An international survey is encouraging the Hilton hotel chain to move forward on initiatives to ensure its properties conduct business with environmental and social ethics in mind.

Out of more than 70,000 surveyed guests who stayed at accommodations under the Hilton banner, 62 percent of them declared they would move their business to a competitor if they thought Hilton was unethical in its practices, even if that decision would prove to be more expensive. Roughly 56 percent of participants indicated they'd prefer fair trade, local, organic products that were preferably not tested on animals.


Interestingly, two-thirds of the results indicated that Hilton guests aren't one to check the backgrounds of hotels regarding their environmental and social standards. However, of the 20 percent who declared they did, more than half of respondents in that subcategory reported they sought out that type of information if it was easy to access.

“The truth is we did this survey to support our underlying beliefs,” said Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta. “I spend a lot of time with customers of all sorts — leisure and business travelers, group customers — and certainly, every one of those conversations suggests that, increasingly, this is a part of the filtration system that customers have when they decide who they want to stay with.”

The results were encouraging to Hilton, which plans to cut in half its environment footprint in the next 12 years, including carbon emission reduction by 61 percent and water usage cuts by 50 percent. Additional initiatives include overall energy reductions, cutting down on the use of of plastic straws and water bottles, using more recycled soap and outsourcing for meat, produce, seafood and cotton on a sustainable basis to cut down on waste.

By 2030, Hilton hopes to cut its environmental footprint by half and double its social impact. Some of the ways in which the company hopes to be more sustainable include reducing carbon emissions by 61 percent; reducing water usage by 50 percent; reducing energy usage, the use of plastic straws and water bottles; recycling soap; and sustainably sourcing meat, produce, seafood, and cotton.

The drive for a more socially and environmentally-friendly hotel chain is hardly a new idea for Hilton. In 2008, the company introduced steps for more sustainability and have since cut down on its carbon emissions and overall waste by up to 30 percent. Water use was also down by 20 percent. Hilton claims it saved more than a billion dollars from those measures taken in the last 10 years.

The company added that savings incurred by these initiatives will be reinvested into the hotel chain to improve its service.