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 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 organisation. 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 2013 the GBTA included a CR module with numerous sustainability questions in its Request for Proposal (RFP). We worked with our Sales Team to automatically feed answers to these questions, based on IHG Green Engage data and activities, into IHG's systems that populate RFPs for hotels. 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 720 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 2013, even more franchised hotels signed up to the system. As at 31 December 2013, 2,676 of our hotels were enrolled in IHG Green Engage. A growing number of our franchised hotels also participate in the IHG Academy and the IHG Shelter in a Storm Programme. Our priority for 2014 is to continue to work with the IHG Owners Association to raise further awareness of our three core CR programmes amongst franchise owners and to encourage greater enrolment and quality of use of the tools to deliver positive impact and create shared value for IHG, our owners, the environment and the community.
Our annual CR 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.
With almost 4,700 hotels in close to 100 countries and territories, IHG has the potential to create a positive impact on thousands of local communities around the world. To better understand this impact, we commissioned Oxford Economics in 2010 to look into the economic impacts of the hospitality industry and IHG in particular.
The research provided firm evidence for what we already knew – that the impacts of our hotels go far beyond providing rooms and jobs, and paying taxes. The money spent by our guests, employees, partners and suppliers has a broad impact on local economies and supports local communities. It stimulates spending, creates new jobs, generates new business in almost all other sectors and helps local communities thrive.
In order to amplify our positive impact on local communities around the world, we have created the IHG Academy. The IHG Academy is a collaboration between individual IHG hotels or corporate office teams and local education providers and/or community organisations. It gives local people the opportunity to develop their skills and improve their employment prospects while at the same time creating a sustainable talent pipeline for IHG hotels and corporate offices around the world. The IHG Academy is an innovative global framework that can be tailored locally to increase its relevance and impact.
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 August 2013 the Green Team at our Denham HQ held a Green Week 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.
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 October 2013, 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.
U.S. Green Building Council and LEED
In January 2011, our in-house sustainability system IHG Green Engage was aligned with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for our existing hotel programme and in 2013 for our new hotel programme by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). We are the first hotel company to receive approval for LEED pre-certification for both existing and new hotels programmes.
The alignment cements our place as an industry leader in sustainability. LEED is the top programme for the design, construction and operation of green buildings.
It means hotels signed up to IHG Green Engage can speed up their own LEED certification. Because it provides a stamp of approval recognised by industry and corporate clients, it will also be of real value to owners. We have five LEED certified hotels in our system.
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, 2013 and 2014 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 work with us to develop and deliver our IHG Shelter in a Storm Programme. CARE is one of the world's three biggest aid agencies and has expertise in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Through our partnership, CARE helps us find appropriate partners in the area when disaster strikes helping IHG and our hotels make the best use of available assets and resources in times of disaster.
We joined Business in the Community (BiTC) in 2009. Through our involvement with BiTC, we help develop and leverage best practice learnings 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 2013 we were involved in BiTC's Responsible Business Week, with members of our CR Team taking part in panel discussions
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.
In June 2013 we supported the launch of HCMI 1.1, the global carbon standard that IHG helped to develop in collaboration with ITP, WTTC and 22 other leading hotel companies.
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 have programmes set up in Latin America, Middle East Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe.