Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) last week released its 2014 Sustainability Report – available this year as 10 separate and concise issue reports – sharing the company’s progress against a 2007 baseline, including a nearly 13 percent decrease in water intensity, 11 percent decrease in energy intensity, and a 12 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions intensity. One of Marriott’s key environmental goals is to achieve a 20 percent reduction in energy and water intensity by 2020.
“Our sustainability strategy is critical to the growth and success of our communities, our company, and our efforts to help protect our planet’s natural resources,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International.
The Green Hotels Global tool used by Marriott International worldwide helps drive the company’s sustainability efforts and transparency, and was made a brand standard in 2013. The tool tracks the environmental footprint of each hotel in the company’s portfolio, including water and energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, recycling and over 100 property-level environmental practices.
“We’re pleased that our sustainability performance is continuing to improve globally. In the U.S. nearly 50 percent of our portfolio recently earned TripAdvisor GreenLeader™ status thanks to our work and the use of tools like Green Hotels Global,” said Denise Naguib, vice president of sustainability and supplier diversity. “Our supply chain focus, which ties to our sustainability and commitment to diversity and inclusion, has also progressed with our achievement of 75 percent spend with sustainable suppliers through MindClick Global’s Sustainability Index for furniture, fixtures and equipment and $468 million in spend with diverse suppliers.”
The report also highlights Marriott’s decades-long commitment to developing a skilled workforce. Globally Marriott is supporting youth employment initiatives such as its “World of Opportunity” charitable giving and workplace skills training program in 24 European countries, The Ritz-Carlton’s “Succeed Through Service” program in 26 countries; the Akilah Institute for Women in Rwanda, where Marriott has hired 40 young graduates; and the International Tourism Partnership Youth Career Initiative (YCI) program in 10 countries.
“Creating a sustainable future means creating more jobs and stronger communities, a greater ‘world of opportunity’,” said Mari Snyder, vice president of social responsibility. “Our partnerships allow us to be a catalyst to address rising youth unemployment and help provide skills to prepare young people for the workplace. One of the company’s signature partners is the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that the Marriott family started with a model designed by Marriott associates to help urban youth with disabilities secure competitive jobs while helping employers source a talent pool of youth they may not have considered. Twenty-five years later, the Bridges program alone has served 20,000 youth. ”
 20 percent reduction from the company’s 2007 energy intensity baseline of 401.2 kWh per square meter of conditioned space and a water intensity baseline of 0.86 cubic meter per occupied room.
Marriott’s reporting approach this year was to present the issues that matter most to its stakeholders in concise, simplified reports that can be accessed, read and shared online or via social media, especially by its “next generation” associates and customers. The issue reports include: Workforce Development; Environmental Performance; Stakeholder Engagement and Policy Advocacy; Global Diversity and Inclusion; Health, Safety and Wellbeing; Responsible Sourcing; Business Model and Sustainability Strategy; Business Ethics and Human Rights; Community Engagement and Natural Capital.
Highlights from the issue reports include:
• Stakeholder Engagement and Policy Advocacy - Marriott has been actively engaging with the White House to promote the power of tourism, including advocating for the 2015 reauthorization of Brand USA, a national marketing campaign targeted at overseas tourists, which resulted in 1.1 million new visitors entering the USA in 2013. The company’s government affairs team also encouraged legislators to pass the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, designed to enhance the Visa Waiver program and rapidly process visitor visa applications at US consular offices. Marriott continues to advocate for measures that will provide stability to immigrants who work in its hotels.
• Business Ethics and Human Rights - Marriott has a long history of supporting the fight against human trafficking, and created a training program for associates to identify and report possible trafficking behavior. In 2013, Marriott joined Sabre Holdings in partnering with the United Nations campaign. The campaign, started by the UNWTO, UNODC and UNESCO, aims to educate tourists around the globe to be alert and aware of possible trafficking- human, flora and fauna, cultural artifacts, illicit drugs or counterfeit goods.
• Responsible Sourcing- Always searching for environmentally-conscious business solutions, Marriott partnered with Cintas to purchase associate uniforms made from recycled polyester from post-consumer plastic bottles. Nine brands in the Marriott portfolio have incorporated Regeneration Suiting as their uniform of choice. As a result of choosing these eco-uniforms in 2013, Marriott helped divert 2.3 million bottles from landfills.
For more information about Marriott’s sustainability and social responsibility initiatives or to download the 10 issue reports individually or as a full sustainability report with GRI Index, visit www.marriott.com/socialresponsibility.
Sustainability reports based on the GRI framework are used to determine the sustainability issues most pertinent to the organization; benchmark organizational performance with respect to laws, norms, codes, performance standards and voluntary initiatives; demonstrate organizational commitment to sustainable development; and compare organizational performance over time. The Sustainability Reporting G3 Guidelines are the foundation of the framework. For more information on the GRI, visit www.globalreporting.org.
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