Dear Fellow Stakeholders…
As the hospitality industry continued to recover from the global pandemic, our EarthView Sustainable Hospitality program has proven crucial to the fulfillment of Hersha’s core values and mission. The unpredictable fluctuation in regulations, the rise of new variants, and shifting cultural practices have required us to stay nimble in mitigating the impacts on our business, our associates, and our communities. The rising risks and effects of global climate change and the depletion of the earth’s irreplaceable natural resources underscore the importance of our corporate responsibility and industry-leading environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices.
In 2021, our company continued to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both business and leisure travel. Achieving solid profitability and generating free cash flow as the industry drives forward from the worst crisis in its history is a testament to the quality of our hotels, the effectiveness of our cluster operating strategy, and the diversity of our portfolio. Sustainability has been a core tenet of our business since 2010, and through our EarthView Sustainable Hospitality platform, we have implemented a broad range of best-in-class, holistic ESG measures across the portfolio.
I’m proud of the work our team has done to continue to push the envelope. In 2021, we further integrated ESG performance into our governance structure through the addition of a board-level Risk & ESG Subcommittee and tied executive remuneration to specific ESG performance metrics. We joined the fight for a zero-emissions future by setting Science-Based Targets in line with a 1.5°C future and committing to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
We continue to embody our core value of Hearts That Serve by giving back to disadvantaged communities. We completed funding for a second Hersha-sponsored well in Tanzania with the Waterboys organization and continue to provide access to clean drinking water for 32,200+ people in need around the world. We also worked to give back to our local communities, supporting the development of urban green spaces, including a new schoolyard at the Add B. Anderson School in Philadelphia.
In 2021, we were recognized for our corporate responsibility and ESG leadership by multiple organizations, ranking as one of America’s Most Responsible Companies by Newsweek for the third year in a row, #1 in Public Disclosure by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for the hotel peer set, and one of NYC’s Best Places to Work by Crain’s New York.
Our EarthView program is vital to the thriving future of our triple-bottom-line. As we strive to meet our increasingly ambitious ESG targets, we are energized to lead sustainable change for our stakeholders, associates, and communities in the post-pandemic era.
Thank you for taking the time to review our report.
Jay H. Shah
Chief Executive Officer
Hersha Hotels and Resorts