‘We serve our guests with purpose’: Jatin Khanna, VP & Head of Operations (India), Hilton
Hilton with its Travel With Purpose initiative, has committed to successfully manage its energy, water and waste, along with creating a positive economic and social impact on the communities that the hotels operate in. Jatin Khanna, VP & Head of Operations (India), Hilton speaks about the difference their efforts are making in India
What is the vision philosophy of Hilton’s Travel with Purpose initiative?
Hilton (globally) has committed to cut its environmental footprint in half and double its social impact investment by 2030. With this commitment, Hilton (globally) will become the first major hotel company to institute science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions and send zero soap to landfill. The company will also double the amount it spends with local and minority-owned suppliers, and double its investment in programmes to help women and youth around the world. These goals are part of Hilton’s Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility strategy to further the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
In India, which properties have led the way in this effort?
We have already removed plastic straws from all our managed properties in India, and simultaneously at different stages of the process to remove use of single-use plastic from rooms, F&B, operations for both front and back of house. We will also remove plastic water bottles from meetings and events in hotels across the country by 2018 as part of our “Meet with Purpose” programme to offer socially and environmentally responsible meetings.
Please give a few examples of some initiatives and the recognisable impact.
Some steps we have taken to support our 2030 goals includes:
- Since 2008, Hilton’s managed hotels in Asia Pacific have recorded reductions of 15.1 per cent in water use intensity and 6 per cent reduction in waste output. The company continues to seek ways to operate more efficiently, guided by its award-winning performance measurement system, LightStay.
- Across Greater China and Mongolia, our managed hotels removed plastic water bottles from meetings and events, health clubs and spas since September 2017 – a move that eliminates the use of 13 million plastic bottles annually.
- In India, all our managed hotels are engaged in soap recycling, in partnership with Sundara, to recover, recycle and distribute soap to communities in need.
- We have collaborated with Room to Read to improve child literacy and support girl’s education, in India and Sri Lanka. This included the introduction of a Job
- Shadowing Programme to provide hundreds of girls with exposure to various career opportunities within the hospitality industry.
As a leading hotel group, are you also advocating these concepts in the hospitality sector in India ?
Being responsible social and environmental stewards is engrained in Hilton’s culture and our purpose. We serve our guests with purpose. We lead our teams with purpose. We build relationships with purpose. With more people crossing borders than ever before, we are living in a Golden Age of Travel. However, while our industry takes advantage of the business opportunity these travellers bring, we must address our responsibility to the communities where we live and work. In that light, the very future of our industry depends on a planet that can continue to support and sustain our growth. As travel industry leaders, we have both the opportunity and the duty to create an agenda for common, united action.
Any particular initiative that you are particularly proud of, in terms of achieved results ?
Since 2012, Hilton team members have completed nearly 15,000 projects worldwide, and contributed more than 804,620 hours of community service. In India, during our community service week in July this year, nearly 1000 team members from all our managed properties in India volunteered over 3800 hours of their time for community service.
What are your plans for the future in driving change in the hospitality sector ?
In this Golden Age of Travel, Hilton is globally taking a leadership role to ensure that the destinations where travellers work, relax, learn and explore are vibrant and resilient for generations of adventurers yet to come.
Hilton is committed to cut its environmental footprint in half and double its social impact investment by 2030. With this commitment, Hilton will become the first major hotel company to institute science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions and send zero soap to landfill.
New consumer research reaffirms our corporate responsibility strategy. According to a survey of 72,000 Hilton guests across the world, social, environmental and ethical considerations are central to their buying preferences, especially those younger than 25 years old.