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A Close Look at Apple Hospitality’s First Corporate Responsibility Report

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As reported on Green Lodging News, Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc. just published its inaugural Corporate Responsibility Report, which details the company’s environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) performance, strategy and initiatives and features its commitment to environmental sustainability, corporate employees, hotel associates and guests, communities, and other stakeholders.

For those of you not familiar with Apple Hospitality, the REIT currently has an impressive 220 hotels in 37 states with almost 29,000 guestrooms.

I took a quick look at the 64-page report and the following stood out for me:

Like many companies, the REIT looks at corporate responsibility as encompassing environmental, social and governance (ESG).

Trailing other REITs in number of LEED certified hotels, Apple’s portfolio includes two. It has not yet fully embraced green hotel certification.

The average age of Apple’s hotels: 5 years. The upside: The newer the property, the greater the efficiency.

Supports U.N. SDG Goals

Apple Hospitality aims to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and has identified those that are most relevant to its business and stakeholders.

Given the high representation of Marriott and Hilton hotels, and to a lesser degree Hyatt hotels, the REIT benefits from those companies’ own ESG programs.

The REIT has formally adopted policies to further advance its corporate responsibility initiatives and programs in these areas: environmental policy; health, safety and well-being policy; human rights policy; and vendor code of conduct.

From 2019 to 2021, during a time when the pandemic was impacting hotel performance, the company reduced its energy and water consumption by 9 percent and had a 13 percent waste diversion rate. From what I have seen in the industry, 13 percent is certainly a number that can be greatly improved.

Only 15 of Apple’s hotels have EV charging stations. That said, it plans to increase this number.

On the Path to Greater Efficiency

All Apple hotels are enrolled in the Energy Star program and the company has plans to tackle the low-hanging and higher hanging fruit to reduce energy consumption—from LED lighting to renewable energy. Three hotels in Richmond, Va., are enrolled in a 100 percent renewable energy program, which matches 100 percent of the hotels’ energy use with renewable energy. In areas of water and waste reduction, plans include smart irrigation systems, low-flow fixtures, recycling programs and the elimination of single-use plastic. (Sixty-eight percent of toilets in guestrooms have low-flow toilets and 50 percent have bulk amenity dispensers.)

Through Apple Gives, more than 100 nonprofit organizations have been helped by Apple.

Justin Knight, Apple’s CEO, serves as chair of the 2022 AHLA Board of Directors and the company maintains active participation on AHLA’s Sustainability Committee, ForWard Advisory Committee, No Room for Trafficking Workgroup and Consumer Innovation Forum.

Formal Anti-harassment, Anti-discrimination Program

Each year, all employees are required to complete a formal online training program focused on the prevention of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, including unconscious bias.

Apple expects all vendors, including its suppliers and contractors, to share its commitment to protecting the rights, dignity and safety of workers and avoiding activities that cause or contribute to adverse human rights impacts with international standards and guidelines, including those expressed by Foundational Principles 11 and 13 of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to avoid infringing on the rights of others and to prevent adverse human rights impacts directly linked to their operations, products or services.

Says Apple, in the closing of its report, “As we look ahead, it is our expectation that we will continue to enhance and expand our ESG-related disclosures as our progress deepens and industry-wide standards evolve.”

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