Green travelers make certain that every aspect of their vacation is eco-friendly, from choosing only the most responsible and ethical tours to opting for local, sustainable fare at restaurants. But don’t forget about lodging! Green hotels are a key component of any truly eco-friendly vacation, and the importance of choosing a hospitality company that cares about the environment only increases as our global climate situation becomes more precarious.
It can be difficult to know whether a hotel is truly green or not, but there are a few key indicators to keep in mind when selecting a hotel for your eco-excursion. Hotel chains with impressive green policies and initiatives often advertise these programs, so they’re usually available in some form online. It’s also useful to read customer reviews of individual hotels, as places like TripAdvisor leave room for guests to comment on green features of a given property.
One particular hotel chain has a serious dedication to sustainability and environmental friendliness – Hilton. This massive, global company knows that they’re a significant presence on the world-wide hospitality scene, and it’s important for them not only set examples to their peers, but to be leaders in global conservation and green policies. On the whole, they’re committed to addressing environmental concerns where they can do the most good, which encompasses hotels in sensitive, developing areas around the world as well as those in major cities in America. Through corporation-wide sustainability goals and plans to partnerships with community organizations everywhere, they work hard to make a difference.
In fact, Hilton’s green policies are so impressive that in 2015, Forbes and Newsweek recognized them as being a Top 50 Green Brand. They’re also the first international hospitality company to be certified by a number of ISO metrics as green. They’ve reduced their overall energy use by 14.5% since 2009, and earned 100% ISO certification for energy management for all hotels in their Light Stay program. Hilton has also reduced water usage by 14.1%, reduced waste output by 27.6%, and lowered their carbon output by 20.9%, all since 2009.
A few key ways in which Hilton is being green:
Energy: Chain-wide programs work to use less water in laundry facilities, use less energy across the board through energy-efficient bulbs and appliances, and to search for alternative forms of energy where possible, including solar and steam. Individual hotels participate in “Earth Hour.” In 2015, Hilton also partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to help support conservation efforts throughout the globe.
Water: Corporate ISO certification has meant that all Hilton hotels have set and met important goals in reducing water usage and waste, as well as contributing to keeping water clean in their communities. They partner with P&G and Tide to use water-efficient washing machines, and with Ecolab to track their water usage.
Waste: With their thorough RePurpose strategy, they’ve reduced food and soap waste to a significant degree. In conjunction with Clean the World, they’ve actually recycled more than 600,000 pounds of soap and sent it to communities in need. Hilton has also partnered with Serta to recycle mattresses, with Totally Green to dispose of their food in sustainable ways, and with LG and Samsung to recycle old televisions.
Carbon: Hilton participates in the Carbon Disclosure Project, which publically reports their environmental impacts and keeps them accountable on a global level. As part of the ITP, they’re a member of the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative to meet standards for reduced carbon footprints at all their hotels. They also purchase carbon credits through their Clean Air Program, which is particularly impactful outside of the Americas.
Sourcing: Hilton also makes a point of managing the many suppliers they need to run a global business in the most sustainable way possible. They buy and use local where available, and choose their suppliers based on many factors, including the eco-friendliness and environmental responsibility of those companies. They’ve banned unsustainable food products like shark fin, and are moving towards entirely cage free eggs and gestation free pork in all of their hotels. They also partner with WeConnect International to support women-owned businesses.