Hilton on Wednesday delivered on CEO Christopher Nassetta's
call for the industry to follow the Paris Agreement, announcing an aggressive program
for cutting its environmental footprint in half and doubling its social impact
investments by 2030.
With the new program, Hilton said it will become the first
major hotel chain to release science-based targets for reducing carbon
emissions, while doubling its investment in global initiatives that include
sourcing from local and minority-owned suppliers and programs to empower women
and young people.
The program, called 2030 Commitments, follows a call by
Nassetta as chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council in April to commit
to following the Paris climate accord and incorporate its objectives into
actionable science-based targets.
"For nearly 100 years, Hilton has been driven by our
mission to have a positive impact on the communities surrounding our hotels,"
Nassetta said in a press release. "In this Golden Age of Travel, we are
taking a leadership role to ensure that the destinations where travelers work,
relax, learn and explore are vibrant and resilient for generations of
adventurers yet to come."
Recent research has found that tourism is responsible for nearly
10% of global carbon emissions -- a rate that's almost three times higher than previously
In addition to reducing carbon emissions through energy
savings and investment in renewable sources, the company has set targets for
banning plastic straws and water bottles and sending zero soap to landfills.
Hilton didn't put a price tag on the initiative, although Max
Verstraete, Hilton's vice president of corporate responsibility, said
investment in the social programs alone is in the tens of millions of dollars.
As for energy-saving programs, he said that hotel owners
long ago learned they were well worth the return on investment, noting that the
company estimates cumulative energy, water and waste efficiency programs have
saved the hotels and the company more than $1 billion since 2008.