Best Environmental Stewardship: Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide: Working To Preserve the Environment Through Better Waste Management

Hilton Worldwide has rallied its global brands to make an impact on environmental preservation around the world by creating benchmark programs and processes in hospitality industry waste management.


The World Bank estimates that global urban populations create 1.3 billion tons of solid waste per year, and more than half of that ends up in landfills.

Hilton Worldwide is a global business with more than 3,900 hotels and 300,000 Team Members in 90 countries. Annually, we serve 115 million guests across 10 brands. As a responsible company, we strive to maximize operational efficiencies to reduce waste output, including materials such as food, soap, furniture, and other hard goods.

Through LightStay™, our proprietary sustainability management system, we track, measure, and analyze impacts across 200+ indicators, including waste. We use this extensive knowledge to set robust goals, design, and implement global solutions to complement local initiatives.

Hilton Worldwide is the first major multi-brand hospitality company to make sustainability a brand standard. All of our hotels, including owned, managed, and franchised, are required to measure, track, and continually improve their sustainability performance, including waste output. Our waste programs offer shared value—cost savings for our owners and reduced environmental impact for our communities.

What Hilton Worldwide Accomplished

In 2009, Hilton Worldwide made a bold commitment to reduce waste by 20 percent in five years. Properties around the world, eager to participate, developed local initiatives reflective of their capacity. They continue to do so today. Hilton Worldwide has nearly 2,000 participants sharing more than 5,000 improvement projects with different approaches to common sustainability challenges. In support of property-driven efforts, we have launched global waste programs to scale local impact. 

In partnership with Feeding America and The Global FoodBanking Network, we are piloting a first-of-its-kind program to scale prepared food donations globally. Our NGO partners connect our hotels to local food banks and community agencies, facilitating food delivery to school programs, food pantries, soup kitchens, and hospices.   

We are piloting our innovative food donation program in Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City, New York City, Washington D.C., Orlando, and Egypt. In the first month of this pilot program, our Seattle properties donated 780 pounds of prepared food. In Orlando, one property alone donated 2,825 pounds.

Hilton Worldwide properties are managing soap waste by working with the Global Soap Project (GSP), a nonprofit organization that recovers and recycles soap from hotels, then distributes them to vulnerable populations in developing countries at risk for hygiene-related disease.

We have a goal of recycling one million bars of soap by 2014. Further, we have committed $1.3 million through 2014 to help grow GSP’s operational capacity to support waste reduction efforts across the hospitality industry. To date, we have engaged nearly 600 properties—recycling 100,000+ pounds of soap into 400,000 new bars.

A partnership with Good360 connects hotels donating high-quality used goods to charitable organizations that can repurpose them. By utilizing LightStay™, all Hilton Worldwide properties can “announce” goods available for donation through a tracking system that links to Good360's online product donation marketplace. In partnership with DH Hospitality, mattresses replaced during renovations are recycled into other products.

With more than 3,900 properties, Hilton Worldwide has the capacity to provide more than $5.5 million of in-kind contributions to more than 22,000 community partners through Good360. With DH Hospitality, we are recycling approximately 85 percent of our hotels’ mattresses and box springs into new products.

Why This Project Makes Sense

Since 2009, Hilton Worldwide has reduced its waste output by 23 percent, achieving our goal more than two years early. To date, nearly 700 individual donations—including food, amenities, and hard goods—are captured in LightStay™. The result of these efforts is a mutual benefit—improving our partners’ ability to deliver on their missions while successfully engaging our full brand portfolio.

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