“As we continue to execute on our mission and vision, sustainability supports our three strategic principles: high-quality hotels in urban and destination resort locations, innovative asset management, and conservative capital structure. Through our sustainability objectives and initiatives, we aim to increase shareholder returns by implementing programs designed to reduce utility consumption and increase profitability in our portfolio of hotels”.
Mark W. Brugger
Chief Executive Officer, DiamondRock Hospitality Company
Our fourth sustainability report highlights our approach and progress for material sustainability issues as a real estate investment trust (REIT) with a portfolio of full-service hotel properties in the United States located in key gateway cities and destination resort locations. To assist readers, we have included a GRI Content Index and provided performance tables with key environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics.
Strategy, Engagement and Governance
DiamondRock remains conscious of the investment community’s increasing attention to ESG reporting; we are committed to enhancing the value of our sustainability platform through open and transparent communications with our stakeholders.
Our sustainability objectives are designed to support our Company’s vision and strategic principles through measures to:
- Reduce energy and water consumption,
- Increase profitability at our hotels,
- Proactively manage environmental risks, and
- Make positive contributions to communities.
As a lodging REIT, success requires collaborating with key stakeholders (stockholders, employees, management companies, brand companies, suppliers, partners, communities, and industry associations) and working with our management companies to identify opportunities that help us achieve our sustainability objectives.
Our corporate governance guidelines define our Board of Directors’ structure, objectives, procedures, qualification, and compensation. Our Board of Directors’ committees are reviewed annually by our Board, and are modified as appropriate to ensure that they comply with current regulations in addition to aligning properly with the needs of our organization and stakeholders. For more information, we invite you to review our Corporate Governance page.
To support our sustainability objectives, our Executive Officers actively engage with our Asset Management, Investment and Design, Development, and Construction teams to review operating performance at hotels and evaluate capital expenditures opportunities.
Sustainability Investments and Portfolio Management
Across our portfolio, we continue to make strategic investments in sustainability and emissions reduction projects. We also engage in preventive maintenance and invest in enhancements to roofs, façades, and structural property elements to protect against weather-related risks.
Additionally, we monitor energy consumption and consider other environmental risks specific to the locations and regions where our hotels are located.
In addition to the sustainability investments we make, we take a strategic approach to portfolio management by continuing to conduct our annual portfolio-wide water risk assessments using the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct tool and Ecolab Water Risk Monetizer. We plan to continue monitoring potential changes in the cost and availability of water in key markets, such as California, and leveraging the water risk assessments to inform future decision making on capital expenditures for water efficiency projects.
In 2016, we continued to support the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking study and encouraged the companies that manage our owned hotels to participate. We will be using the results to engage with our management companies on performance and to help support the industry initiative to develop common hotel benchmarks for energy, greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumption.
At our corporate headquarters, we strive to give back and support local charities in addition to national charities that promote education, environmental conservation, and public health. In 2016, DiamondRock contributed $65,000 in charitable donations through its corporate giving program that was started in 2007. In 2016, we supported 14 organizations, including Bethesda Cares, Achievement Trust, Marriott Foundation, Potomac Community Resources, Service Source Foundation, The Lab School of Washington, Suburban Hospital, N Street Support, N Street Gala, Futures in Education, Children’s Hospital Foundation, Junior Achievement, Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and Shatterproof. These organizations help to support United Nations Sustainable Development Goals targeting poverty, health, and education.
DiamondRock has a long-standing partnership with Bethesda Cares, Inc., a local non-governmental organization located in Bethesda, Maryland that offers creative responses to problems related to homelessness and poverty in the Washington, DC Metro area.
In addition to DiamondRock’s corporate giving programs, each of our owned hotels’ brands, including Marriott®, Starwood® and Hilton®, and our management companies are engaged in targeted community development and engagement programs to support the communities where our hotels are located.
We believe prioritizing employee well-being is a key element for attracting and retaining the best and talented associates. In our corporate office, DiamondRock employs 26 full time employees. We provide all employees with 100% coverage of the premium for health care and dental insurance, group term life insurance, and short and long term disability insurance. Employees also receive a mid-year and annual performance review at year-end to aid in their professional development.
In 2016, we updated our parental leave policy in the employee handbook, giving parents up to eight weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of their children. We also increased the amount of annual financial assistance, now up to $10,000, that is available to all employees who wish to further their education.
We also encourage our employees to engage with the local community, such as volunteering their time to prep and serve meals to the homeless at the Bethesda Cares’ Lunchtime Workers program on a monthly basis, which is located near our corporate office in Bethesda, Maryland.
To further increase employee engagement, DiamondRock has launched an employee-led committee that plans company-wide social and community activities, including a yearly community involvement event, in which all employees contribute to a community project.
GRI Index, ESG Performance Data and Downloads