The chain will make an initial investment of $1m into its African estate of 41 hotels, the company announced on Wednesday (3 October). The funding will be divided equally across initiatives which support the five pillars of Hilton’s sustainability strategy, namely youth opportunity, water stewardship, local sourcing, protecting wildlife and tackling human trafficking.

The funding allocated for tackling human trafficking will be used to train staff to spot the signs of modern slavery, facilitate staff audits and help Hilton partner with NGOs to erase human rights breaches in its supply chains.

Meanwhile, the water stewardship portion of the investment will enable Hilton to expand its existing water catchment partnerships and forge new collaborative efforts in a bid to activate 20 context-based water conservation projects in water-stressed communities by 2030. The funding comes as Hilton strives to halve its global water consumption by 2030.

“Hilton is committed to creating a positive social and environmental impact in every community where we operate,” Hilton’s president and chief executive Chris Nassetta said. “Africa is an incredibly diverse continent, with equally diverse challenges and opportunities — and as we continue to grow in the region, we are focused on doing so in a way that promotes sustainable travel and tourism.”

Nassetta’s sentiments were echoed by Hilton’s global development president Leila Ndiaye, who said the investment would send a “strong signal” to other “environmentally-conscious” investors across Africa.

Hilton is set to more than double the number of African hotels it operates within the next five years, with 53 developments in the pipeline across Botswana, Ghana, Swaziland, Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda.

Travel with Purpose

The funding announcement follows the launch of Hilton’s new Travel with Purpose sustainability strategy, which includes a headline pledge of halving the hotelier’s environmental impacts across emissions, waste output and water use by 2030.

Launched in May, the strategy also includes 2030 targets for doubling social impact investment and sending no soap to landfill.

Under the strategy, which is mapped against the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Hilton became the first global hotelier to set a science-based emissions-reduction target through the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

Sarah George

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