Hersha Releases 2019 Sustainability Report

Hersha Hospitality Trust released its 2019 Hersha EarthView Sustainability Report last week to highlight the company’s progress towards the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UN General Assembly adopted the SDG campaign in September 2015 with the goal of ending poverty, fighting inequality and mitigating climate change by 2030. Like Hersha, Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) has locally undertaken the SDG campaign by partnering with organizations across the city to create public art displays that raise awareness for each goal. Most recently, GPA unveiled a display commemorating SDG 5: Gender Equality at Friends Select School Plaza last September and is currently working on a display for SDG 4: Quality Education.

Hersha has prioritized seven SDGs that closely align with its business mission, four of which aim to curb climate change by 2030.

First, Hersha has reduced its greenhouse gas emission by 44% per square foot since 2010 in accordance with SDG 13: Climate Action, which challenges organizations to reduce emissions and implement renewable energy strategies. As of now, Hersha hopes to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% per square foot by 2030. Hersha is currently working with the Science Based Targets initiative to ensure its 60% reduction goal aligns with international efforts to prevent global temperatures from rising 2C above pre-industrial levels.

Second, Hersha has reduced its energy consumption levels by 15% per square foot since 2010 in accordance with SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, which advocates for improvements in energy efficiency and universal access to sustainable energy. By 2030, Hersha hopes to reduce its energy consumption levels by 35% per square foot.

Third, Hersha has reduced its water usage by 5% per square foot since 2010 in accordance with SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, which promotes sustainable access to water and sanitation. Hersha plans to reduce its water usage by 30% per square foot by 2030.

Fourth, Hersha diverted 30% of its yearly waste in 2019 to recycling, composting, energy production and incineration in accordance with SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Hersha plans to increase its waste diversion level to 50% by 2030. Additionally, the City of Philadelphia has recognized Hersha’s Rittenhouse hotel as a Zero Waste Partner for its work in diverting waste from landfills, such as by composting food waste and donating unserved food to shelters.

Hersha plans to continue making progress towards these four SDGs in 2020, such as by finishing the installation of LED lights in all of its buildings, switching to paper straws and wooden stirrers and improving the efficiency of its water fixtures and washers.

Hersha has also pursued the SDGs as a way to focus on social goals like promoting the health of its guests, helping its communities and creating a positive local and global impact. First, Hersha has undertaken SDG 4: Quality Education by supporting its partners in providing access to educational opportunities. Second, Hersha has forged public-private community partnerships in working towards SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals. Third, Hersha has prioritized creating an open and inclusive environment in accordance with SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing, such as by demonstrating appreciation for its associates, providing professional development opportunities and embracing the health and wellness of its guests. Fourth, Hersha has undertaken the social aspects of SDG 6 by safely and affordably providing its guests with sanitation/hygiene products and water.

To learn more about Hersha’s efforts towards the SDGs, environmental sustainability and social impact, view the full 2019 Hersha EarthView Sustainability report here.

Article written by Amelia Winger on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association.