Corporate Responsibility Report
Our partners and stakeholders
Through our long-term business partnerships and stakeholder engagement we gain a better understanding of our business context and get to consult widely on sustainability and community issues.
Guests and corporate clients
Our core purpose is to create Great Hotels Guests Love. Feedback from the guests who stay in our hotels is therefore central to our CR strategy. Our investment in consumer insight research confirms that CR is important to the majority of our customers. Our research shows that many US and UK frequent travellers prefer hotels which are meaningfully engaged in CR.
A growing number of our corporate clients are setting themselves sustainability targets and look for our help to achieve them. We provide corporate clients with details of our carbon footprint and environmental sustainable credentials when they choose to do business with us. At the same time we have set ourselves a strategic objective of making every guest's stay at one of our hotels more carbon efficient.
As we update our report regularly, stakeholders can check on our progress throughout the year.
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings organization. Collectively, GBTA’s 5,000-plus members manage over $340 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditure annually. GBTA provides networking events, news, education & professional development, research, and advocacy to its network of 17,000 business and government travel and meetings managers, as well as travel service providers. GBTA is dedicated to putting CR policies into everyday practices to promote sustainable social, environmental and economic benefits and to encourage and educate members on CR. In 2009 the association (then called the NBTA) recognised our commitment to supporting societal needs and reducing our environmental impact in its first annual CSR awards. In 2010 this recognition was followed up by an award from GBTA Australasia. In 2012 we were awarded the GBTA Gold Medal Award for Sustainability.
Owners and franchise holders (The IHG Owners Association)
We own, lease and manage 668 hotels worldwide and have direct control over their CR activities. Although we do not own our franchise hotels we work closely with hotel owners through our owners' association, the IHG Owners Association, to shape and implement our CR strategy.
The IHG Owners Association is very supportive of our environmental management tool, IHG Green Engage and, during 2012, even more franchised hotels signed up to the system. As at 31 December 2012, 2,219 of our hotels were enrolled in IHG Green Engage and we met our target to have 50% of our hotels (based on January 2012 figures) using IHG Green Engage in January 2013. We now have over 2,270 hotels enrolled in the platform. Our priority for 2013 is to continue to work with the IHG Owners Association to further expand the IHG Green Engage programme. We aim to have our entire estate tracking, managing and reporting its environmental impact over time.
Our monthly community involvement survey gives general managers the chance to report on community and environmental activities in their individual hotels. Read more about how we support our communities.
In many cases the lack of a skilled workforce is a barrier for developing nations to tap into the economic benefits that travel and tourism have to offer. The IHG Academy is our public/private partnership programme that provides hospitality skills training in our local communities. Working in partnership with community organisations, schools, universities and governments we are helping local people to access careers in the hotel industry.
We recognise the importance of communicating information about our business and its performance to employees. Because CR issues are central to our company values they are a prominent feature of global management conferences, informal briefings, in-house publications and our intranets.
In January 2011 we held a Green Day at our Atlanta offices to raise awareness of IHG's approach to CR. We also launched a Green Team at our corporate office in Denham, UK. The Green Team was established to build awareness of IHG's responsible business agenda using the green team members as ambassadors. In May 2012 the Green Team held a Green Day to raise awareness of CR at IHG, our key programmes and explain how our employees can help to make a difference in the environment and community. Read how our employees at our headquarters in Denham became green engaged!
We also set up a dedicated section about CR in our Leaders Lounge, a virtual community of IHG leaders that provides time-effective tools, tips and articles that reinforce our strategy and help managers improve their leadership.
During the coming year we will be working with colleagues to ensure that we are following sound principles for Green Meetings and Green Training materials.
We report formally to shareholders twice a year and release quarterly results. In addition, regular meetings are held with major institutional shareholders to discuss the progress of our business, performance, plans and objectives.
IHG is included in the FTSE4Good Index. As well as assessing whether we continue to meet globally recognised standards on CR, such indexes facilitate our engagement with the wider investment community on CR issues.
Our Annual General Meeting also provides an opportunity to meet private shareholders. Our shareholders can read about our approach to CR in the dedicated CR sections of our Annual Review PDF (7.32Mb) and Annual Report PDF (7.28Mb).
In December 2012, we held an investor breakfast for new and existing shareholders to update them on our CR approach, key programmes and priorities.
Feedback from suppliers helps us to better understand how we perform against our peers and gain a clearer picture of our risks.
Wherever possible we encourage our hotels to source goods and services locally. In addition to IHG supporting local suppliers, In 2013 we strengthened our commitment to a responsible supply chain by setting two new targets. Between 2013 and 2017 we will track and report on diversity in our supply chain, and integrate CR criteria into our selection and evaluation process for all preferred suppliers. Find out more in our Supply Chain section.
We want to be leaders in CR within the hotel and tourism industry. That is why we aim to work with the best, most forward-looking academic thinkers on the subject.
Cornell University School of Hotel Administration
We took part in a hospitality industry sustainability round-table event hosted by Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, which focused on "The Role of the Sustainability Department in Hotel Companies", "The Impact of Emerging Codes, Laws and Regulations", "Guest Engagement and CSR (corporate social responsibility)" and "Carbon". Cornell is a leading hospitality management school dedicated to educating the next generation of leaders in our industry.
In 2011 we co-sponsored Cornell University to undertake a study entitled ‘Developing a Sustainability Measurement Framework for Hotels: Toward an Industry-wide Reporting Structure’ which proposed a framework for the development of a standard carbon footprint methodology.
At InterContinental Hotels & Resorts we believe that travel provides the opportunity for authentic, enriching experiences. To help protect all that is special about the places you visit, we have been working in partnership with National Geographic since 2009.
Like all great partnerships, ours has evolved. In 2012, we joined the National Geographic in celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention. Today, there are over 950 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – from the Acropolis to Yosemite National Park and the Great Wall of China. These are all places of unique cultural importance or unspoiled natural landscapes.
Together, we are committed to making a difference in the world. We aim to encourage a deep appreciation of the special places on our planet, and work to protect nature, heritage and communities, preserving them for future generations to enjoy.
U.S. Green Building Council and LEED
In January 2011, IHG became the first hotel company to be aligned to the US Green Building Council's prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), for an existing hotel programme – IHG Green Engage. We achieved LEED certification for showing genuine carbon reductions and a commitment to ongoing reductions.
IHG Green Engage operates at four levels; hotels that achieve IHG Green Engage Level 3 are automatically pre-certified for LEED Volume certification. These properties still undergo rigorous reporting, but the relationship between USGBC and IHG streamlines the path to certification.
In 2010 we became a member of the United Nations Global Compact and are committed to aligning our operations, culture and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. In 2012 and 2013 we submitted a Communication on Progress (COP), a public disclosure to our stakeholders, on the progress we have made in implementing the ten principles of the UN Global Compact.
We have a global partnership with CARE who works with us to develop and deliver our IHG Shelter in a Storm Programme. The partnership enables us to draw on their expertise in humanitarian assistance and helps us find appropriate partners in the area when disaster strikes, directing help to where it is needed. CARE is one of the world's three biggest aid agencies, which advises us on how to act and help find appropriate charity partners in the area of disaster relief to help hotels make the best use of their resources in times of disaster.
We joined the Business in the Community (BiTC) forum in 2009. We have committed to improve the way we manage our resources, human and environmental, in collaboration with other members. Our membership with BiTC helps inform our community strategy, and to support the expansion of our community programmes.
In 2012 we were involved in the Responsible Business Convention, with members of our CR Team taking part and our Chief Executive Officer, Richard Solomons, participating as key note speaker.
Industry Specific Stakeholders
We work with a number of stakeholders on specific industry issues.
World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)
We are members of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which promotes the tourism sector, highlighting its large economic impact as well as promoting the protection of the natural, social and cultural environment.
International Tourism Partnership
We are an active member of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), established by the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) to promote responsible tourism through responsible leadership.
The programme provides members with a non-competitive platform to share knowledge and resources, develop policy and actively implement programmes and initiatives that have a positive impact on economic, social and environmental issues.
As a member of the ITP and WTTC, in 2011 and 2012 we took a lead role in the ITP/WTTC working group, called the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative, seeking to agree a common carbon metric for the industry and were able to feed in the results of our work with Cornell.
The new methodology was launched in June of this year. The carbon footprint of hotel stays and meetings will now be able to be calculated and communicated in a consistent and transparent way. Read our press release to find out more.
As part of our IHG Academy we have established a global partnership with the Youth Career Initiative – a programme run by the International Tourism Partnership. The Youth Career Initiative is helping us to expand our IHG Academy programme through delivering a six-month education programme that provides disadvantaged young people with life and work skills. We already have programmes set up in South America and this year we celebrate the expansion into Europe and the Middle East.