November 18, 2019 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that Hilton’s corporate responsibility management system has achieved ‘GSTC-Recognized Standard’ status.
Hilton is the first major hotel company to achieve this recognition. In 2009, Hilton launched LightStay, its award-winning platform that enables the company to track its environmental and social impact across its entire global portfolio of nearly 6,000 managed and franchised hotels. Originally designed to track environmental data, LightStay has evolved to measure, manage and report all of Hilton’s environmental and social metrics.
LightStay tracks energy, carbon, water and waste data, as well as social impact metrics including local sourcing, youth training and volunteer hours. LightStay also captures detailed information on hotels’ operational practices and sustainability certifications, and provides localized risk indices on the most material issues for the company, such as disaster vulnerability, water risk or modern slavery risk, to inform each hotel’s priorities. Through the use of LightStay, every property in Hilton’s portfolio is certified to ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and ISO 50001 (Energy Management).
In 2018, Hilton launched ambitious new Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals to redefine sustainable travel by cutting its environmental footprint in half and doubling its social impact investment by 2030. With this commitment, Hilton became the first major hotel company to set science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Hilton also set the goal to adopt a global standard for responsible travel and tourism to compliment the company’s existing ISO certifications.
To achieve GSTC Recognition, Hilton developed a Responsible Travel and Tourism Guide that leverages the existing capabilities of LightStay to apply the GSTC Criteria across its management system. The Guide compliments LightStay’s current functionalities to address the key areas of responsible travel and tourism that hotels must adhere to in order to achieve GSTC certification.
“Hilton has been taking a strong lead among hotel brands in applying meaningful and fact-based sustainability practices into their management approaches by the development of their internal LightStay program and adherence to three relevant ISO standards. We are proud to have them formally confirm LightStay’s compliance with the GSTC Criteria by undergoing the process of GSTC Recognition of LightStay,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO. “This confirms that their program is holistic and adheres to established universal principles for sustainable hotel management.”
“We are honored to see LightStay recognized by GSTC. In advance of our company’s 100th anniversary, we set ourselves on a mission to redefine sustainable travel. To succeed in this ambition, we are committed to adopting the highest standards for responsible travel and tourism,” said Caitrin O’Brien, senior manager, corporate sustainability, Hilton. “GSTC Recognition is the most respected seal of approval for sustainable travel and tourism practices, and we are looking forward to working further with GSTC to bring the best of sustainable travel and tourism to our guests around the world.”
Currently, 11 destination standards, 30 hotel standards, and 30 tour operator standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The status offers the market a proof that these standards adhere to international norms GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria. GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to complete the Accreditation process, which assures that the certification process used to apply the standard meets international best practice, transparent, and rigor. Learn more about GSTC Accreditation.
About the GSTC
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable standards, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. These are the guiding principles and minimum requirements that any tourism business or destination should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.
The GSTC Criteria form the foundation for GSTC’s role as the global Accreditation Body for Certification Programs that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services; but it accredits those that do. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, NGO’s, national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.
Information for media and the press: https://www.gstcouncil.org/about/for-the-press/
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 17 world-class brands comprising nearly 6,000 properties with more than 954,000 rooms, in 117 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company, Hilton earned a spot on the 2019 World’s Best Workplaces list, and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its 100-year history. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, nearly 99 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can’t buy, plus enjoy instant benefits, including digital check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
About Travel with Purpose
Travel with Purpose is Hilton’s corporate responsibility strategy to redefine and advance sustainable travel globally. By 2030, we plan to double our social impact investment and cut our environmental footprint by half. We track, analyze and report our environmental and social impact at each of Hilton’s nearly 6,000 hotels through LightStay, our award-winning performance measurement system. Travel with Purpose capitalizes on Hilton’s global scale to catalyze local economic growth; promote human rights; invest in people and local communities; and preserve our planet by reducing our impact on natural resources. Our strategy aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Visit cr.hilton.com to learn more.