Corporate Responsibility Report
Climate change is having a major impact on the travel and hospitality industry. As one of the largest hotel companies in the world we know that the potential climate change costs to our business are huge. We want to continue to grow responsibly and that means reducing our energy, carbon and resource impacts. We are committed to doing this by seeking new ways to reduce and manage emissions across our hotel estate rather than through purchasing carbon offsets. This provides an opportunity to work closely with our partners to develop innovative technology and identify and implement practical, cost-efficient measures that are both sustainable and responsible.
With over 4,600 hotels and more than 1,000 in the pipeline we are in a strong position to advance the development of new 'green building' technologies and processes, and to use our critical mass to bring them to market.
In 2013 we set new medium term impact targets to help us measure and monitor our impact at a global level. These commit us to reducing our carbon footprint per occupied room by 12% and our use of water per occupied room in water-stressed areas by 12% from 2013 to 2017. We have also set a target to make CR criteria part of the selection and evaluation process for all preferred suppliers. The targets give a clear signal of our commitment to minimising the environmental impacts of our hotel operations.
All of our efforts reflect our ambition to lead the industry and the marketplace in sustainability. As thinking evolves in this area, so too does our vision of what a green hotel looks like and we constantly seek the input of internal and external stakeholders in order to find new and better ways to design, build and run hotels.
IHG Green Engage
Our online environmental sustainability tool, IHG Green Engage, enables us to measure, manage and report on the environmental and other CR impacts of our hotels across the IHG system as well as driving human rights and community engagement. It provides Green Solutions for both new and existing hotels in four different climatic regions. These recommendations cover design, operations and technologies aimed at reducing energy, water and waste, cutting carbon emissions, improving guest health and comfort, reducing operating and maintenance costs, and raising guest and staff awareness of sustainability issues.
In 2011 we became the first hotel company to be aligned to LEED for an existing programme, IHG Green Engage.
Transparency and assurance
We understand that assurance and transparency are critical to leadership in the sustainability arena. As we continue to evolve and raise our sustainability targets, we recognise the need for an appropriate assurance process. In 2012, we launched an assurance process that reviews each IHG Green Engage hotel that has achieved a level of certification for the accuracy of its reporting and to improve the way hotels use IHG Green Engage.
Employee engagement and effective employee training are essential to achieving our sustainability objectives. That is why we encourage all of our hotels to put training in place to help their employees use the sustainability initiatives recommended in IHG Green Engage and understand the purpose and goals of 'green' hotel management strategies.
We also support our hotels by offering training. We’ve developed virtual IHG Green Engage training to guide users through the tool, introduce new features and make sure they are equipped to make best use of the tool to help them reduce their environmental impacts and operating costs.
Leading by example in our offices is an effective way of showing our hotels that using IHG Green Engage can help them to reduce energy and costs. To do this, we set up a Green Team in our global headquarters in Denham with volunteers from most departments. Green Team members act as green ambassadors and help raise awareness of CR at IHG, along with our key programmes.
The Green Team uses IHG Green Engage to track and report on energy, waste and water, and this year we can report that we've achieved a 9% reduction in total energy year on year. This reduction to date has been achieved through changes to the heating and cooling settings saving the office over $30,000 per year. Other initiatives implemented by the Green Team this year include the provision of educational materials to encourage green office behaviours, a Cycle 2 Work scheme which has had a high up-take and a lift sharing/car pooling website.
In our Atlanta offices, we are enhancing environmental education and all of our Atlanta facilities are using IHG Green Engage. We have launched several training sessions to educate employees on sustainability and in particular how to optimise recycling at the office and at home.
Guest awareness and participation
Encouraging our guests to behave responsibly, plays a crucial role in implementing our sustainability measures.
One of the ways we achieve this is by making recommendations to our hotels through IHG Green Engage, such as:
- using signage, literature and helpful front-of-house staff to draw attention to the green efforts of the hotel and encourage guests to participate
- promoting local sustainability via shops, activities and alternative means of transport so that guests' environmentally conscious choices permeate into the surrounding economy
- providing guests with feedback on their energy and resource usage in a friendly, informative manner.
IHG Green Engage also helps us learn how different hotels around the world engage with guests on environmental issues in order to share learning across the Group. One of the initiatives helping to bring responsible tourism principles to life for our guests is our partnership with National Geographic.
Over 2,250 of our hotels use IHG Green Engage to date in 2013
The number of staff who have completed green training