The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Insights on how you can protect the environment, maintain and increase the value of your company, through a structured process.

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Case study: How Wyndham Worldwide optimises water use

Wyndham Worldwide is one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, with a collective inventory of almost 130,000 places to stay across over 110 countries on six continents, and 38,000 associates. Through its water conservation programmes, Wyndham Worldwide seeks to use products and implement services that promote cleaner water, as well as more conservative and efficient consumption.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2016-2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report by Wyndham Worldwide published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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In 2016, Wyndham Worldwide’s water withdrawals were 48 gallons per square foot, declining 20% towards its ten-year goal in the first six years. In order to optimise water use Wyndham Worldwide took action to:

  • promote water conservation
  • assess water risks
  • recycle and reuse water

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016-2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report Wyndham Worldwide identified a range of material issues, such as business ethics and compliance, long-term economic trends/issues, data privacy/cyber security, labour standards. Among these, optimising water use stands out as a key material issue for Wyndham Worldwide.

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:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process s 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 Wyndham Worldwide engages with:   

Stakeholder Group
Global partnerships

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics, Wyndham Worldwide conducted surveys and follow-up interviews with more than 50 stakeholders. Wyndham Worldwide also carried out a survey with a sample representation of its stakeholders, to develop its materiality matrix.

What actions were taken by Wyndham Worldwide to optimise water use?

In its 2016-2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report Wyndham Worldwide reports that it took the following actions for optimising water use:

  • Promoting water conservation
  • Wyndham Worldwide locations in all business units globally, including franchise locations, are encouraged to use low flow showerheads, faucet aerators and consider other conservation programmes, including low flow toilets, urinals and minimising water loss due to poor landscaping management practices. On a quarterly basis, Wyndham Worldwide’s properties purchase over 9,000 efficient fixtures through the company’s Strategic Sourcing website. Those fixtures, save approximately 40 million gallons over the life of products. Additionally, Wyndham Worldwide has developed a series of programmes and engagement initiatives with its guests, suppliers and franchisees to support its water conservation plan. Guest sustainability programmes, in particular, are a priority. By participating in Wyndham Worldwide’s towel and linen re-use programme at its hotels, guests can choose not to have their linens and towels laundered every day, reducing both water and energy consumption. Wyndham Worldwide calculates that this programme saves more than 300 million gallons of water, on a yearly basis.
  • Assessing water risks
  • Wyndham Worldwide has assessed its water risk from owned, managed and leased properties in its portfolio using the World Resource Institute’s Aqueduct tool and the World Wildlife Fund’s Water Risk Filter. Based on the location of its properties, Wyndham Worldwide considered a series of risks which included water scarcity, water stress, flood occurrence, pollution and overall water risk, across thousands of properties in its portfolio. Based on the findings of Wyndham Worldwide’s water assessment, 26 properties in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Thailand and Singapore were prioritised due to overall water risk and/or degree of water scarcity. The results of the water risk assessment were presented to Wyndham Green Council, in order to develop targeted programmes to address communities and properties with the greatest exposure to water risks.
  • Recycling and reusing water
  • At Wyndham Vacation Resorts Seven Mile Beach Club in Australia, Wyndham Worldwide implements several programmes to help save water, through recycle and reuse. The property harvests 23,650 litres of rain water and uses it for laundry, when available. The water supplies two washing machines and two laundry troughs. In addition, the property treats all onsite sewage and grey water from its apartments and other infrastructure and recycles it into irrigation water that feeds into an underground drip system below resort lawns. The above ground irrigation is supplied via a water storage dam, which saves approximately 100,000 litres of water per week.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 303-1 Water withdrawal by source

2) Disclosure 303-2 Water sources significantly affected by withdrawal of water


Disclosure 303-1 Water withdrawal by source corresponds to:

Disclosure 303-2 Water sources significantly affected by withdrawal of water corresponds to:


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SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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1) This case study is based on published information by Wyndham Worldwide, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we 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 original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:




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