USGBC, Marriott, Enterprise Honored for Work to Green Travel Industry

USGBC, Marriott, Enterprise Honored for Work to Green Travel Industry

Travel + Leisure magazine named the U.S. Green Building Council, Marriott International and Enterprise Rent-A-Car among its winners of the 2008 Global Vision Award, honoring the three for their work to make the travel and tourism industry more Earth-friendly.

In all, the magazine honored eight businesses and organizations in Global Vision award categories ranging from community outreach and cultural preservation to economic development and ecological conservation. The awards recognize groups and companies that set higher performance, social responsibility and environmental standards for the travel and tourism industries.

The USGBC received the Global Vision Award for Innovation. In its article about the awards, the magazine lauded the USGBC by saying the nonprofit organization has "pushed the hotel industry to think seriously about sustainability" ever since the establishment of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards in 2000.

"With the hospitality industry lacking any sort of third-party green-certification guidelines, LEED was quickly embraced by hoteliers eager for guidance," the magazine said, "LEED has become the de facto industry standard: More than 400 hotels, from remote resorts to suburban conference centers and luxury city hotels, have adopted the USGBC's building requirements and registered for certification."

Enterprise-Rent-A-Car received the Global Vision Green Travel Company Award for anticipating "the seismic shift in consumer car preferences" by making key changes in its fleet as early as 2006, said Travel + Leisure magazine, which praised Andrew Taylor, the CEO of the family-owned company, for his foresight.

Today, 440,000 cars of Enterprise's 1.1 million-vehicle fleet average at least 28 mpg. The fuel-efficient fleet includes 73,000 flex-fuel vehicles, which run on both gas and an ethanol blend, and 5,000 hybrids.

Other Enterprise environmental efforts include the greening of rental offices to increase energy efficiency and a $50 million tree planting program that spans the next 50 years, the magazine said. The Taylor family has also made substantial commitments to alternative energy. The family has donated $25 million last year to create the Institute of Renewable Fuels at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.

Travel + Leisure magazine named Marriott International as the Green/Eco Hotel recipient of the Global Vision Award. Marriott teamed up with Conservation International to set green goals that include reducing fuel and water consumption by 25 percent during the next 10 years, installing solar panels at 40 hotels by 2017 and encouraging the adoption of LEED's upgraded green standards in 2009, the magazine said.  Marriott, the largest hotel company in the world and the overseer of a $10 billion supply chain, is doing its bit to buy green and push for development of eco-friendly products, the publication said. The efforts include the purchase of 1 million gallons of low-VOC paint.

Travel + Leisure also praised the hotel firm for providing $2 million toward the protection of the Juma Sustainable Development Reserve, a 1.4 million-acre rain forest in Amazonas, Brazil. The move also enables Marriott to help offset its carbon emissions.