Human Rights: Accor, Worldwide
Hotel companies haven’t exactly been eager to address the uncomfortable issue of child sex tourism. But Accor—owner of Novotel and Sofitel, among other brands—has admirably worked with the NGO ECPAT International to build an awareness of this disquieting reality into its business practices, training 13,000 staff worldwide last year and helping to create a manual on the subject that it has distributed to its tourism partners. In particularly afflicted countries such as Morocco and Thailand, the France-based hospitality giant has seized the initiative on an issue that is too often swept under the carpet.
Take the Trip: More than two dozen Accor hotels in Bangkok have ECPAT-trained employees. Look for the summer 2011 opening of the luxurious 345-room Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit (800/445-8667; sofitel.com). For more, see accorhotels.com.
Corporate Greening: Hilton, Worldwide
Plenty of big hotel chains claim they’re going green, but can they prove it? Hilton became the first major multi-brand hospitality company to make sustainability measurement a brand standard when it launched its LightStay program last April. Hilton now measures water, waste, and carbon output at more than 1,500 of its properties; by the end of 2011, the company plans to have its entire global portfolio under the same microscope. It’s not just about monitoring, however: Hilton’s studies show that when a hotel pays attention to its numbers, management reduces the hotel’s carbon footprint—by an average of 6 percent. And that is the ultimate goal.
Take the Trip: The 1,980-room Hilton New York generates much of its electric power and hot water from a PureCell power system, the only one of its kind in a New York City hotel (doubles from $429).
Philanthropic Travel: Abercrombie & Kent, Worldwide
As one of the world’s most respected tour operators, Abercrombie & Kent has been a leading promoter of a simple but extremely important idea: sophisticated travelers giving back. For nearly three decades, the company’s charitable efforts (supporting everything from black rhino conservation in Kenya to building wells in Cambodia) have expanded alongside its commercial operations. A&K now contributes to 50 conservation, health, and education causes around the globe, and last year alone donations from its philanthropic arm and clients reached a combined total of $1 million. The message? Big-time generosity isn’t bad for business.