The sustainability bug struck the Hilton chain in 2009, a year after the financial meltdown gripped the world, when Hilton Worldwide CEO Chris Nassetta laid down the rules of the game for a massive go-green exercise that also keeps tabs on the costs. It has turned out to be quite a drive across 3,900-plus Hilton’s owned, managed and franchised properties in 91 countries.

The programme, currently spearheaded by Vice President Christopher Corpuel, is called LightStay. By 2014, it aims to reduce energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and waste output by 20%, as well as bring down water consumption by 10%, from direct operations within the company’s properties. In 2010 alone, the company saved more than $74 million in utility costs through a 6.6% reduction of energy use; 7.8% reduction of carbon output; 19% reduction of waste output; and 3.8% reduction of water use. “We have developed the programme internally over many years, leveraging decades of learning,” says Corpuel in an email exchange exclusively to CD.