Wyndham recognised as trailblazers for sustainability in hotel groups

The Wyndham Grand in Chicago.

The Wyndham Grand in Chicago.

With the release for the CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index for 2014, Wyndham Worldwide has now been recognised on four top sustainability leadership indices.

Building on their track record of sustainability best practices and performance, the ITP member company was named in the Dow Jones North America and World Sustainability Indices and the CDP Climate Disclosure Leadership Index and the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) Climate Performance Leadership Index. They are the only hospitality company to be listed.

It is Wyndham’s second consecutive year on the Dow Jones North American Index, and their first time listing on the World Index. It is also the first time that the company has achieved a listing on the Climate Performance Leadership Index. The CDP is the world's largest global environmental disclosure system, and Wyndham raised its performance score to an all-time high of 97.

The S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Index is widely recognised for its sustainability performance rating tools, identifying leaders in sustainable economic, environmental and social performance. Wyndham had strong performance in the assessed criteria, specifically in its Environmental and Economic programmes.

The CDP evaluates how companies are managing and reducing their carbon footprints a measure of a company's transparency on climate-related disclosures

Stephen P.  Holmes, chairman and chief executive officer, Wyndham Worldwide said, “We are proud to be included on such an esteemed Index, but more importantly, excited that we continue to see the impact our sustainability and corporate social responsibility efforts have in our operating performance and value created for our shareholders, customers and employees alike.

“Our inclusion is a great reflection of our commitment to sustainability as one of our core values, which enables us to consistently deliver great results and is critical to the long-term success of our business and our ability to meet our customers' increasing needs for efficient, environmentally-friendly hospitality accommodations.”

In its 2013 sustainability report Wyndham had reduced its operational carbon emissions by 13% per square foot from the 2010 baseline, bringing it closer to its goal of reducing GHG emissions by 20% by 2020.

Believing that you can do well by doing good, Wyndham has worked to integrate sustainability, diversity, philanthropy, human rights, and responsible corporate governance and business practices into its culture and how its businesses operate around the world since its introduction on the NYSE in 2006.

“Acting with integrity and providing a great experience for our customers, associates and our communities is at the heart of everything we do at Wyndham Worldwide,” said Mary Falvey, executive vice president and chief human resources officer. “The Dow Jones Sustainability Index review affirms our commitment to earning the trust of our key stakeholders every day through exceptional economic, environmental and social practices.”

Faith Taylor, senior vice president, sustainability and innovation, Wyndham Worldwide added, “We are proud to be recognised once again for our work in sustainability and our overall CSR efforts, which is the result of our collective progress, achievement and commitment to corporate sustainability objectives in each of our business units and the countries in which we operate.

“This is an incredible accomplishment and a true honour not only for Wyndham Green, but also for Wyndham Worldwide. Our sustainability programme continues to be successful because of the innovative collaboration among our associates, franchisees, suppliers, business and community partners who have helped create and grow our shared vision. It is a clear validation that our accomplishments from environmental sustainability to corporate citizenship, are recognised.”

Wyndham Worldwide provides a range of hospitality services through its global portfolio of brands. The world's largest hotel company based on the number of properties, Wyndham Hotel Group is home to many of the world's best-known hotel brands, with approximately 7,500 franchised hotels and 650,200 hotel rooms worldwide. As a member of ITP they have been played a key role in the development of the HCMI, the globally recognised tool that enables hotels the world over to measure and record their carbon footprint per room or stay.

With supporting environmental initiatives as a strategic focus for the past six years, Wyndham Worldwide’s sustainability practices are created and driven by the company’s Wyndham Green programme, which works to deliver “triple bottom line” results for its people, the planet and profits. Wyndham Green aims to drive leadership in the industry, encourage engagement among the company’s key stakeholders and provide the mechanism to turn innovative ideas into achievable results. This focus enabled Wyndham to reduce its operationally controlled asset water usage globally by 16% per square foot, reduce its carbon emissions by nearly 13% per square foot in 2013, and increase its sustainable suppliers to 25% of its $2.1B spend in 2013.

My belief is that we should minimise the impact and leave the environment in as good, if not better, condition as a result of our interaction.

Michael Babicki, director, sustainability for Wyndham took part in a Q&A assessing the importance of being named to the four indices.

How important is it for Wyndham Worldwide - and other companies - to address climate change?

I try to avoid the climate change debate and focus on environmental impact. Most would agree that we (people and companies) have an impact on the environment in which we live and conduct business. My belief is that we should minimise the impact and leave the environment in as good, if not better, condition as a result of our interaction.

For companies, if the current environmental trend continues, there could be significant long term risk if there isn’t a focus on these issues today. Competition for raw material, water and energy needs in order to maintain business operations, and a threat from the changing landscape, such as drought and flooding, could present significant risk to business health. The fact of the matter is that we all share the eco-systems. In order to drive the necessary change and reduce environmental impact, we all have to make a commitment.

What does it mean to the Company’s associates that Wyndham has been listed on these Indices? What does it mean to suppliers, business partners and customers?

We use these reporting mechanisms to bring validity to all of our efforts in improving environmental and social performance, addressing risk and strengthening our business both by reputation and financially. Although we still have more to do, to be named near the top in both Dow Jones and CDP reassures us that we are on the right path and setting the pace. The ranking provides an independent third party assurance for associates, partners and customers, and confirms that they are working for and conducting business with an industry leader.

What tools does Wyndham Worldwide use to report the Company’s climate impact?

We developed the Wyndham Green Toolbox, a proprietary, online environmental management system, to manage our energy, emissions, water and waste performance company-wide. Developed in 2010, the Toolbox is a state-of-the art system that was created to be flexible, scalable and customisable to match the company’s global presence across its business units.

The Toolbox allows both owned and managed properties, as well as independently owned and operated franchised properties to track, measure and report on global assets in which Wyndham Worldwide has direct operational control. It is available in multiple languages and currencies and provides normalisation for weather and room nights to allow for comparisons among properties in various regions. The Toolbox helps to not only improve the data accuracy, but also to quantify the results in a timely manner. The flexibility of the Toolbox has enabled us to make continuous improvements each year, upgrading and adding new features to monitor our progress towards reaching our 2020 goal.

Is there an economic upside to addressing climate change?

Of course! First by addressing longer term environmental risk, companies can be flexible and adaptable to handle potential issues. There are studies that indicate companies that perform well on environmental issues, and that are socially conscious are more resilient in tough economic times and typically outperform the market compared with their peers.  In addition, consumers and other stakeholders look to align with like-minded business partners to leverage the philosophy of the triple bottom line.

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Wyndham has been recognised by DiversityInc as a Top 50 Company for Diversity, named one of FORTUNE Magazine’s Most Admired Companies, ranked number one among hotels and restaurants by Newsweek magazine in their annual Greenest Companies survey, and was a recipient of the National Business Group on Health Award for Innovation in Reducing Health Care Disparities in 2011. Additionally, the Company was named among the Top 50 Companies by LATINA Style and was recognized by NAFE (National Association for Female Executives) as one of the Top 50 Companies for Executive Women for the past three consecutive years.

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