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MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton Worldwide announced it is awarding more than $280,000 to 100 Hilton Worldwide properties and community organizations around the world as part of its Travel with Purpose Action Grant program. The grants are intended to support the development of local projects and strengthen the quality of life in the communities in which Hilton Worldwide’s hotels and offices serve. Now in its third year, the program has awarded over $500,000 to nearly 200 community projects around the world.
DENVER—Showcasing more than a decade of leadership while taking on the challenge of climate change, global hospitality company Xanterra Parks & Resorts has released its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, defining and measuring its innovative sustainability improvements. The report also announces ambitious stretch targets for the next decade. The report presents details of improvements measured against goals announced in 2004. The company tracks its environmental performance across all aspects of its operations using an ISO 14001 audited program launched in 2002. Xanterra entities include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks, as well as resorts, a cruise line, railway and adventure tour companies. The company has experienced rapid growth in recent years, adding Windstar Cruises, Austin Adventures, Country Walkers, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Kingsmill Resort and the Grand Hotel. “As we reflect upon the 10 years of hard work required to meet our initial sustainability goals, we applaud the dedicated—and innovative—employees whose ideas and passion are often behind many of our success stories,” said Catherine Greener, Vice President of Sustainability for the company.
CHICAGO—United Airlines and Wyndham Worldwide are working together to reduce carbon emissions associated with corporate air travel. The hospitality company, which is one of the largest in the world, has agreed to become an official launch partner for United’s Eco-Skies CarbonChoice corporate carbon offset program. The Eco-Skies CarbonChoice program enables the airline’s corporate customers to track and offset the emissions stemming from their business travel and freight shipments on United at the enterprise level. “As the only U.S. airline to offer a corporate carbon offset program, United’s CarbonChoice program represents another way for us to broaden and partner with our customers on environmental initiatives outside of our normal business relationship,” said Angela Foster-Rice, Managing Director of Environmental Affairs at United Airlines. “This program underscores United’s efforts to lead commercial aviation as an environmentally responsible company and we are thrilled to help play a role in Wyndham Worldwide’s carbon footprint reduction efforts.” Through the CarbonChoice program, participating corporate customers receive customized enterprise-level carbon emissions reports and can purchase offsets to counterbalance the emissions associated with their transport.
Hotels around the country are getting greener and more sustainable. For the most part, their emphasis has been on such things as reducing energy consumption, using less gas and electricity and using it more efficiently, along with transferring to cleaning solutions that have a reduced impact on the environment. But most recently, their big focus is on water…or, shall we say, the lack thereof.
NEW YORK—A certification program incorporating guidelines in unique areas such as Classical Feng Shui and environmental pyschology is beginning to gain traction within the hospitality industry. Launched by Certified Eco Designer Debra Duneier, Founder and President of New York-based EcoChi, LLC, the EcoChi 180° seal confirms that 18 guidelines have been met. In addition to the aforementioned Classical Feng Shui and environmental psychology, guidelines cover topics including energy efficiency, non-toxic materials and finishing, ergonomics, representing nature indoors, improved lighting, sound attenuation, creative workspaces, and green practices. Unlike other certification programs, guidelines can vary by project and are customized for each client. There are always 18 guidelines that have to be met. Until now, the EcoChi 180° seal has been sought only for projects on which Duneier’s company has been involved as a designer. That is beginning to change, however, as other companies are expressing interest in the program. According to Duneier, fees for certification vary per project. The system can be applied to new construction, renovation or finished spaces.
CHICAGO—More than a dozen leading, U.S.-based companies, including Hilton Worldwide, announced the formation of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which has the goal of being the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America’s young people. The coalition has the collective goal of engaging at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth—16 to 24 year olds who face systemic barriers to jobs and education—by 2018 through apprenticeships, internships, training programs, and both part-time and full-time jobs. Additionally, the coalition will leverage existing collaborative efforts on the ground in a handful of cities to partner in building these pathways. In addition to Hilton, the founding companies include Alaska Airlines, Cintas, CVS Health, HMSHost, JCPenney, JPMorgan Chase, Lyft, Macy’s, Microsoft, Porch.com, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Target, Walgreens and Walmart. The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative will accelerate the coalition’s hiring commitment with an employer initiated Opportunity Fair & Forum for Opportunity Youth in Chicago on August 13, where the participating companies expect to collectively train more than 2,000 youth.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIF.—Grand Pacific Resorts, a timeshare management company with three resorts in the Lake Tahoe area, presented the League to Save Lake Tahoe with a $1,200 check on June 15, 2015, to support the organization’s advocacy work. The presentation came at the conclusion of a two-day scavenger hunt involving four travel bloggers, who competed to raise funds for the environmental group and the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe.
ANAHEIM, CALIF.—Sixty years ago this month, Walt Disney dedicated his dream project: Disneyland—a land beyond the boundaries of the motion pictures with which he’d made his reputation, a park where families and guests of all ages could be immersed in worlds of fantasy and adventure. As part of its Diamond Celebration, the Disneyland Resort honored 60 years of that dream by announcing “Million Dollar Dazzle” at a ceremony at Sleeping Beauty Castle. Each month during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the Million Dollar Dazzle Crew will surprise one or more local nonprofits that exemplify Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ Better Together philosophy with a $60,000 gift, totaling more than $1 million. Girl Scouts of Orange County was surprised with the first gift. The funds will support the organization’s Comadres outreach program that helps the Girl Scout experience transcend language and cultural barriers for girls in low-income neighborhoods. The ceremony at Sleeping Beauty Castle also included the tradition of playing the recording of Walt Disney’s July 17, 1955 welcome to the first Disneyland guests.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Dates were announced for future Greenbuild International Conference & Expo events through the year 2019 by Informa Exhibitions and the U.S. Green Building Council.
HONOLULU—On July 8, 2015, the prestigious Journal of Experimental Biology published a first of its kind study providing new insights into how bottlenose dolphins breathe and handle dive related respiratory challenges. This study, which would have been extremely challenging to conduct in the wild, was hosted by the Kahala Hotel & Resort on Oahu, and represents a joint collaborative effort by Dolphin Quest, a dolphin interaction and conservation facility, and scientists from Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi, and Micah Brodsky, V.M.D. Consulting. The study’s findings identified that the dolphins’ unusual lung anatomy allows them to inhale and exhale two to three times faster than humans, and their collapsible lungs likely helping them avoid decompression sickness. The study also produced valuable baseline dolphin lung function data from healthy dolphins providing veterinarians and scientists better tools for diagnosing and treating dolphins in a variety of situations such as during mass stranding events. Andreas Fahlman, PhD, the lead author of the study and professor of biology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi collaborated with wildlife veterinarian Micah Brodsky.
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