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Corporate Responsibility Report


Illustration of award ribbon

Key environmental sustainability achievements in 2013

  • Achieved a 2.4% reduction in our carbon footprint per occupied room between 2012 and 2013 and on track to achieve our 12% target by 2017
  • Achieved a 4.6% reduction in water use per occupied room in water-stressed areas between 2012 and 2013 and on track to achieve our 12% target by 2017
  • 2,646 hotels are now enrolled in IHG Green Engage and over 16,000 green solutions were implemented during 2013
  • 99% of Company Managed Hotels achieved Level 1 in IHG Green Engage
  • First hotel company to have agreed alignment with LEED for both new and existing hotel programmes
  • Set up links between IHG Green Engage and our sales systems to enable easier reporting of environmental impacts to corporate clients
  • Launched a partnership with LRA Worldwide to provide internal certification services for IHG Green Engage
  • Launched partnership with Green Globe and Green Key Global for third-party internal certification of IHG Green Engage hotels

Key environmental sustainability targets 2013 – 2017

  • Reduce carbon footprint per occupied room by 12% across our entire estate
  • Reduce water use per occupied room in water-stressed areas by 12%
  • Integrate CR criteria into the selection and evaluation process for all preferred suppliers

Key environmental sustainability objectives 2014

  • Work to help all hotels enrolled in IHG Green Engage make best use of the tool, to help them reduce their environmental impacts and operating costs
  • Continue to work with the IHG Owners Association to enrol more of our franchised hotels in IHG Green Engage
  • Continue to work with the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) to increase use of the carbon methodology in our industry
  • Develop a water stewardship programme with Best Foot Forward which will help us to better understand our water impacts and challenges at a local level
  • Launch a goal setting feature in IHG Green Engage which will enable our hotels to contribute to IHG's sustainability targets and track against these during the year
  • Further improve and continue to support hotels with the RFP process, by helping them answer common sustainability questions through IHG Green Engage. Support travel buyers by providing information about the environmental impact of our hotels.

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 almost 4,700 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.

Find out more about why we’ve started tracking carbon use instead of energy, our water target and our supply chain commitment.

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.

IHG Green Engage alignment with third-party certifications

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 hotel 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.

Logo - Green Globe IHG Green Engage is also aligned to Green Key Global and Green Globe. In both cases there is a streamlined, cost – effective path to certification for IHG Green Engage hotels. We currently have 124 registered hotels with Green Key Global in the United States and Canada, and 22 hotels with Green Globe around the world. The benefit of using IHG Green Engage as a foundation for achieving a third-party certification is demonstrated by InterContinental Vienna who were the first hotel to be taken through the streamlined certification process with Green Globe. The hotel has made excellent progress with IHG Green Engage through strong operational and training practices, investment in energy efficiency and consideration of wider sustainability issues. As a result InterContinental Vienna achieved Green Globe certification with a score of 88%.

Green Globe certification

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 2013 we launched a new assurance process for certification in IHG Green Engage. LRA Worldwide will now provide remote verification of hotels’ evidence which will both ensure that hotels have achieved certification and help to raise quality and increase the savings made by hotels.

Employee education

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.

Our offices become green engaged

Photo of Green Day group shop

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 various departments. Green Team members act as green ambassadors and help raise awareness of CR at IHG, along with our key programmes. In 2013 the Denham Green Team held a Green Week with a focus on launching a new recycling programme, a vegetable and herb garden, sustainable modes of transport and upcycled products.

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, and are launching a Green Team in 2014.

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.


Over 2,600 of our hotels use IHG Green Engage


The number of staff who have completed green training

Our Environment policy is available to download in 42 languages.

View our Environment policy

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