As a global hotel company purchasing food and beverage, linens, amenities, beds and energy, sourcing is a complex and often decentralized matter for Hilton, with its suppliers extending beyond 97 countries, spanning multiple industries and legal contexts.
This case study is based on the 2014-2015 Corporate Responsibility Report by Hilton published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate that CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly is achieved by identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment and stakeholders and by measuring, managing and changing.
Hilton’s portfolio of twelve world-class global brands includes more than 4,500 managed, franchised, owned and leased hotels and timeshare properties, with over 745,000 rooms in almost 100 countries and territories. This is why Hilton is not only committed to its own responsible business practices but also strives to ensure that its suppliers do the same. In order to develop programs and initiatives that support business objectives while managing social and environmental impacts in its supply chain, Hilton took action to:
- develop a cross-functional advisory group
- foster supplier diversity
- introduce local sourcing programs
- support the care and welfare of the animals in Hilton’s extended global supply chain
- promote responsible meetings using locally sourced food items and
- work with international organizations to manage the social and environmental impacts in its supply chain
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Hilton has identified;
- How Hilton proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Hilton to develop programs and initiatives that support business objectives while managing social and environmental impacts in its supply chain
What are the material issues the company has identified?
In its 2014-2015 Corporate Responsibility Report Hilton identified a range of material issues, such as human rights, community service, employing young people around the world, diversity & inclusion, Hilton Team Members, energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, water use, waste reduction. However, as one of the world’s preeminent hospitality companies, stretching across 24 time zones and expanding into new countries where there can be less transparency about the origin and creation of products, exposing Hilton to reputational risks, potential disruptions in supply and environmental challenges, managing the possible social and environmental impacts among its categories of top spend and volume stands out as a key material issue for the company.
Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:
Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.
Key stakeholder groups Hilton engages with to identify material issues:
Hilton engaged both internal and external stakeholders to identify their interests and concerns and define Hilton’s most important impacts upon them and the environment.
|Stakeholder Group||Method of engagement|
|Hilton Team Members||• All Hilton Team Member meetings
• Annual Global Hilton Team Member Survey
• Heart of Hilton
• Hilton Hotline
• Executive leadership emails
• Hilton Team Member Resource Groups
• Wellness committees
|Franchise Employees||• Community champions
• Conferences, summits and leadership meetings
• Global Team Member Volunteer Program
• Hilton Worldwide University
• Recognition programs
• Pre-shift huddles and learning conversations
|Guests||• Service and Loyalty Tracking (SALT) for customers
• Guest assistance
• Hilton’s brands and loyalty program Hilton HHonors
• Social media monitoring and engagement
|• Ongoing dialogue on key issues
• Participation in multi-stakeholder initiatives
• Association membership
|NGOs and International Organizations||• Participation in expert forums and ongoing dialogues, white
papers, publications and surveys
• Public-private partnerships and engagement on selected topics
• Strategic partnerships and consultation around key material
|Investors||• Annual and quarterly reports
• Annual meeting of shareholders
• Meetings, conferences and roadshows
• Quarterly earnings conference calls
• Surveys and questionnaires
• Investor days and conferences
|Owners||• Collaboration on key material issues
• Global Owners Conference
• Owners communications
• Owners services
• Owners surveys
• Regional Owner Connections
|Suppliers||• Collaboration on key material issues
• Questionnaires and surveys
• Responsible sourcing policy
• Strategic sourcing
• Supplier audits and assessments
• Supplier development program – seminars and training
In its 2014-2015 Corporate Responsibility Report Hilton reports that it took the following actions for developing programs and initiatives that support business objectives while managing social and environmental impacts in its supply chain:
- Developing a cross-functional advisory group
- This advisory group:
- oversees the development of a complete responsible sourcing strategy across Hilton’s operations
- sets the foundation for integration
- is designed to generate further alignment across regions and guide global decisions related to responsible sourcing
- will help Hilton scale existing programs, discover new opportunities and share best practices across the portfolio
- Fostering supplier diversity
- Hilton has cultivated, through its award-winning Supplier Diversity Program in the United States, relationships with more than 4,000 women, minority and veteran-owned enterprises.
- Introducing local sourcing programs
- Hilton Team Members, franchise employees and suppliers seek local sourcing opportunities and form relationships with area farmers to collect and distribute products to Hilton’s hotels.
- Hilton works with suppliers to develop unique trainings for farmers regarding the handling, safety guidelines and insurance requirements necessary to supply its properties.
- More than 40 Hilton hotels in 11 major cities in Europe, Latin America, the United States and Canada participate in Hilton’s local sourcing and education programs.
- Supporting the care and welfare of the animals in Hilton’s extended global supply chain
- With its Responsible Sourcing Policy Hilton addresses opportunities to support the care and welfare of the animals in its extended global supply chain.
- After the initial removal of shark fin from menus across all restaurants and food and beverage facilities operated by managed properties in China and Southeast Asia, in 2014 Hilton ceased serving shark fin across all properties globally. As a result of this accomplishment, Hilton Singapore became the first hotel in Asia to achieve Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council chain of custody certification.
- In 2015:
- Hilton started working with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to develop a global sustainable seafood approach that will firstly prioritize markets based on a number of factors including procurement methods, demand for seafood and annual seafood spend.
- Hilton announced a commitment to switch to cage-free eggs by December 31, 2017 for all Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton hotels. Moreover, by December 31, 2018 all pork products for these properties should be purchased from suppliers that house breed pigs in groups rather than gestation crates.
- Promoting responsible meetings
- In 2015 Hilton launched Meet with Purpose, intended to make it easier for meeting professionals to incorporate balanced meals and wellness into meetings and events. Meet with Purpose supports meeting and event planners in using locally sourced food items that can offer fresh and balanced menu options.
- Working with international organizations to manage social and environmental impacts in Hilton’s supply chain
- In 2015 Hilton began working with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to support its environmental goals and progress and drive value for its operations. WWF will help Hilton develop its sustainable seafood efforts globally and continue to work with it to evolve its responsible sourcing strategy.
- Hilton, through its membership with WeConnect International – an organization that empowers women business owners to succeed in local and global markets –, connects hotels throughout Asia with opportunities to consider diverse suppliers in their purchasing decisions.
- In 2015 Hilton participated for the second time in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an organization that helps disclose the greenhouse gas emissions of major corporations. Hilton earned a disclosure and performance score of 97-B, improving on 2014’s score of 91-B.
- [tweetthis]Hilton’s environmental efforts have been recognized as a Forbes Top 50 Green Brand[/tweetthis] and as a Newsweek Top Green Company in the World in 2015.
Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?
The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:
2) G4-EN32: Percentage of new suppliers that were screened using environmental criteria – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 308-1 New suppliers that were screened using environmental criteria
3) G4-PR3: Type of product and service information required by the organization’s procedures for product and service information and labeling, and percentage of significant products and service categories subject to such information requirements – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 417-1 Requirements for product and service information and labeling
1) This case study was compiled using published information by Hilton which is located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses but made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original please revert to the following link:
http://cr.hiltonworldwide.com/download/Hilton_CRReport_2014_15.pdf (2014-2015 Corporate Responsibility Report by Hilton)
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