Four years after launching its corporate responsibility strategy, Travel with Purpose, Hilton Worldwide says its investments in global partnerships and sustainability programs is not only driving positive social impact, but also supporting long-term business success. Hilton discusses its strategy and provides updates on its global impact in its fourth annual corporate responsibility report.
Travel with Purpose was designed to examine global issues where Hilton can make an impact while simultaneously contributing to its future success:
- Environment: Natural resources are diminishing 50 percent faster than the earth can replenish, and the survival of businesses from a wide range of industries will depend on their ability to manage the major risks posed by climate change, including depleted natural resources, the loss of biodiversity, and extreme weather conditions. Hilton has invested in proprietary technology to track, analyze and improve natural resource management across its portfolio, and as a result has reduced energy use by 14.5 percent, carbon output by 20.9 percent, reduced waste by 27.6 percent and water use by 14.1 percent since 2009, resulting in an estimated $550 million of cumulative savings.
- Opportunities: Globally more than 74 million young people are unemployed, yet the travel and tourism industry will need to hire 73 million new jobs by 20222. Hilton announced a commitment to invest in youth in 2014 and has since reached more than 400,000 young people through apprenticeship programs, career engagement and life skills training.
- Communities: Tourism makes up 9 percent of global GDP and up to 40 percent GDP in developing countries so the success of companies in the tourism industry is directly tied to the success of the countries and communities in which they operate. Around the world, Hilton hotels are active in their communities throughout the year and set aside each October to celebrate this commitment, activating 4,145 volunteer projects resulting in 213,000 volunteer hours during the 2015 Global Month of Service.
"Travel with Purpose has played an important role in bringing our vision and values to life by uniting our organization around a set of global issues that connect our business to society. We continue to invest in issues we believe we can positively influence — creating pathways to opportunities for young people, building stronger communities and preserving our environment," said president and CEO Christopher J. Nassetta. "We're proud of the successes we've had to date, and look forward to using guidance such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals to continue to partner with governments, NGOs and other businesses to do our part to address pressing societal challenges of our time."
Hilton recognizes that its most powerful asset is the employees who run its owned, managed and franchised properties and corporate offices, acting as "intrapreneurs" who find creative solutions to challenges in their communities every day. To support these ideas, and encourage more of them, Hilton has awarded nearly 200 Travel with Purpose Action Grants to hotels and offices that partner with local organizations to implement a project that addresses these global issues.
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"Since launching Travel with Purpose, we have developed partnerships with organizations such as the International Youth Foundation, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative to advocate for key issues at a global level, coupled with programs like our Travel with Purpose Action Grants to activate teams to address local challenges," said Jennifer Silberman, VP of corporate responsibility. "Now that our programs have matured we're starting to see the impact we can have when we engage our hotels around the world and align on key issues that support the long-term viability of our business while also benefitting society at large. We look forward to expanding our reach and deepening our impact in the coming years."
*2 *Global Hotels and Motels Industry Profile (New York: Datamonitor, 2011)