IHG Green Engage system

Our online sustainability tool helps us minimise our hotels' impact on the local environment. It's our way of ensuring that our surroundings are preserved for everyone to enjoy. The IHG Green Engage™ system delivers the following key benefits:

  • Measures energy, carbon, water and waste.
  • Uses actual data to provide customised environmental performance benchmarking, taking into account hotel location, brand and outfitting.
  • Recommends over 200 Green Solutions to reduce the impacts our energy, carbon and water use and waste have on the environment.
  • Supports hotels to create environmental action plans and targets.
  • Can achieve energy savings of up to 25 per cent on average for those hotels achieving Level 3 certification; making our hotels more cost-effective to operate and ultimately allowing us to improve the value of service we offer our guests.
  • Automatically feeds sustainability information about our hotels to our clients. In 2015, 48 per cent of our business accounts asked for this information – such as carbon footprint and waste diversion rates – about our hotels.
  • The system recognises progress and performance through four levels of certification. In 2014, we announced a global standard that all our hotels must participate in the IHG Green Engage system. In 2015, we worked with our hotels globally to drive adoption and complete Level 1 certification.

What is a Green Solution?

Green Solutions are action items that hotels can implement on property to build and operate sustainable hotels. Each Green Solution outlines the action the hotel must take (such as replacing incandescent bulbs in guest rooms), and provides detailed steps to implement the solution. These recommendations cover design, operations and technologies aimed at reducing energy, water and waste, cutting carbon emissions, improving guest health and comfort and reducing operating and maintenance costs.

Examples from the 200+ Green Solutions include:

  • Using energy efficient lighting.
  • Installing water efficient bathroom fixtures.
  • Using energy efficient appliances.
  • Rainwater harvesting.

We work with a number of third parties to align IHG Green Engage system activity to their requirements. Through the system over 240 hotels have pursued additional third-party certification, including TripAdvisor's GreenLeaders, Green Globe, Green Tourism and Green Key Global. IHG was the first hotel company to be approved for pre-certification for new and existing buildings by LEED, the top programme for the design, construction and operation of green buildings.

To ensure the quality of participation in the IHG Green Engage system, hotels that reach any level of certification undergo a third party assurance process administered by Deloitte. In addition, our environmental performance data is independently verified through Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) in accordance with ISO14064 – 3:2006 specification with guidance for validation and verification of greenhouse gas assertions.

Learn how the IHG Green Engage system is making a difference at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta.

Amenity recycling

In the United States, Canada and Mexico we continue to partner with Clean the World, a not-for-profit corporation which collects and recycles discarded soap and shampoo products and distributes them to impoverished people in the developing world to help prevent hygiene-related illness.

We now have 277 hotels participating in the programme, and through the partnership have recycled and distributed 417,938 lbs of soap and amenity waste, and distributed over 1.4 million bars of soap. In 2015, we extended our partnership with Clean the World to the European Union and Switzerland and in 2016 we have made the programme available for all hotels in these areas to participate.


The IHG Green Engage system provides guidance to hotels on how to manage their waste. Through the system, we encourage hotels to create a waste management plan that sets out how they’re going to handle, store and dispose of waste, both on and off-site.

Food waste

Through careful menu planning we reduce food waste and make use of seasonally available ingredients. The IHG Green Engage system guides our hotels through the processes that enable them to set up or make use of food donation programmes where possible, and dispose of food waste in a sustainable way.

The Dino at InterContinental Miami

Intercontinental miami

The InterContinental Miami disposes of their food waste with an ORCA (Organic Refuse Conversion Alternative) machine. This machine, nicknamed Dino, uses natural microorganisms and biochips to rapidly decompose food waste into earth-friendly water that can be safely discharged into the sanitary sewer system. In its first year of using the technology 55.5 tonnes of waste (the equivalent of more than 15,000 meals) were diverted from landfills resulting in a 7,000 cubic yard reduction in methane gas and 365 fewer miles travelled by truck to dispose of the food waste.


Biodiversity plays an key part in the day-to-day life of a hotel and keeping the disturbance of animals, plants and their natural habitats to a minimum is an important part of our role as a responsible business. As part of our IHG Green Engage system we have developed a set of recommendations aimed at preserving and protecting on-site local flora and fauna and the wider regional ecosystems affected by our operations. This includes advice on management of green spaces and long term strategies for protecting local environments.

Environmental legislation

We work with government bodies to help refine proposed regulation and make it fit for our industry, as well as provide a best practice example of managing environmental impact that can help inform others seeking to do the same. The IHG Green Engage system plays a key role in helping hotel owners manage current regulatory performance and prepare for anticipated regulations. Throughout 2015, we supported these efforts through our ongoing participation in the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA) where we co-chair the AH&LA Sustainability Committee.

We also participate in the United States Better Buildings Challenge, and regularly demonstrate our IHG Green Engage system through hotel tours to government officials. For example, we have demonstrated our IHG Green Engage system to the United States Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the United States Department of Energy and several United States Congressional staffs. We continue to engage in dialogue with lawmakers around the world on the best way for governments to support the environmental efforts of private business.

Guest awareness and participation

Through signage, literature and colleagues, our hotels can promote their green efforts and encourage guests to participate. We promote local sustainability initiatives such as low carbon alternative means of transport and can provide guests with feedback on their energy and resource usage. We also promote each hotel’s participation in the IHG Green Engage system and their associated certification level on IHG booking sites to help guests make sustainable travel choices.

Supporting travel buyers

We know that sustainability is important to our corporate clients. Every year, more and more travel buyers ask for information about the environmental footprint of our hotels so that they can make more sustainable choices in their travel procurement. In 2015, 48 per cent of our business accounts asked for this information about our hotels using the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) CR module – such as carbon footprint and waste diversion rates.

Since 2013, we have continually enhanced our ability to report this information to our travel buyers to support their sustainability journey. The IHG Green Engage system automatically reports this information about each of our hotels to corporate clients that ask for it.

We also report our environmental performance data to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Supply Chain programme so our corporate clients have access to even more robust information.