Dear Fellow Stakeholders…
We look back on 2020 with thoughtful reflection on the challenges we faced and the learnings we gleaned from them during a most extraordinary year. As the global health crisis affected every aspect of our lives, so too did economic instability, social inequity, and political unrest. These challenges dramatically impacted our business, our associates, and our communities and brought the importance of our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, through our EarthView® sustainability program, to the forefront.
On EarthView’s 10-year anniversary, we are proud of the innovation and leadership that the program fosters at our company and the positive impact we have had on our communities and environment. EarthView remained very active in 2020 as we applied our capabilities to preserving liquidity to navigate the crisis. We implemented additional energy conservation and efficiency measures that created near-term savings and will result in margin improvement well into the recovery and beyond.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the United States last spring, we leaned on EarthView to develop and implement, Rest Assured™, our proprietary health and safety program comprised of science-based cleaning and sanitizing protocols, service delivery modifications, physical distancing best practices, and enhanced communication and education to our guests and associates. Through advanced safety training and rapid mobilization of the Rest Assured program, our hotel teams played a critical role in supporting first responders and essential personnel in addressing the health crisis.
Earlier this year, I signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge, joining other CEOs across all industries, and furthering our commitment to these essential principles in the workplace and boardroom. By establishing programs and trainings that support our diverse community of employees, we hope to inspire others in the spirit of sharing and learning from each other.
In our previous annual report, we announced our 2030 environmental targets. Although the pandemic brought many challenges to our business, we remain committed to our goals and have made significant progress towards our target of a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per square foot by 2030 versus our 2010 baseline, and carbon-neutrality by 2050.
These efforts were broadly recognized in the sustainability community last year. We ranked first among U.S. lodging peers in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark’s (GRESB) Public Disclosure. Across all industries, we ranked 234 in Newsweek’s 2021 list of America’s Most Responsible Companies based on ESG practices.
I am proud of the leadership position Hersha has taken in sustainability and of EarthView’s versatility and support through the pandemic. I am optimistic that through the recovery, our industry will build back better. As we release our 2020 EarthView Annual Report, I encourage you to see how our collaborative efforts will secure a more sustainable, just, connected and resilient world.
Thank you for taking the time to review our report.
Jay H. Shah
Chief Executive Officer
Hersha Hotels and Resorts