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MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton Worldwide released its 2013-2014 corporate responsibility report. The report is Hilton Worldwide’s third corporate responsibility report, and its first since returning to public markets following a record-breaking initial public offering (IPO) in December 2013. The report highlights efforts, achievements and priorities across the four focus areas of HiltonWorldwide’s corporate responsibility strategy, Travel with Purpose: creating opportunities, strengthening communities, celebrating cultures and living sustainably. “2013 was a year of tremendous progress for Hilton Worldwide,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO, HiltonWorldwide. “As we build on this momentum, we are mindful of the need to achieve this growth in a responsible and sustainable manner. Travel with Purpose serves as the guide for growing our company in a way that benefits our business as well as the communities where we live, work and travel. I am proud of the progress we have made and will continue to make as we look to achieve our goals in the future.” One key achievement is reducing energy use by 13.6 percent since 2009.
BETHESDA, MD.—Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., the largest lodging real estate investment trust in the United States, has been recognized by environmental nonprofit CDP as a leader among S&P 500 companies for corporate action on climate change and for climate change transparency. Additionally, Host was recognized by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) as the Global Sector Leader for Hotels and achieved Green Star status.
DENVER—Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the country’s largest and oldest national park concessioner, has been forced to take legal action against the National Park Service (NPS) in protest against arbitrary and capricious actions by the agency in connection with the concession contracts to operate lodging, restaurants and other services at Grand Canyon National Park. Xanterra, the primary national park concessioner at the Grand Canyon South Rim, was founded as the Fred Harvey Company in 1876 and first brought visitors to the Grand Canyon by railroad starting in 1905 (the Grand Canyon was designated as a national park 12 years later in 1917). Beginning with its first contracts with the NPS over 90 years ago, Xanterra has invested more than $200 million in capital improvements in the Park, including lodging, employee housing, roads, trails, utilities, environmental upgrades and other infrastructure. A large portion of these investments qualify as “Leasehold Surrender Interest” (LSI) and must be repaid to Xanterra in accordance with federal law if Xanterra were to cease operating at the Grand Canyon.
KUNFUNADHOO ISLAND, MALDIVES—It has been announced that the 2014 Slow Life Symposium at Soneva Fushi will focus on the concept of Planetary Boundaries (as pioneered by the Stockholm Resilience Centre), exploring how we can accelerate and scale initiatives like “Natural Capital” and “Social Capital” to shape the ground rules for tomorrow’s capitalism.
STOCKBRIDGE, MASS.—On Sunday, August 31, the Outstanding in the Field bus arrived in the Berkshires for a third year on the hills of Lila’s Farm in Great Barrington, Mass. Executive Chef Brian Alberg and his crew from The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge manned the field kitchen and the celebrated long table presenting a five-course meal to 175 guests, one of the biggest dinners of Outstanding in the Field’s (OITF) season. This is the third year Brian Alberg was the selected chef for the Berkshire OITF dinner. Ingredients for each OITF meal are almost all local, sometimes sourced within inches of the guests’ seats at the table, and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the site, guests settled in: farmers, producers, culinary artisans and diners sharing the long table. “Third time’s the charm! I am honored to be invited back to present the Berkshire Outstanding in the Field dinner again this year,” said Brian Alberg, Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director at The Red Lion Inn.
CHICAGO—Leading online travel company Orbitz Worldwide announced its commitment to fight commercial sexual exploitation of children by partnering with ECPAT-USA in support of the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct—otherwise known as “The Code.” ECPAT is the leading global network of organizations that is dedicated to ending child prostitution and recently received the 2013 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, given annually to an organization that is significantly alleviating human suffering.
NEW YORK—From its inaugural Women’s Ownership Works or WOW Summit at the Courtyard/Residence Inn Manhattan Central Park, Marriott International will announce plans to have 1,000 or 25 percent of its existing global hotel portfolio owned by diverse owners, including women, by 2020. The WOW Summit brings together a small group of current women hotel owners with women exploring hotel development as part of their investment approach. “We have always had a culture of inclusiveness and want everyone to be aware of the opportunity to own hotels as an investment strategy that also has community benefit,” said Julius W. Robinson, Marriott International’s Vice President for Autograph Collection & Diversity Ownership Champion. Today, Marriott’s portfolio includes 660 diverse- and women-owned hotels. There are another 433 in the development pipeline, with 130 of those scheduled to open by year-end 2015. “It is important that we do business with other companies that share similar values,” said Alejandra Martinez, owner of the Courtyard Toluca Airport in Toluca, Mexico.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced that its Element brand plans to open a third hotel in Florida, less than a mile from Universal Studios Orlando. Element Orlando is slated to debut in July 2016, following next year’s opening of both Element Orlando North and Element Miami Doral. Owned by Barakat Orlando Resort, LLC, developed by GCD Associates, and managed by New Jersey based Paramount Hotel Group, Element Orlando will offer 151 sustainable rooms and a light-filled atmosphere.
NEW YORK—Three NEWH Green Voice Conversations have been added to the extensive schedule of sustainability-focused sessions at the Hospitality Leadership Forum, International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS), and Boutique Design New York (BDNY) events to be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center November 8 to 11 in New York City. The Green Voice Conversations will take place as part of BDNY. The first Green Voice Conversation will take place Sunday, November 9 from 10:30 to 11 a.m. The topic will be, “Where Does Your Wood Come from and Why it Matters: Understanding Responsible Sourcing of Wood and Forest Management Certifications.” The guest speaker will be Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director of Dovetail Partners. The moderator will be David Mahood, LEED AP, GGP, Olive Hospitality Consulting. The second Green Voice Conversation will take place Sunday, November 9 from 1:30 to 2 p.m. The topic will be, “Better Design through Nature’s Chemistry: Why Nature Should be Your Model for Buildings and Products. The guest speaker will be Mark H. Dorfman, MSPH, Biomimicry Chemist, Biomimicry 3.8.
HAMILTON, OHIO—Many cleaning professionals are unaware of studies that indicate how the very tools we use to clean surfaces—specifically, cleaning cloths and mops—are sometimes the very ones that cause cross-contamination.
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