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Corporate Responsibility Report

Human rights

Illustration of people holding hands in a circle

Key human rights achievements in 2013

  • Continued to participate in the International Tourism Partnership’s Human Rights Working Group resulting in the publication of the industry statement on human trafficking
  • Endorsed the United Nations Global Compact
  • Agreed to a foundational standard which requires all IHG hotels to adopt and display a Human Rights Policy at individual property level.
  • Agreed to our first externally facing target around supply chain diversity and CR in our supply chain

Key human rights objectives 2014

  • Develop a global e-training approach for human rights
  • Continue to work with industry peers and other stakeholders to understand and assess human rights issues
  • In 2014, we will be rolling out a 'foundational standard' which requires all IHG hotels to adopt and display a Human Rights Policy at individual property level supported through communications to our colleagues
  • Make progress on our target to track and report supply chain diversity and integrate CR criteria into the selection and evaluation process for all preferred suppliers

At IHG we believe that strong ethics and good business are natural partners. We are committed to operating our company with integrity, working to the highest ethical standards. Our reputation is built on the trust and confidence of all our stakeholders, and is fundamental to our vision to make IHG one of the world's great companies.

View our Code of conduct PDF (0.04Mb)

More and more of our stakeholders want reassurance that we provide decent working conditions for all of our employees, manage our risks with all our business partners and make sure the rights of the local people where we operate are protected. While we work towards covering these areas in our contract terms and conditions we accept we have much more to do.

In 2010 we signed up to the UN Global Compact, aligning our operations and strategies with the ten universal principles that include commitments to human rights and labour standards. In 2013 we continued to put our support behind the International Tourism Partnership's position statement on human trafficking which aims to bring together the world's leading international hotel companies to reach collaborative solutions to address the issue of human trafficking.

Since 2008 we have been developing comprehensive methods to help us assess and respond to human rights issues. All members of the Executive Committee take responsibility for human rights on behalf of the Board.

In 2014, we will be rolling out a 'foundational standard' which requires all IHG hotels to adopt and display a Human Rights Policy at individual property level. This will be supported with communications to our colleagues. This new standard builds on our work in this area and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to operating as a responsible business.

Working conditions

We respect and support our employees' rights to decent working conditions. Our employment policies are designed to comply with all local labour laws and also to create safe, healthy and fair conditions throughout the whole of IHG. We know that wages, working hours and job security can be challenges within our industry. To begin to mitigate these risks we put in place a Human Rights policy for IHG-owned and -operated properties and will expand this to include business partners in contract terms and conditions.

IHG's Anti-Bribery Commitment

IHG is committed to carrying out business with integrity and in accordance with the highest ethical standards. IHG does not support or condone bribery or corruption.

We have in place a Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy and a Gifts and Entertainment Policy which apply to all IHG employees and in all our owned and managed hotels. We include appropriate language in relevant agreements (including Hotel Management Agreements and Franchise Agreements) and we have launched an anti-bribery training programme for our employees. Our financial control, risk management and internal audit processes also take into account bribery legislation to raise awareness of regulations and compliance with our policies.

How our employees can raise a grievance

We have a whistleblower line and let employees know about it through internal communications and a dedicated website:

Labour unions

We recognise the importance of partnerships with labour unions that represent our employees. 'Room to be yourself' is the employer side of our deal with our employees. Through it, we support our employees' right to decide if they want to be part of a union or not, free from any outside pressure or intimidation. In order to make the process fair, personal and democratic we support our employees' right to a private, secret ballot election.

Approximately 20% of hotel-based employees in the United States and Canada are members of an organised labour union. There are no collective bargaining agreements in other regions. In the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, we set up a Works Council for employee representation.

We give employees and union representatives advance notice of material operational changes. Minimum notice periods may vary by location and we always seek to comply with local laws.

Responsible supply chain

Our terms and conditions for suppliers' Vendor Code of Conduct includes human rights criteria. The Supply Chain section gives further information on how we support our suppliers in this area. In 2014 we will track and report supply chain diversity and integrate CR criteria into the selection and evaluation process for all preferred suppliers.

Protecting local communities

Through IHG Green Engage we provide hotels with some initial steps they can take to ensure they respect the rights of local communities. These include:

  • undertaking a social impact assessment before carrying out any building work to minimise the impact of the work on communities
  • engaging regularly with local leaders to identify and resolve any rights issues
  • keeping our use of resources to a minimum and making sure we don't deplete existing community supplies
  • following our Code of Conduct to guard against bribery and corruption
  • following our Human Rights policy to avoid the unlawful exploitation of labour, women or children. Staff are expected to receive training on how to recognise and resolve these sensitive situations
  • supporting cultural preservation projects through corporate donations or staff volunteering.

Our Human rights policy is available to download in 42 languages.

View our Human rights policy

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