“As we continue to execute on our mission and vision, sustainability remains key to support our three strategic principles: high-quality hotels in urban and destination resort locations, innovative asset management, and conservative capital structure. As we are facing this unprecedented time due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue working with our operators to ensure that we do all we can to protect the health, safety, and well-being of guests and employees at our hotels. Through our sustainability objectives and initiatives, we will continue to aim to increase shareholder returns by implementing programs designed to our reduce environmental impacts, support communities where we own hotels, and increase profitability in throughout our portfolio."
- Mark W. Brugger
Chief Executive Officer, DiamondRock Hospitality Company
Our seventh Sustainability Report highlights our approach and progress for material sustainability and social risks and opportunities 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, SASB disclosures, and performance tables with key environmental, social and, governance (“ESG”) metrics.
In 2019, we continued to enhance our ESG program by publishing a Human Rights & Labor Rights Policy and Vendor Code of Conduct and continue to make progress against our company’s ESG goals and objectives.
Strategy, Engagement, and Governance
DiamondRock remains conscious of our stakeholders’, including investors’, 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, DiamondRock employees, hotel employees, 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, Construction, and Legal teams to review operating performance at hotels and evaluate capital expenditures opportunities. Our portfolio-wide Environmental Management System (“EMS”) also outlines our processes and procedure to support continuous improvement and address our most significant environmental aspects. This includes setting performance goals and annual measurements, collecting data on a regular basis, reviewing data and information to monitor against progress, and externally reporting on environmental performance.
DiamondRock’s sustainability program is also guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (“UN SDGs”), a framework to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. This year, we began to further align our specific sustainability objectives with the goals.
UN SDG 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing: Support the health and wellbeing of our corporate employees, hotel employees, and the communities where we live and own hotels through our policy commitments and community engagement initiatives.
UN SDG 4 – Quality Education: Support local communities and educational initiatives, including scholarship opportunities.
UN SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation: Invest in water efficiency measures throughout our portfolio, and conduct waster-related risk assessments to determine properties with located in areas with high-water stress levels.
UN SDG 13 – Climate Action: Set long-term carbon and energy reduction goals, and evaluate opportunities to invest in low-carbon and energy efficiency projects.
Our ESG Policies
DiamondRock’s ESG-related policies also support our Company’s mission and sustainability objectives. Our Environmental Policy outlines our commitment to reduce the impact of our operations, the operations of hotels we own, and the activities of our suppliers on the environment. Through our Environmental Policy we aim to understand and reduce environmental risks, comply with all laws and governmental regulations, identify opportunities to decrease environmental impact, and strive for continuous improvement throughout our portfolio.
Our Human Rights & Labor Policy focuses on conducting our business in a manner consistent with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization’s Fundamental Conventions. This includes our commitment to ensure respect, equality, and inclusiveness of our employees. We also encourage all of our stakeholders, including partners, suppliers, vendors, operators, and brand partners to follow these same standards and policies for human rights, labor rights, and occupational health and safety.
Our Vendor Code of Conduct outlines our expectations and minimum standards for our vendors, and is designed in accordance with the guiding principles outlined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This includes conducting business with integrity, complying with regulations, protecting human rights, providing a safe and healthy working environment, and responsibly managing environmental impacts.
2025 Sustainability Targets and Performance
Two years ago, we announced our portfolio-wide energy, carbon and water targets. These environmental targets aim to reduce energy, carbon and water intensity by 25%, 40%, and 25% respectively by 2025 from our 2011 baseline. (Our 2025 energy and carbon reduction are based on intensity per square foot. Our 2025 water target is based on intensity per occupied room.)
Through these targets, we aim to continuously improve our environmental performance throughout our portfolio of properties. Since 2011, we have reduced energy intensity by 17%, emissions intensity by 32% and water intensity by 22%.
Sustainability Investments and Portfolio Management Strategy
DiamondRock’s EMS guides our portfolio management strategy, as we aim for continuous improvement through an ISO 14001-aligned process of “plan”, “do”, “check”, and “act”. Across our portfolio, we continue to make strategic investments in energy, water, and waste reduction projects. We also engage in preventive maintenance and invest in enhancements to roofs, façades, and structural property elements to protect against climate change-related risks. Additionally, we monitor and report on energy and water consumption and waste generation performance, 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 also take a strategic approach to portfolio management by continuing to conduct a portfolio-wide water risk assessment. In 2020, we conducted our fourth portfolio-wide water risk assessment 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 2019, 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. We also collectively engaged with hotel brands to further align our ESG objectives and goals.
Sustainability at our Hotels
Our hotels continuously strive to improve their environmental performance through the implementation of sustainability practices, installation of equipment to reduce overall impacts and usage of responsible products.
In 2019, we invested over $2 million in energy, water, and waste efficiency projects and energy conservation programs. For example, at the Marriott Alpharetta, water saving fill valves were installed in all guestroom toilets, reducing water usage by 132,000 gallons annually. At the Bethesda Suites Marriott, bulk amenity dispensers were installed in all guestroom showers, reducing single-use plastic waste by 50% annually. To help achieve our 2025 energy and carbon intensity reduction goals, many of our investments were in low carbon opportunities, including renewable energy and investments to reduce energy consumption from non-renewable sources. In 2019, we invested in a solar panel projects at Cavallo Point, the Lodge at the Golden Gate Bridge and at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. Additionally, we invested in LED lighting retrofits designed to reduce energy consumption at Salt Lake City Marriott. At L’Auberge de Sedona, improvements were made to roofing and insulation. The Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta experienced decreased energy consumption due to boiler replacements, smart sensors and smart thermostats in the guestrooms. At the Hotel Emblem San Francisco, investments were made in high efficiency HVAC equipment and window replacements designed to reduce energy consumption. Lastly, at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach, investments were made into building automation systems to reduce energy usage and carbon footprint.
As we work towards increasing energy and water efficiency and decreasing waste to landfills, we will continue engaging with our properties to make strategic investments.
At our corporate headquarters, we strive to give back and support local charities as well as national charities that promote education, environmental conservation, and public health. In 2019, DiamondRock contributed over $185,000 in cash donations and $500,000 in in-kind donations through our corporate giving program that began in 2007.
In 2019, we supported 20 organizations, including: Achievement Trust, AHLA Opening Doors, Marriott Foundation, Service Source Foundation, The Lab School of Washington, N Street Gala, UJA Federation of New York, International Churchill Society, Suburban Hospital Foundation, Trust for the National Mall, Washington Humane Society, Penn State University, and Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome Children’s Foundation. These organizations help to support the UN SDGs targeting poverty, health, and education.
In addition to supporting charities through monetary donations, we also look for opportunities to support communities where our hotels are located. For example, in the U.S. Virgin Islands where our Frenchman’s Reef and Morningstar Marriott Beach Resort has remained closed due to Hurricane Irma, we launched a five-year University of the Virgin Islands hospitality scholarship program, committing a total of $150,000 to the initiative. We also donated $45,000 to renovate Frenchtown’s Joseph Aubain Ballfield on the island.
In addition to DiamondRock’s corporate giving programs, each of our owned hotels’ brands, including Marriott® 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 most talented associates. At our corporate office, DiamondRock employs 31 full time employees. We offer up to $10,000 for financial assistance to all employees who wish to further their education and provide ESG-specific training on environmental and social topics. Employees also receive a mid-year and annual performance review at year-end to aid in their professional development.
Health, Safety, and Wellbeing
DiamondRock provides 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.
We continue to provide all parents up to eight weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of their children.
Employee Satisfaction and Engagement
DiamondRock employees also participate in an employee satisfaction survey. Based on the results from previous surveys, we enhanced our Paid Time Off Policy to provide a better work/life balance. In addition, we eliminated the use of Styrofoam cups in our corporate headquarters, and replaced the cups with a more sustainable option.
To further increase employee engagement, DiamondRock continues to utilize 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.
Our ESG-related policies outline our commitment to operate in a manner that is consistent with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also support the American Hotel & Lodging Associations’ (“AHLA”) 5-Star Promise and our hotel operators in the effort to advance safety and security for employees and guests across our industry. This includes ensuring there are ongoing employee training and education programs to identify and report sexual harassment, effective anti-harassment measures in place, and deploying employee safety devices throughout our hotels. Our owned hotels’ brands, including Marriott® and Hilton® also have human rights policies, procedures, and trainings in place.
GRI Index, ESG Performance Data
Human Rights & Labor Rights Policy
Vendor Code of Conduct
GRESB 2016 Results
GRESB 2017 Results
GRESB 2018 Results
GRESB 2019 Results
GRESB 2020 Results – Real Estate Assessment and Public Disclosure Assessment