With operations in more than 230 countries and territories worldwide, our teams work around the clock to build and improve the technology that empowers people to more freely travel across borders, time zones, languages and cultures. We fundamentally believe that travel can bring out the best in humanity, which is why we continue to invest in our brands and our people to grow our business so that our technology can reach more people across the globe.
While I am incredibly proud of the global business we have built, I am continually reminded of an often-cited line by Sir Winston Churchill: “The price of greatness is responsibility.” As a global Fortune 500 company, we have a responsibility not just to our customers, our employees and our shareholders, but to the world that we are working so hard to help people experience every day. We believe that the management of a company’s environmental and social impacts is not only the right thing to do, but also a key part of this responsibility.
In 2018, we committed more resources than ever to varying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts including initiatives to promote sustainable tourism, improve global business and tech industry diversity, reduce environmental footprints and create and improve healthier workplaces for our more than 24,000 employees across more than 300 office locations around the world. Some highlights include the second annual Booking Booster program, pioneered by our largest global brand Booking.com. Through this program, 10 start-ups dedicated to sustainable tourism received grants totaling €2 million. Booking Cares, Booking.com’s flagship volunteer program that encompasses Booking Booster, amassed more than 30,979 hours of local community service across 447 projects in 2018.
GLENN D. FOGEL
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER & PRESIDENT
Our brands also continue to lead efforts promoting increased awareness of gender parity issues, particularly within the technology sector. Recently OpenTable announced a commitment to 50/50 gender equity globally, and Booking.com launched their inaugural Women in Tech Program, which provides scholarships and mentoring programs to women seeking to further their education and advancement in the technology and STEM sector. Two of our most global brands, Booking.com and Agoda, are comprised of more than 50% women, and with more than 150 nationalities across our 24,000+ employee base worldwide, we believe that our workplaces should reflect our customers and communities because it is both good business and good for the local economies.
These are initiatives I am very proud of, but this is just the beginning. We recognize that there is still more to be done and we are committed to ensuring a more sustainable future so that anyone, anywhere can experience the world for generations to come.
The epicenter of our CSR work is driven by Booking Cares, which supports innovation in the sustainable tourism space. This program is driven by our largest business and most global brand, Booking.com. Through an accelerator program that identifies and empowers sustainable tourism start-ups, a robust global volunteer program and a fund that champions non-profit sustainable travel projects, Booking.com is supporting the long-term health of a variety of locations around the world. The program focuses on five key areas: inclusive growth, tech for impact, the environment, tourism dispersal and cultural heritage.
This report is intended to capture and illustrate the activities taking place across our brands on topics related to: community engagement, environment, employees, ethics and integrity, customer privacy and governance. Together, these efforts create meaningful impact to affect real and lasting change.