Around the World
By : | May 30, 2013

Around the world, luxury brands are effectively embedding global responsibility into their business strategy to ensure what they do is influenced by both goals and values. At the same time, many are also recognizing there is more to creating social and environmental impact than just financial donations. While philanthropy is of enormous value, collaborative relationships with non-profit and non-governmental organizations can lead to more effective social missions and create bigger positive impact for all parties concerned.

At The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, our multi-faceted Community Footprints social responsibility and sustainability framework is integrated into our business strategy. It’s deployed through all corporate departments and cascaded to all hotels worldwide under three defined pillars: Well-being of Children; Hunger and Poverty Relief; and Environmental Responsibility. Community Footprints leverages a commitment to service excellence and extends it into the local communities in which we do business.


Herve Humler, President and COO, Ritz-Carlton, Mentoring Succeed Through Service Students

One such example is our Succeed Through Service program. Succeed through Service benefits disadvantaged students who don’t have access to positive role models, cannot envision a career, and don’t feel connected to their communities. Developed in 2009 in collaboration with America’s Promise Alliance, the program is now active at all Ritz-Carlton hotels globally. Pairing Ritz-Carlton employees with at-risk students, the curriculum teaches critical life and career skills and broadens young student’s knowledge of the world.


Succeed Through Service Student groups, Muscat, Oman

Today, Succeed Through Service is in over 90 schools and children’s organizations around the globe. By harnessing the skills, knowledge and experience of our employees to inspire and engage at-risk youth, we support America’s Promise Alliance in their mission to see young students flourish and remain in school.


Succeed Through Service Student groups, Key Biscayne

To broaden the reach of Succeed Through Service and scale the impact, in September 2013, the curriculum will be available on a non-proprietary “Open Source” basis to other companies, educators and non-profit organizations – an action designed to be a catalyst to inspire others to get involved in helping at-risk youth in their community.


SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 22: Executive Chef at the Ritz Carlton Nathan Beriau and Executive Chef at Parallel 37 Michael Rotondo attend the WHOLE WORLD Water launch event at Parallel 37 at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco on March 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for WHOLE WORLD Water)

WHOLE WORLD Water Launch Event At Parallel 37 At The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

Another collaboration we are proud of is with WHOLE WORLD Water. Through their model, hotels, restaurants and spas filter water at source, bottle it in reusable glass bottles and sell it to their guests. Ten percent of the proceeds are donated to The WHOLE WORLD Water Fund; a fund benefiting clean and safe water projects across the globe. We have joined the initiative and are currently piloting it in the US at a cross section of city and resort hotels. WHOLE WORLD Water has the compelling mission to unite our industry, create scalable impact, and make environmental, social and economic progress in communities around the world.


WHOLE WORLD Water Booklet and Coasters

Luxury consumers increasingly seek authentic emotional connections and want to give back. So luxury brands must continue to explore ways to enable consumers to directly make a meaningful difference. As an example, through our Give Back Getaways program ( we joined forces with our Community Footprints partners around the world to create half-day voluntourism experiences designed to in inspire our guests through education, awareness, and community engagement. Our Ritz-Carlton Community Footprints program is only one example of many in the industry. The good news is, these are dynamic times in the luxury arena, with consumers and employees responding positively as businesses continue to align with the values of civic and global responsibility.

Sue Stephenson, a hotel executive with twenty-five years experience in the hospitality industry, relocated from England to the United States in 1991 to join The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC. The company, which is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, currently has eighty-two properties across the United States, Caribbean, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. From 2001 to 2006, Sue was the Senior Vice President, Human Resources. In this role, she worked closely with the President & Chief Operating Officer and members of the Corporate Executive Committee as the company undertook a global expansion. Sue provided leadership and strategic direction to a human resources organization that is committed to the delivery of service excellence through innovative and sustainable human resources approaches. In 2006, Sue assumed the leadership of The Ritz-Carlton social responsibility program, Community Footprints®. Reporting to the President & Chief Operations Officer, Hervé Humler, Sue is charged with expanding the company's global efforts through a series of multi-faceted initiatives focused on child well-being, hunger and poverty relief, and environmental responsibility. In 2008, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company launched Give Back Getaways®, the hotel industry's first global voluntourism program for leisure guests, followed by VolunTeaming® for group guests. These award-winning programs enable guests to collaborate in enriching volunteer experiences that contribute in a meaningful way to the local community. Sue spearheaded the development and launch of Succeed Through Service®, a program designed to engage and inspire at-risk students in underserved communities. The curriculum takes Ritz-Carlton employees into the classrooms to teach valuable life and career skills and civic responsibility. Recognized by the White House for the contributions the program is making, Succeed Through Service has already impacted the lives of over 12,000 children around the world. Contact Information: Sue Stephenson Vice President, Community Footprints The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC Direct: (301) 380-1882 e-mail: Twitter ID: