hotels are located
  • We care for the planet we live on

The Strategic Plan's sustainability initiative defines six key targets and, on the basis of these, the Company makes cross-cutting decisions in order to achieve the targets set. The sustainability targets set for 2016 in the five-year Strategic Plan were reached. Specifically, the objectives set for energy savings and the carbon footprint ratio. Furthermore, the average satisfaction at the hotel in terms of sustainability was achieved and even improved upon. Since the beginning of the five-year Plan, having its baseline in 2013, the carbon footprint per occupied room has been reduced by 5.6%, energy consumption has fallen by 7.1% and water consumption had a 1% augment."

Since the beginning of the Group's first Strategic Sustainability Plan in 2007, the carbon footprint per occupied room has decreased by 68%, energy consumption per occupied room has fallen by 26% and water consumption has dropped by 28%.

The report also highlights the company's social commitments, including its award-winning Hotels with Heart programme which offers free rooms to families with children undergoing hospital treatment.

Regarding their work with YCI they note: "This is a high-impact international initiative meant to fight against youth unemployment and NH Hotel Group is the only Spanish multinational company committed to this innovative project. Together with other leading hospitality companies, such as Intercontinental, Marriott and Starwood, 53 hotels welcome and teach yearly more than 400 young people at risk of social exclusion. In its tenth year, the seventh in which NH Hotel Group has taken part, the Company has offered 50 socially vulnerable young people between 18 and 21 years of age a complete six month training covering all the different hotel areas. This way, the students have gained first-hand experience of the latest hotel operating techniques and standards, while at the same time being trained in matters concerning their personal growth. As of today, 30% of those who took part in the programme have now embarked upon their careers as collaborators of NH Hotel Group Mexico."

You can read the full report, with more detail on the above including employee volunteering projects here.

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