Hersha Hospitality Leveraging its Scale for Social Good

Bennett Thomas, senior vice president for finance and sustainability at Hersha Hospitality Trust (NYSE: HT), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s ESG Forum 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Thomas outlined Hersha’s long-standing commitment to environmental and community stewardship— “it’s part of our DNA.”

Hersha’s Earthview sustainability platform has shown “outstanding” results, Thomas said. Those results include a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per occupied room, a 10 percent reduction in water usage, and a 45 percent reduction in waste sent to landfills.

On the financial side, these conservation measures have enabled Hersha to improve margins in markets with rising variable expenses and increases in real estate taxes. In addition, these investments have attractive two- to four-year payback periods, Thomas said.

Overall, Earthview has created $65 million of portfolio value for Hersha, according to Thomas.

“Earthview has really become a flywheel—our environmental, social, and financial actions have created a powerful feedback loop that has compounding results year after year for the company,” he said.

Meanwhile, Thomas discussed Earthview’s other accomplishments, including the sale of 200,000 bottles of Earthview water, and an ongoing partnership with Clean the World to send sanitized soap to high-risk areas of the world.

“We’re trying to leverage our scale for social good. It’s having a positive impact for those in need, but it’s also having a positive impact on our guests who love it, on our team members who love it, and our shareholders,” Thomas said.