Hilton recycles soap to help others in need

January 1, 2012

Who: Jennifer Silberman, vice president of corporate responsibility.

Company: Hilton Worldwide.

Charitable giving highlights: Hilton Worldwide gives about $1 million annually to the Washington region.

Tell me about the company’s philanthropy.

We have four areas of focus that matter most to our business. First is creating opportunities, which focus on training future leaders in hospitality around the world to make hospitality an attractive business for young people. Second is strengthening communities, which is understanding the kinds of needs that make a community successful where our hotels are located, such as entrepreneurship, community development, disaster preparedness. Thirdly, celebrating cultures is where we bridge cultures through what we do everyday in our business, which is travel. Lastly is sustainability. We need natural resources to sustain our business so we think about the impact we have on those resources, such as repurposing waste.

Tell me about the new Global Soap Project partnership.

We need to repurpose soap otherwise it’s going to end up in a landfill. We saw it as a great opportunity to not only minimize waste but also to repurpose it for community needs. Global Soap Project collects our used soap, breaks it down, makes it into new soap and distributes it to communities in need.

How did you get connected with them?

They were looking for a global hospitality partner. We approached them at a great time because we were really looking to get our arms around this issue and how we can be strategic with an organization as opposed to just a sponsorship relationship.

What sealed the deal to choose Global Soap Project as a partner?

It’s a great mission. Sometimes partnerships are really complicated. This one was a really easy concept. Their leadership was really important because they have several members that understand and have worked for global hospitality companies.

— Interview with Vanessa Small

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