Talking sustainability: Gary Steffen, Canopy by Hilton

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Ahead of Earth Day on April 22nd, Canopy by Hilton global head Gary Steffen talks to BHN about what the brand is doing to promote sustainable stays.

• What are the main pillars of Canopy's sustainability policy?
"Since the launch of Canopy by Hilton in October 2014, the brand's commitment to sustainability and the environment has been part of our DNA. The Canopy by Hilton brand was created following years of research and surveying more than 9,000 travellers to fill a void in the lifestyle space. We listened to travellers' wants - including finding ways to incorporate sustainability through our filtered water stations and delivering 'Break Fast' options in recycled brown bags. Additionally, all guests have access to our fleet of Canopy bikes and curated jogging routes as an alternate to using a car to get around, thus reducing the property's ecological footprint."
 
"A big part of what makes us Canopy by Hilton is finding like-minded partners to share our vision. Partners such as TradeCraft, who provide our locally sourced coffee and tea; Planet Dog, our Paws in the Neighborhood partner and a member of the pet sustainability coalition that enhance dogs lives; Apivita, the sustainable Greek bath amenities business; and Serta, the makers of mattresses crafted from post-industrial recycled steel and wood all align with our fresh approach to our lifestyle hotel offerings making a clear difference."
 
• And what is the wider Hilton group implementing in terms of sustainability?
"Our Hilton initiatives are also major contributors to Canopy by Hilton's sustainability efforts. One example is Lightstay, Hilton's proprietary corporate responsibility performance measurement platform which has been recognised for its innovative approach to reducing environmental impact. Another example is Hilton's Clean the World soap recycling initiative that has already collected more than one million pounds of partially-used soap, which have been recycled into more than four million new bars of soap. Both initiatives are major aspects of our environmentally responsible practices."
 
• Have you noticed more demand from guests for sustainable initiatives and if so is the demand coming from across the board or a specific demographic?
"The lifestyle guest expects a level of thoughtfulness in choosing a hotel and Canopy by Hilton's core ethos has followed a thoughtful approach in creating the identity of the brand, including sustainability. Given the research behind Canopy by Hilton's launch, we knew there was a demand within the lifestyle consumer to integrate sustainability into their hotel stay experience. Our continued focus on eco-friendly efforts and providing the best possible in-room experience has had proven success in building brand loyalty. While we target a guest mindset, a traveller who appreciates surprising extras, more added value and local know-how, and someone who has an appreciation for eco-friendly offerings, we see this demand from travellers across the board."
 
• How do you think the Canopy brand specifically and hotels in general will improve their environmental performance and sustainability over the next few years?
"With three Canopy by Hilton hotels currently open and over 30 properties in the pipeline, we are excited to share Canopy by Hilton's focus on the environment with our guests in new neighbourhoods now and in years to come. Specifically for Canopy by Hilton, we will continue to work with our hotels on sourcing local food and drink, local partners for our welcome gift and retail wall, and our Neighbor to Neighbor community initiatives as part of Hilton's Travel with Purpose, to name a few."
 
"It is clear through our guests' feedback that by addressing global issues on a local level, we create value and build loyalty to the brand and I think sustainability will continue to be a top priority across the hotel industry even more so than it is today."

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