Sustainability Measurement is Part of the Brand: Hilton

Hilton Brand Sustainability

Hilton owns fewer than 50 of the 3,800 hotels that fly the Hilton flag, but the chain’s brand standards govern what the independent owners can do.  While every big hotel chain has a sustainability program, reports Marc Gunther, Hilton was the first major hospitality company to require sustainability measurement as a brand standard.

And how they’ve activated this commitment is a strong example of how simple tracking and benchmarking can be a powerful driver for continuous improvement.  Reports Marc:

Just for fun, I asked Chris to give me a peek at the monthly footprint of a single hotel. He picked the San Francisco Hilton (above), which has an exemplary record. Among other things, we learned that carbon emissions per square foot of the hotel were 8 lbs per month, water usage was 148 gallons per room per month and waste was 5 lbs. per room per month. Those numbers don’t mean much, without context, but what was interesting to me was that they were all far, far below system-wide averages–indicating that there’s plenty of room for improvement elsewhere.

Hilton’s tracking efforts have identified their San Francisco property as a top performer, and that same system also identifies those properties that don’t perform as well.  Hilton now has a powerful lever for change: it knows what works, so it can do more of it; and what doesn’t, so it can intervene and improve.

This same principle can be applied to anything – even (and perhaps especially) to other corporate citizenship activities that often lack performance measures (think grantmaking, volunteerism, and other community investment initiatives).  Which investments resulted in new skill development for employees, generated the most meaningful social impacts, or generated the most recruiting or sales leads?  Simple things to track; powerful insights revealed.

Maybe it should be part of your brand too.

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