A LETTER FROM THE CEO
Dear Fellow Stakeholders…
As we release our 2019 EarthView Sustainability Report, we reflect on the current global crises in the form of the coronavirus pandemic, social injustice, and the associated economic instability. The impact of these challenges affects our associates, businesses, and communities around the world and has put a spotlight on how companies are managing the social component of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. It is with this conviction that we launched our Rest Assured™ program earlier this month, which prioritizes the health, safety, and well-being of our guests, associates, and communities.
We created our award-winning sustainability platform, EarthView, in 2010 to reflect our commitment to our many stakeholders – our investors, guests, associates, communities, and planet. Having completed its ninth year, we are proud of the innovation and leadership that EarthView fosters for our company and the positive impact we’ve been able to demonstrate for our communities and environment. Efficiencies created by our program have also led to higher margins, stronger NOI, and increased long- term valuations.
In 2019 we received broad recognition for our ESG leadership. We earned the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) assessment’s “Green Star” recognition and ranked in the top 15% of all GRESB participants for the fifth year in a row. We were also named one of America’s Most Responsible Companies by Newsweek magazine, ranking 279 in Newsweek’s 2020 list of America’s 300 Most Responsible Companies based on ESG practices.
In this report, we announce for the first time, our 2030 environmental targets. These targets are coupled with more comprehensive disclosure of our risk oversight processes and resiliency strategy, in accordance with internationally-recognized frameworks created by the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task-force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Over the past year, we also met one of our key community stewardship goals. Through our EarthView Water program and ongoing partnership with Waterboys.org, we completed the creation of a Hersha Well in Tanzania. This well brings life-sustaining water to a community of 8,000 people. Since the creation of EarthView Water in 2014, we have been able to meet our goal of providing accessible, clean water to over 25,000 people in need.
As we look ahead to the new decade with resolve and foresight, we remain dedicated to our ESG strategy. For the goals we have met, we will develop new targets – to create value and improve the lives of even more members of our global community. I’m proud of EarthView’s leadership role in our industry and look forward to sharing how we utilize our unique platform to influence and create a more sustainable, just, connected, and resilient world.
Jay H. Shah
Chief Executive Officer
Hersha Hotels and Resorts