Home Publisher's Point of View AHLA Wraps Up Very Busy News Week of Highly Impactful Announcements

AHLA Wraps Up Very Busy News Week of Highly Impactful Announcements


The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) was in the news numerous times this past week and for good reason. It held its second annual Responsible Stay Summit on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. On the same day it announced a partnership with the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) to operate the Green Key Global hotel sustainability certification program in the U.S. and Canada. One day earlier, AHLA and Procure Impact launched a Dignity of Work Pledge aimed at creating 100,000 hours of paid employment for underserved populations, which supports responsible sourcing practices.

Let’s call it a very good week for AHLA and our industry. (By the way, AHLA’s fast-growing Sustainability Committee also met this past week in Washington, D.C.)

I will be posting an article about the Summit in the coming week. I attended and was very impressed by the content and lineup of speakers.

A Long Time Coming?

Years ago, around the time I launched Green Lodging News, there was continuous chatter about which national green hotel certification should be the one to get behind. I often thought it would be ideal for AHLA to choose one program to back. Almost two decades later, it has happened with AHLA and HAC coming together to own and operate the Green Key Global program.

Green Key Global, which until now has had the most presence in Canada, is expected to pick up a lot of momentum in the U.S. as well as Canada in the coming months. The formal partnership between AHLA and HAC will take effect on April 1.

“This partnership is a gamechanger for the hotel industry in the U.S. and Canada and takes our commitment to sustainability to the next level,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “Green Key Global provides important third-party validation for hotels’ sustainability efforts, and it gives sustainability-minded travelers the information they need to choose the lodging options that are right for them. AHLA and HAC will be working together to promote these goals through this important partnership.”

“We are so proud of the commitments hotels are making on the ground as part of this program,” said HAC President & CEO Susie Grynol. “Establishing a Green Key Global North American standard of sustainability allows more properties to elevate their leadership in this space, and through this partnership, we believe we can make sustainability accessible for all hotels.”

Program Created 30 Years Ago

I have posted about Green Key Global many times over the years. HAC created it in 1994 to certify hotels’ environmental sustainability policies and processes, and its certification criteria are aligned with all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The initiative, which provides certifications to hotels around the world, puts hotels through an assessment and audit to measure their performance in areas such as energy and water conservation, land use, hazardous and solid waste management, air quality, and more. Hotels are rated from 1 to 5 Green Keys and continuous improvement is built into the program.

I expect the Green Key Global map of certified properties to grow substantially as an increasing number of brands officially recommend the program. The cost to participate is very reasonable.

The Dignity of Work Pledge

As mentioned, just one day prior to the Summit and Green Key Global announcement, AHLA and Procure Impact announced the launch of the Dignity of Work Pledge. The Pledge is a commitment by hospitality companies to building positive and sustainable social impact through their supply chains.

Each vendor on the Procure Impact platform employs individuals facing barriers to work, including survivors of trafficking, veterans, at-risk youth, refugees, individuals with disabilities, and individuals who have experienced poverty, incarceration, homelessness, mental health issues and trauma, or substance use disorders.

Procure Impact tracks the impact of each transaction made on its platform by calculating the number of shift hours created, making it easy for hospitality companies to report on their impact goals and measure their progress.

Progress Shared on Responsible Stay Website

Procure Impact’s B2B marketplace provides companies the opportunity to easily source responsibly and achieve social impact goals. By taking the Dignity of Work Pledge, hospitality companies commit to increasing the percentage of their purchases made with vendors on Procure Impact’s platform and to regularly report their progress, which will be shared on AHLA’s Responsible Stay website.

“We believe the hospitality sector is uniquely positioned to harness its purchasing power to create unique and meaningful guest experiences and change millions of lives in the process. We are excited to partner with so many pioneers in hospitality who are building spaces and places grounded in belonging and purpose through the products that they feature and purchase,” said Procure Impact Founder & CEO Lauren McCann.

“Responsible sourcing is all about delivering value to guests while creating positive social and environmental impacts,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “Procure Impact makes it easy for hospitality companies to do just that.”

List of First Participants

Founding partners who have committed and signed the Dignity of Work Pledge include Davidson Hospitality Group, Pyramid Global Hospitality, Sage Hospitality Group, CoralTree Hospitality, Atrium Hospitality, Pacific Hospitality Group, Modus Hotels and 21c Museum Hotels. Participating hotels manage over 110,000 hotel rooms nationwide.

To learn more about Procure Impact visit procureimpact.us or fill out this contact form. To view the Dignity of Work Pledge, click here.

Jen Collins, President of Procure Impact, who participated in the Responsible Sourcing session at the Summit, said that given our industry’s $100 billion in spending annually, there is huge potential to help vendors on the Procure Impact platform.

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