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Hilton Targets Plastics, Science-Based Targets in Journey to Halve Impacts by 2030

Image credit: Hilton

Like many large companies, Hilton has been steadily improving its sustainability performance one step at a time. With the release of its latest sustainability report this week came several new goals under its Travel with Purpose strategy, including plans to transition away from plastic straws and bottles and commit to science-based targets for carbon-intensity emissions.

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Hilton’s managed hotels in Asia Pacific will eliminate plastic straws by the end of 2018, and transition away from plastic bottles in its conference and event spaces. It has already removed plastic straws and offers biodegradable paper straws on demand in its managed locations in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, a switch that will eliminate the use of 2.5 million plastic straws annually. In Greater China and Mongolia, Hilton’s managed hotels removed plastic water bottles from meetings and events, health clubs and spas in September 2017, which the company estimates will avoid the use of 13 million plastic bottles annually. Removing bottles from meetings and events in their hotels across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region could save an additional 20 million bottles.

“As a global hospitality company operating more than 5,300 hotels in over 100 countries and territories, we are committed to have a positive impact on the communities we operate our hotels in,” said Alan Watts, Executive President and President of Hilton Asia Pacific. “We believe waste is a solvable problem. By focusing first on plastic straws and plastic bottled water, we take another step forward in our journey to ensure that the destinations where travelers work, relax, learn and explore are vibrant and resilient for future generations to come.”

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These single-use plastic commitments follow the company’s larger goal to halve its environmental impact by 2030. Hilton further plans to expand its existing soap recycling program – already the industry’s largest – to all of its hotels and send zero soap to landfill. Through collaboration with several partners, the company has distributed over 6 million bars of recycled soap to people in need in 38 countries to date. The company claims to have reduced its waste output by 30.5 percent over the past 10 years. Commitments to reduce water consumption by 50 percent and increase sustainable sourcing are also included in the hotel chain’s environmental agenda.

This month, Hilton also became the first major hospitality brand to set a carbon reduction target approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). The company has committed to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 61 percent per square meter by 2030 from a 2008 baseline. Hilton also plans to work with its franchisees to reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions from franchises by 52 percent per square meter over the same time frame.

Since 2008, the company has reduced carbon emissions and waste by 30 percent, water and energy consumption by 20 percent, saving more than $1 billion in operating efficiencies. The company tracks its performance using measurement platform, LightStay.

“Companies play an integral role in solving our climate crisis,” said Sheila Bonini, SVP of Private Sector Engagement at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “By committing to significant intensity emissions reductions based on science, Hilton is setting in motion a plan that will have ripple effects across the hospitality industry while providing more sustainable options for travelers.”

As for social impacts, Hilton plans to double its social impact investment, in accordance with the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will include doubling:

  • the amount it spends with local and minority-owned suppliers;
  • its investment in programs to help women and youth around the world;
  • and its monetary support for natural disaster relief efforts.


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