Home Energy Management Marriott Takes Deep Dive into Its ESG Efforts in Serve 360 Report

Marriott Takes Deep Dive into Its ESG Efforts in Serve 360 Report

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Glenn Hasek

With approximately 8,000 properties under its wings, Marriott International, Inc. is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to influencing the direction of our industry—at all levels, including ESG— Environmental, Social, and Governance. Marriott just released its 2022 Serve 360 Report presenting data from 2021 and demonstrating its ESG efforts toward the company’s 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Goals. Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction is the name of Marriott’s sustainability and social impact platform. It was launched in 2017.

When a company oversees so many properties, it also oversees a lot of employees. At year-end 2021, Marriott managed approximately 325,000 associates globally. This includes approximately 205,000 associates who are employed by hotel owners and approximately 120,000 associates who are employed by Marriott. Approximately 97,000 of these associates are in the U.S. Marriott is doing a lot to make sure its employees are given an equal opportunity to grow and thrive and those efforts are addressed in its 2022 Serve 360 Report.

I read through Marriott’s report and here are some of the highlights from 2021:

  • Committed to set a science-based target and reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.
  • In 2021, numerous Marriott managed hotels implemented energy efficiency projects, saving approximately 130,000 MWhs of energy.
  • Announced an accelerated goal to achieve global gender parity in executive positions by 2023—two years ahead of the original goal—and established a new goal to achieve 25 percent people of color in executive positions in the U.S. by 2025.
  • Established the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership to help build a pipeline of diverse talent by inspiring Black students to enter the hospitality industry, along with The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and Howard University.
  • Launched the next iteration of Marriott’s human trafficking awareness training, which uses real-life scenarios to support its 2025 goal to train 100 percent of on-property associates to recognize and respond to potential situations of human trafficking.
  • Piloted Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy to provide guests the opportunity to create a positive impact across communities in the Asia Pacific region through environmental protection, community engagement, and marine conservation, which expanded to nearly 100 properties in 2022.
  • Contributions to associates and their families affected by the war in Ukraine and support to humanitarian organizations providing on the ground relief, including over $3 million in hotel-level financial and in-kind support.
  • Commitment of up to $50 million to support historically underrepresented groups who typically face barriers in owning and developing hotels in North America. This new program, “Marriott’s Bridging the Gap,” also supports the company’s goal of achieving 3,000 diverse-owned hotels by the end of 2025.
  • Achievement of LEED Gold Core and Shell Certification for its new global corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Md., which includes a high-efficiency HVAC system, energy-efficient light fixtures with smart lighting controls, and more than 60 electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Donation of Marriott’s updated human trafficking awareness training to the hospitality industry to help other hotel companies and workers recognize the signs of human trafficking.

As mentioned, Marriott’s 98-page report not only looks back but forward as well. In areas such as volunteerism, percentage of renewable electricity and water intensity reduction, the company is behind schedule toward its 2025 goals (baselines 2016 and 2017 and Covid-19 had a lot to do with Marriott falling behind on some goals.) Where Marriott is shining is in its efforts to reduce carbon intensity by 30 percent by 2025. By the end of 2021 it had already achieved a 25.6 percent decrease. In addition, more than 900,000 associates had received human rights training through 2021 (baseline 2016).

Climate Scenario Analysis

We all know about the damage recent hurricanes have done and how the storms were fueled by warmer waters due to climate change. Beginning in 2020, Marriott performed a climate scenario analysis for over 5,200 open and over 1,300 pre-open U.S. hotels to identify physical climate change risks and seismic risks across three time periods—2030, 2050, and 2080. During 2021, Marriott expanded its climate scenario analysis to include over 3,200 open and pre-open international hotels. As a result of this initial analysis of both U.S. and international properties, the top at-risk managed hotels were identified for in-depth future desk studies, site visits, or vulnerability assessments.

Since 2018, Marriott has worked with a meteorological service, StormGeo, to support planning procedures in advance of climate-related risks. StormGeo provides weather awareness and alerting solutions for hotels and Marriott offices located in the Caribbean and Latin America region. This assists properties in making informed, proactive decisions to prepare for weather emergencies.

To increase renewable energy consumption, Marriott is undertaking an analysis of 1,300 properties in the U.S. The first round of this analysis revealed that over 800 properties had the potential for on-site solar installations. Marriott is also developing a possible low-cost capital solution to incentivize properties to install on-site solar.

Since 2014, Marriott has worked with Ecolab’s 3D Traser Technology to implement the platform at managed full-service hotels, globally. This system provides smart sensor technology for cooling water management, resulting in an estimated savings of over 425 million gallons of water globally in 2021.

Based on the types of products used at Marriott hotels, and available waste management services, hotels are guided to purchase products that can be reused, recycled, composted, or donated to avoid sending waste to landfills.

Bye-Bye to Small Plastic Toiletry Bottles

Marriott continues to execute on the first phase of the residential-sized amenities program, switching from small toiletry bottles to larger pump-topped bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body gel. This roll-out is targeted for completion in all hotels globally by the end of 2022. The company is also considering implementing large-format bottling options for sink-side soaps and lotions.

In 2021, in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other industry members and peers, Marriott supported the finalization and publication of the Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology (HWMM). The HWMM provides an agreed upon approach by the hotel industry, to collect, measure, and report on waste data. In 2022, Marriott expects to begin implementing the HWMM across our global portfolio of hotels to establish a baseline and begin measuring progress toward the 2025 waste-to-landfill and food waste reduction goals.

As a founding member of the Evergreen Alliance, Marriott supports the advancement of trees and forests as natural solutions for corporate sustainability and citizenship goals. In 2021, Marriott reforested 34 acres by planting 20,000 trees in GreenTrees, the largest North American reforestation program, through its collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation. The project focuses on restoring degraded agricultural lands back to a highly beneficial, native forest ecosystem, improving the health of the watershed, and revitalizing the habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife.

Countless Efforts by Thousands of Stakeholders

Cleaning up seaweed to remove carbon, protecting turtle nesting sites, responsible sourcing, helping veterans in need—these are just a sample of some more of the many projects in the works at Marriott properties.

Kudos to Marriott for setting such ambitious goals, for working so hard to meet them, and for being honest when it has fallen behind. Companies looking to start or amp up their sustainability programs can look to Marriott as one example of a company to emulate. What if our entire industry set a net-zero goal?

More details about Marriott International’s ESG efforts and Serve 360 can be found at www.Marriott.com/Serve360.

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