Hilton Hotels has revealed that it has delivered energy savings of over 10 per cent in 2007 across its portfolio of more than 80 properties in Europe. Water consumption also fell by an impressive five per cent, the equivalent to nearly 75 Olympic sized swimming pools or a staggering 187 million litre water bottles.
Wolfgang M. Neumann, President Hilton Hotels - Europe commented: “In just two years we are seeing some very real and tangible results across Europe. We made a commitment in January 2006 to think green, take action and responsibility to switch to more environmentally sustainable methods of working - today’s results speak for themselves.”
Hilton has made these impressive reductions through the implementation of its Europe-wide environmental sustainability initiative known as we care! Launched across Europe & Africa in January 2006, the programme was established to encourage hotels and team members to introduce initiatives and best practices focussing on making genuine and measurable reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions, water consumption, waste generation and chemical usage.
Hilton has also managed to reduce its CO2 emissions per guest night by nearly 11 per cent since the we care! programme started, avoiding a total of 10,200 tonnes of CO2 being emitted by its hotels, equivalent to removing 2,200 cars off the road.
Neumann added: “The latest results show that we are on course to achieve our 2009 target of reducing energy consumption by 15 per cent, highlighting our continued commitment to reducing the impact of our hotels on the environment in which they operate. This has only been made possible through the tremendous efforts of our team members who continue to show their appetite for change and must be congratulated on the way in which they are helping to make a difference.”
In each region, Hilton has recognised individual hotels for their exceptional we care! energy performances in 2007. In Eastern Europe & Turkey, Hilton Izmir has taken the top spot, Hilton Milan was crowned winner of the Iberian Peninsula & Italy region and Hilton Amsterdam Schiphol Airport topped the Benelux, Israel and Nordic group. In both the Germany & Switzerland and France & Eastern Mediterranean areas, previous winners Hilton Zurich and Hilton Paris Charles De Gaulle retained their titles as the we care! champions in their respective regions.
As the best performing properties for improving energy efficiency and waste reduction over the past year, over 1000 team members at these five hotels will now each receive an energy efficient mountain bike.
Andrew Forte, Hilton’s Director of Energy Management & Sustainability explained: “In a nutshell, we care! is a grass roots campaign that delegates responsibility to team members who can really identify improvements and then implement them. Our aim was to create a culture in which all our team members feel empowered to propose improvements and then have the opportunity to actually change their actions. These latest results show that we are beginning to make a difference, but this is just the start.”
Perhaps the most surprising eye-opener of Hilton’s we care! initiative is that the reduction in energy and water consumption has resulted in avoided costs of more than US$9 million since the programme started - proving that ‘being green’ is also smart for business.
Growing consumer concern for the environment also means that the hotel industry’s approach to sustainability will increasingly become a key differentiator in guests’ choice of quality accommodation.
“It is clear that current debate about climate change has highlighted the need for action from all of us. As more and more people look to book according to their conscience and beliefs, it is inevitable that hoteliers will need to demonstrate and communicate their commitment to saving the environment, “explained Neumann. “Our we care! programme combined with our support for global initiatives such as Earth Hour is one step further on the way to becoming a more responsible corporation. At Hilton we all care about the environment and are genuinely committed to making a difference.”
Hilton recently supported the global Earth Hour initiative, in which many of its hotels across Europe switched off or dimmed all non essential lighting - inside and out. Guests were also encouraged to participate and show their support by switching off room lights too. Many hotels created some brilliant energy saving ideas ranging from candle-lit dinners and special Earth Hour drinks events to establishing an Earth Weekend of activities…all aimed at reducing energy consumption where possible.
Moving forward, Hilton’s environmental policy will be firmly targeted at continuing to improve water and energy efficiency, as well as introducing further commitments towards reduction in chemical consumption, waste reduction and the use of eco-friendly materials.