The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has launched Responsible Stay, an industry-wide commitment to make meetings, events and guest experiences in America’s hotels more environmentally and socially responsible.
The initiative is focused on prioritizing hotels’ environmental sustainability efforts in four key areas:
- Energy efficiency: optimizing energy efficiency through operational improvements and adoption of clean energy technologies
- Waste reduction: investing in waste reduction programs and new, innovative alternatives to reduce, reuse and recycle waste across properties
- Water conservation: ensuring the reduction of water usage by implementing water-efficient practices in core areas like laundry; food and beverage; and landscaping
- Responsible sourcing practices: sourcing responsibly and prioritizing sustainability in supply chains to prevent harmful environmental and social impacts
By focusing on these four core principles, AHLA and its members are united on a commitment to strengthen environmental programs, education and resources to provide a “responsible stay” for guests, protect the future of the planet and support communities across the country, the organization reports.
“The hotel industry has shown a longstanding commitment to sustainability, and many of our member companies have been on the leading edge of these efforts,” said Chip Rogers, president/CEO, AHLA. “We’re thrilled that the industry is committed to this critical issue that will shape how we travel for years to come. The launch of Responsible Stay is the next step of our industry’s sustainability journey, and we are uniting as an industry to provide a responsible stay for our employees, guests, communities and our planet.”
Responsible Stay aims to advance environmental initiatives and help hotels shift operations to be more sustainable. This commitment to providing a responsible stay builds on existing initiatives by AHLA to support industry efforts to reduce carbon emissions, water and energy usage, waste and more:
- AHLA’s Sustainability Committee, comprised of industry leaders, communicates, educates and advocates on behalf of the lodging industry to showcase environmental efforts and elevate environmental sustainability and resilience;
- AHLA’s new partnership with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance works to amplify, collaborate on and support hospitality sustainability programs and solutions;
- AHLA’s long-standing partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and the Hotel Kitchen program, which uses innovative strategies to engage staff, partners and guests in curbing food waste from hotel kitchens;
- AHLA’s ongoing partnership with the Department of Energy Better Buildings Initiative highlights energy efficiency and drives leadership in energy innovation in the hospitality sector by accelerating investment and sharing successful best practices; and
- AHLA’s newly formed research initiative with GreenView helps quantify and benchmark sustainability practices across the hotel industry in the U.S., which will allow for better insights, best-practice development and sustainability progress tracking over time.
Responsible Stay has elicited broad support across the sector, with members, state association partners and other industry stakeholders endorsing the program and its principles.
To mark the launch of Responsible Stay, major hotel companies offered their individual commitments to advance environmental sustainability on their properties, and a diverse group of companies within the hotel and lodging industry have also released statements of support for the Responsible Stay effort:
“Aimbridge Hospitality is proud to support Responsible Stay and its principles of achieving sustainability through water conservation, waste reduction, energy efficiency and responsible sourcing, which is aligned with our own three-year ESG strategy and sustainability goals,” said Michael J. Deitemeyer, president/CEO, Aimbridge Hospitality.” These principles will be a valuable resource for hotels across the country as we work to build a more sustainable future for the communities in which we live, work and operate.”
“Apple Hospitality REIT is committed to building on our longstanding commitment to sustainability across our investment and asset management strategies to reduce our environmental impact,” said Justin Knight, CEO, Apple Hospitality REIT Inc. “We strongly support Responsible Stay’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by pursuing initiatives focused on water conservation, waste reduction, responsible sourcing and energy efficiency. To enhance our commitment to sustainable operations, Apple Hospitality REIT established a formal energy management program in 2018, engaging resources throughout our company to ensure that energy, water and waste management are a priority not only within our company, but also with our management companies and brands. We are committed to working closely with the brands to identify priorities for future investment that will further advance sustainable operating standards.”
“Atrium Hospitality is eager to support AHLA’s Responsible Stay initiative, which complements our sustainability commitment as one of the nation’s largest hotel operators,” said Rob Mangiarelli, president, Atrium Hospitality. “We’re committed to being a responsible community partner, including priorities for energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation and responsible sourcing. Atrium invests in innovation to conserve the planet’s natural resources and to be more efficient, all while providing exceptional guest experiences.”
“Choice Hotels International Inc. is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and proudly supports AHLA’s Responsible Stay and its focus on water conservation, waste reduction, responsible sourcing and energy efficiency,” said Pat Pacious, CEO, Choice Hotels International. “More than a decade ago, Choice launched Room to be Green, a program that promotes environmentally friendly practices throughout our hotel system and corporate offices. As the program continues to evolve and we look to further enhance our commitment to sustainability, we’re excited about the launch of Responsible Stay.”
“Crestline is excited to support Responsible Stay and its focus on improving sustainability through water conservation, waste reduction, energy efficiency and responsible sourcing,” said James Carroll, president/CEO, Crestline Hotels & Resorts LLC. “Implementing sustainable practices both in the hotels we manage, and our own corporate offices, has been an important initiative for Crestline for many years. In 2008, we launched EarthPact, a green initiative program that works towards excellence in sustainability across multiple disciplines.”
“Four Seasons is committed to building upon our company’s strong history of supporting our communities and the environment,” said Caitrin O’Brien, VP, environmental, social and governance (ESG), Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “Through our environmental, social and governance (ESG) program, we seek to preserve and regenerate the beautiful places in which we operate, and leave a positive, enduring impact on our communities. We are proud to support Responsible Stay and its focus on water conservation, waste reduction, responsible sourcing and energy efficiency. Our hotels around the world are taking significant steps within each of these priority areas, and we are committed to continued collaboration with our industry peers to drive even greater collective impact.”
“As an ESG leader within the hospitality industry, Highgate is proud to support Responsible Stay and its priorities of energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction and responsible sourcing,” said Arash Azarbarzin, CEO, Highgate Hotels LP. “Reducing our environmental footprint is at the forefront of Highgate’s mission, which has led to the development of comprehensive programs surrounding building operations optimization, sustainable supply chain management, reforestation, renewable energy utilization, single-use plastics elimination and green design & construction. Our efforts are already making an impact, with more than 200 of our hotels powered by 100% renewable energy and more than 7,000 trees planted through reforestation efforts.”
“For over 100 years, Hilton has operated under the belief that hospitality can be a powerful force for good,” said Danny Hughes, EVP/president, Americas, Hilton. “We recognize that there has never been a more important time to support our industry’s efforts towards a more resilient and vibrant world for travel and are proud to support AHLA’s Responsible Stay priorities. Together with our industry partners and guided by our Travel With Purpose strategy, we look forward to strengthening our collective efforts to protect the communities and destinations we serve while creating a more responsible stay for our guests.”
“Corporate responsibility is a cornerstone of Host’s values and business strategy, and we are proud to be consistently recognized for our commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship,” said James F. Risoleo, president/CEO/director, Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. “As the premier lodging REIT, one of the largest owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels and a sustainability leader, we are excited to support Responsible Stay and share its commitment of reducing carbon emissions through energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction and responsible sourcing. This new program will set a foundation to help the industry meet the sustainability expectations of our stakeholders, including our investors, employees, partners and communities. Host is on track to meet our environmental targets around greenhouse gas emissions, energy, electricity use, water and waste by 2025; and by 2050, we aspire to be a net positive company and a catalyst for positive impact in the lodging industry.”
“Hyatt is committed to advancing environmental action through our 2030 environmental goals as part of our World of Care ESG platform,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president/CEO, Hyatt. “We are proud to support AHLA’s Responsible Stay as an important tool in our industry’s sustainability efforts and helping to ensure the communities we all serve remain vibrant now, and in the future.”
“At IHG Hotel & Resorts, we recognize the importance of playing our part in protecting our planet for the future,” said Catherine Dolton, chief sustainability officer, IHG Hotels & Resorts. “We fully support Responsible Stay and agree with its priorities of water conservation, waste reduction, energy efficiency and responsible sourcing. In parallel, IHG is committed to providing our guests with a more sustainable stay through our Journey to Tomorrow 10-year responsible business plan. That’s why we’re working to reduce our energy use and carbon emissions in line with climate science and to minimize waste in the hospitality industry. We’re also finding ways to reduce our water usage and work with others towards sustainable solutions that create water access for all.”
“At Marriott International Inc., we believe we have a global responsibility and unique opportunity to be a force for good by helping to take on our world’s most pressing social, environmental and economic issues,” said Liam Brown, group president, U.S. and Canada, Marriott International Inc. “We support Responsible Stay and its four key pillars of energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction and responsible sourcing. This new resource will help us advance our industry’s commitment to sustainability—protecting our communities and environments while meeting the expectations of our guests, associates, owners, investors and other stakeholders. Guided by our 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Goals, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Marriott International is committed to creating positive and sustainable impact wherever we do business.”
“The name, Noble, was born out of the ethos of our commitment to responsible standards of operating and investing,” said Mit Shah, founder/CEO, Noble Investment Group. “We are proud that our diverse team continues to be stewards of these endeavors throughout the travel and hospitality industry, and we are excited to support AHLA’s Responsible Stay and its priorities of water conservation, waste reduction, energy efficiency and responsible sourcing. Through the design, development and redevelopment of our assets, Noble is committed to incorporating sustainable practices and pursuing energy efficiencies to produce more profitable and beneficial business results.”
“Outrigger Hospitality Group applauds and fully supports AHLA for uniting the industry to advance environmental sustainability and resilience with its new Responsible Stay platform,” said Jeff Wagoner, president/CEO, Outrigger Hospitality Group. “Outrigger is amplifying its own ESG efforts this year as part of our 75th anniversary—including being the first hospitality company to pursue Green Seal certification in Hawaii, Fiji and Mauritius, as well as signing a Climate Coalition Pledge that commits our company to tracking and reducing our carbon footprint. With a bold mission to be ‘The Premier Beach Resort Company in the World,’ Outrigger’s link to the ocean is unbreakable. Beyond strategic reduction of energy, water and waste at all of our resorts, the company’s global conservation initiative, Outrigger ZONE, inspires positive change by helping to preserve, protect and plant coral reefs—the lungs of our planet.”
“Red Roof is proud to support Responsible Stay and its sustainability priorities of water conservation, waste reduction, energy efficiency and responsible sourcing,” said George Limbert, president, Red Roof. “We’re committed to building a more sustainable future, which is why we recently launched a new ESG effort called Purpose With Heart. Our ESG project will focus on an evolving set of objectives. The benefits of our program will accrue to our guests, our business and our franchise owners, as well as to our team members, our communities and the environment we all share. Our purpose in developing a structured program is to do well by doing good, and we are so proud to endorse the AHLA Responsible Stay program that matches the spirit and aspiration of Purpose With Heart.”
“RLJ Lodging Trust enthusiastically supports Responsible Stay and shares its priorities of water conservation, waste reduction, energy efficiency and responsible sourcing,” said Leslie D. Hale, president/CEO, RLJ Lodging Trust. “This program will help all of us in the hotel industry build a more sustainable future for the communities in which we operate, work and live.”
“Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc. places a high value on protecting the environment where we own properties and employ a strong workforce,” said Colin V. Reed, chairman/CEO, Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc. “We are very proud to support the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Responsible Stay initiative and its sustainability goals of water conservation, waste reduction, responsible sourcing and energy efficiency within the lodging industry. As sole owner of five Gaylord Hotels, some of the top 10 largest non-gaming convention center hotels in the U.S., we understand the significant environmental impact of our operations. That’s why we have implemented a sustainability program to mitigate, continually improve and closely monitor the environmental performance for our hospitality portfolio. We are proud of the progress we have made to date and continue to seek opportunities to reduce carbon and waste, conserve water and grow our efforts in sustainable and renewable energy.”
“Sonesta International Hotels Corporation is proud to support Responsible Stay and its focus on building a more sustainable future through water conservation, waste reduction, responsible sourcing and energy efficiency,” said John Murray, president/CEO, Sonesta International Hotels. “Our business strategy incorporates a focus on sustainable approaches to operating properties in a manner that benefits the company’s owners, guests and the communities in which our properties are located. We encourage our managers and franchisees to operate their hotel in ways that improve the economic performance of their operations, while simultaneously managing energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. is proud to support Responsible Stay, a new effort to build on our longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability through water conservation, waste reduction, responsible sourcing and energy efficiency,” said Bryan A. Giglia, CEO, Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. “Our corporate employees, hotel associates and hotel guests are increasingly prioritizing sustainability, and we are committed to helping ensure our hotels meet their expectations. Throughout our portfolio, our asset management, design and construction, and engineering teams monitor energy, waste and water consumption and costs, as well as work with our managers to identify opportunities for improvement. Our efforts are already paying off, with reductions in energy, water, GHG emissions and waste usage over the last several years. Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. understands the importance of continuing to identify new initiatives that will help protect our planet and reduce our environmental footprint.”
“In the United States alone, there are over 130,000 hotels and motels,” said Mitch Patel, president/CEO, Vision Hospitality Group Inc. “As part of this rich fabric that is the hospitality industry, Vision Hospitality Group recognizes that we have a chance to make a major impact on the sustainability of our planet. When you consider our total usage in water, electricity and food, we have the ability to truly come together for real change. Vision Hospitality Group is proud to support the AHLA’s Responsible Stay initiative, adding our voice to our friends in the industry as we come together to ensure a bright, clean future for the next generation of hoteliers and guests.”
“Wyndham supports AHLA’s Responsible Stay and is committed to fostering social responsibility through conservation, waste reduction, energy efficiency and responsible sourcing,” said Geoff Ballotti, president/CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “We take daily action to minimize our operations’ impact on the world as we continue making progress in reducing our carbon emissions, water consumption and work towards a 100% elimination of single-use plastics while providing our hotels access to tools and best practices through Wyndham Green to help measure and reduce their own environmental impact.”
For more on how the hotel industry is handling environmental, social and governance (ESG), check out the cover story in the November issue of Hotel Business.