Hilton Worldwide today announced a partnership with the Global Soap Project, a nonprofit organization that recovers and recycles soap from hotels that would otherwise end up in landfills. The Global Soap Project sorts, reprocesses and remolds used soap into new bars and distributes them to vulnerable populations in developing countries who are at risk of sanitation and hygiene-related disease. In its first year of the partnership, Hilton Worldwide expects this investment to result in the donation of more than one million new 4-ounce bars of soap to people in need.
“At Hilton Worldwide, we are constantly measuring, analyzing and working to improve our sustainability performance,” said Christopher Corpuel, vice president, Sustainability, Hilton Worldwide. “We are proud to invest in the Global Soap Project and are excited to leverage our expertise to support their organization, while simultaneously solving critical social needs.”
In addition to donating soap, Hilton Worldwide is investing $1.3 million over the next three years and providing its operational expertise to help expand the Global Soap Project’s processing capabilities. By leveraging Hilton Worldwide’s global supply chain and understanding of the hospitality industry, the partners will work to explore a social enterprise model and develop a global system that can handle the high volumes of soap generated by the sector, at zero cost to hotel properties. Hilton Worldwide will also assume a seat on the Global Soap Project’s Board of Directors and participate in the development of the organization’s strategy and growth.
Support from Hilton Worldwide’s team members will be critical to the partnership’s success, and the company is excited to provide properties with simple, tangible ways to improve sustainability performance and make a difference in the world. In 2010, more than 1,300 Hilton Worldwide properties donated in-kind products through the company’s proprietary sustainability measurement system, LightStay, and the company expects this amount to increase as soap donation opportunities are made available to hotels worldwide. With more than 600,000 team members in 85 countries, the partnership will also directly benefit some of the communities where Hilton Worldwide team members and their families live and work.
Hand washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for more than 3.5 million child deaths each year. In contrast to North America, where more than two million partially used bars of soap are discarded at hotels every day, a lack of soap can be a barrier to hand washing at schools, community health clinics and refugee camps in developing countries, which rarely have soap or appropriate hand washing facilities.
“When living as a refugee in Kenya, I realized soap was hard to come by, even completely nonexistent sometimes. Even when available, those living on less than a dollar a day had to choose between buying food or soap. People were suffering from illness simply because they couldn’t wash their hands,” said Derreck Kayongo, founder The Global Soap Project and a 2011 CNN Hero honoree. “The Global Soap Project is thrilled to work with Hilton Worldwide to co-create a global, scalable model that will empower hotel properties to support vulnerable populations.”
Since its inception in 2009, the Global Soap Project has distributed more than 25 tons of soap to vulnerable communities in twenty countries on four continents. By leveraging each organization’s strengths and focusing on creating value for the company, the environment and communities, Hilton Worldwide and the Global Soap Project expect to improve the lives of thousands of people in need.
Hilton Worldwide is the first major multi-brand hospitality company to make sustainability measurement a brand standard and recently earned ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications for quality and environmental management - one of the largest volume certifications awarded for commercial buildings. As part of that standard, Hilton Worldwide properties commit to continuous improvements to their overall sustainability results each year. In 2010, the company saved more than $74 million in utility costs through a 6.6 percent reduction of energy use; 7.8 percent reduction of carbon output; 19 percent reduction of waste output; and 3.8 percent reduction of water use. This partnership also supports the company’s work to support healthy and vibrant communities.
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