30-day Challenge – Day 7
Today, I am both glad and proud to write about a company, with which I have done business: both as a pre-MBA professional and as a consumer. I have to say that I wasn’t surprised when I came across this article announcing Hilton Worldwide’s initiative to give people around the world better access to the hygiene that can help prevent fatal illnesses such as diarrheal diseases and pneumonia.
In partnership with the Global Soap Project, Hilton Worldwide is leading the charge to help develop a cost-free way for hotels around the world to recycle left-over bars of soap, which are provided to guests during their stays. In the first year of this partnership, Hilton Worldwide expects this investment to result in the donation of more than one million new 4-ounce bars of soap to people in need. Learn how it works here.
The Global Soap Project, a nonprofit organization that recovers and recycles soap from hotels that would otherwise end up in landfills. The Global Soap Project sorts, reprocesses and remolds used soap into new bars and distributes them to vulnerable populations in developing countries who are at risk of sanitation and hygiene-related disease.
Already in partnership with over 300 properties ranging from small, independently owned boutique hotels to large resorts and casinos, the Global Soap Project estimates that 2.6 million soap bars are thrown out each day by the U.S. hotel industry. Hilton Worldwide’s efforts represent a growing industry concern with sustainability. With its experience in developing a global supply chain for more than 3750 properties, the hospitality chain’s expertise will go a great way to develop a social enterprise model and system to help source, process, and recycle the huge amount of soap wasted by the global hospitality industry.
“When living as a refugee in Kenya, I realized soap was hard to come by, even completely nonexistent sometimes. Even when available, those living on less than a dollar a day had to choose between buying food or soap. People were suffering from illness simply because they couldn’t wash their hands,” said Derreck Kayongo, founder The Global Soap Project and a 2011 CNN Hero honoree. “The Global Soap Project is thrilled to work with Hilton Worldwide to co-create a global, scalable model that will empower hotel properties to support vulnerable populations.”
Hilton Worldwide is not just making a strategic move that puts its 10 brands in the hearts and minds of its stakeholder community. It is also backing up its support with an investment of $1.3 million over the next three years.
Hand washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for more than 3.5 million child deaths each year. In contrast to North America, where more than two million partially used bars of soap are discarded at hotels every day, a lack of soap can be a barrier to hand washing at schools, community health clinics and refugee camps in developing countries, which rarely have soap or appropriate hand washing facilities.
In 2010, Hilton Worldwide became the first major multi-brand hospitality company to make sustainability measurement a brand standard with its LightStay program. Information on the company’s website shows that it recently “earned ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications for quality and environmental management – one of the largest volume certifications awarded for commercial buildings”.
This partnership with the Global Soap Project is in lockstep with the company’s values, which as we can tell, includes efforts to support healthy and vibrant communities. You can read the separate press releases from Hilton Worldwide and the Global Soap Project here:
Disclaimer: I’m not paid by Hilton Worldwide, the Global Soap Project, or any of their affiliates for this endorsement. Some block quotes and links were taken from the Hilton Worldwide, Global Soap Project, and Huffington Post websites.