Sustainability reporting shows positive trends

Hotel solar panels

Scott Parisi, founder of EcoGreenHotel, a firm that develops energy and sustainability projects for commercial buildings with a large focus on the hospitality sector, sums up sustainability reports from some of the leading hotel companies.

Several of the major hospitality brands have recently released reports detailing the results of strategies implemented over the past few years to support sustainability.  Overall the results are very positive. We have all heard from skeptical guests, clients, hotel owners and operators that the green hospitality movement would impact guest satisfaction. There are also signs of “greenwashing” in properties that have not implemented a holistic strategy to lessen their environmental impact, but still boast that they are green. It is refreshing that we are seeing both results and transparency from the major franchise brands. This will prove sustainability can save money and resources as well be a guest enhancement. For properties that are not embracing a sustainable culture, they will not be able to compete with a truly green hotel.  Below I have highlighted select brands efforts and results.

Wyndham Worldwide
Wyndham reduced its normalised carbon footprint by 5 percent over the course of 2011, according to the company’s latest sustainability report. In 2010, the company produced 0.0098 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per square foot of space. In 2011, this figure dropped to 0.0093. Wyndham is working towards a goal of reducing emissions per square foot by 12 percent by 2016 and by 20 percent by 2020, over 2010 levels.

Hilton Worldwide 
Hilton announced 2011 results of LightStay, the company's proprietary sustainability measurement system. The program has been a tremendous success with over $147 million in cumulative savings from efficiency projected for hotels reporting through LightStay.  Additionally, Hilton Worldwide has achieved its five-year goal to reduce total waste output by 20 percent, a full two years ahead of schedule.

Since the introduction of LightStay, the company has reduced its:

  • Carbon output by 10.9%
  • Waste output by 23.3%
  • Energy use by 9.7%
  • Water use by 7.5%

'Sustainability is an increasing focus across all our brands and is critical to the operations of our business,' said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and chief executive officer, Hilton Worldwide. 'LightStay provides us with a global platform to respond to the challenges of managing natural resource constraints, and Hilton Worldwide is dedicated to empowering our property owners and operators with tools that improve economic and sustainability performance at all levels of our company.'

Marriott International, Inc.
Marriott recently released its second full comprehensive Sustainability Report, using guidelines set forth by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).  In it, Marriott announced $2.5 million invested in its environmental portfolio over the past three years. The results of Marriott’s 2011-2012 Sustainability Report are reported to shareholders, customers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and associates. In the report, Marriott captures results from 2011 in the areas of environmental, economic and social responsibility performance.  Highlights from the report include a 12% reduction in water consumption per occupied room and a four percent reduction in energy consumption per square meter since 2007.

Inter Continental Hotel Groups
IHG’s carbon footprint is currently 59KG per room night sold. In their owned and managed estate, they seek to achieve energy savings of 6% to 10% over a three-year period (2010-2012) on a per available room night basis and will continue to grow hotels enrolled in Green Engage, which is their proprietary benchmarking tool to 50%.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts
Starwood has quietly been an industry leader in implementing energy efficient, emission-reducing technologies. Starwood has established a public policy on environmental sustainability to facilitate company-wide alignment around green program goals. Through collaboration with hotel owners, franchisees, suppliers and business partners, they will actively work to reduce the environmental impact of practices aimed at conserving natural resources, minimizing waste and pollution, enhancing indoor environmental quality, establishing and reporting on key environmental performance indicators, and raising environmental awareness among our associates, guests and communities. Starwood will begin publicly disclosing its carbon footprint this year by participating in the Carbon Disclosure Project Survey.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Fairmont was founded on an enduring connection to the land and communities where they do business. In 1990, Canadian hotels pioneered the Green Partnership program—a comprehensive commitment to minimising hotels’ impact on the planet, which was accompanied by a guidebook on sustainable best practices in the lodging industry. This green philosophy has grown to become a core value of their company.

Thanks to Scott Parisi for providing this article. Scott develops and hosts educational workshops, staff trainings and has spoke at national and regional events including NJ Green Hotel Workshop, AAHOA’s National Convention, Green Lodging & Hospitality Conference, Boston Green Tourism Events, Philagreen Hospitality Association Events, GF Management University Sessions, National Purchasing Network Annual Expo and the Global Renewable Energy Networking Summit.

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