IHG Green Engage™ system
The IHG Green Engage system is our Group-wide, online sustainability programme. It helps our hotels to manage and report their use of energy, carbon, water and waste, and minimise their overall utility costs and environmental impact. Participation in the IHG Green Engage system is a global standard for all our hotels and it recognises their progress through four levels of certification. The system:
- Recommends over 200 Green Solutions and provides implementation plans to reduce the impact our hotels have on the environment.
- Supports hotels to create environmental action plans and targets.
- Demonstrates the cost savings that can be achieved by hotels when they implement the action plans.
- Sets and tracks property-specific reduction goals for carbon, energy, water and waste.
- Uses data to provide customised environmental performance benchmarking, taking into account hotel location, brand and outfitting.
- Hotels can achieve cost savings from energy up to 16% on average if they achieve Level 3 certification within our IHG Green Engage tool. This equals to over $95,000 on average.
- Automatically feeds sustainability information about our hotels to our corporate clients. In 2017, 63% of our business accounts asked for this information – such as carbon footprint, water consumption and waste.
- Allows guests to make more informed booking decisions, providing information on a hotel’s level of certification in the IHG Green Engage system through our booking channels.
What are Green Solutions?
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 and lighting controls
- Installing water-efficient bathroom fixtures
- Using energy efficient appliances and systems
- Rainwater harvesting
- Alternative energy sourcing
- Improving indoor air quality
- Increasing waste diversion
- Sustainable meetings and event management
Crowne Plaza London - The City
Since 2012, Crowne Plaza London – The City has implemented 60 Green Solutions, achieving reductions in its energy use by 22% in 2017. The hotel delivered these high savings throughout, replacing lighting in over 3,000 fixtures, saving 7% in energy and $37,000. In addition, the hotel installed low flow shower heads, saving 12% in water. The hotel has also implemented measures to reduce waste by 21% including food waste being separately collected for bio fuel.
We work with a number of third parties to align the IHG Green Engage system activity to their requirements, and through the system, over 500 hotels have pursued additional third-party certification, including TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders, Green Globe and Green Key Global.
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.
The IHG Green Engage system provides guidance to hotels on how to manage their waste. We encourage our hotels to manage their waste and recommend 20 solutions that set out how they can handle, store, recycle and dispose of waste both on and off-site.
Through careful menu planning, our hotels reduce food waste and make use of seasonally available ingredients. The IHG Green Engage system includes five Green Solutions dedicated to helping hotels manage the disposal of their food waste, for example through food donation programmes.
Reducing costs in Newcastle, UK
Each year, more than a third of food that is produced globally is wasted including 45% of fruit and vegetables, 35% of fish and vegetables and 20% of meats. According to the United Nations (UN), if we as a planet reduced food waste by 25% alone, this would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people across the globe. At IHG, we recognise the important role our hotels play in reducing food waste and understand that by managing waste hotels can reduce costs. In 2017, we worked with Winnow to use smart meters to record food waste in hotel kitchens, resulting in more efficient menu planning. In a 12-week pilot at Crowne Plaza Newcastle – Stephenson Quarter, UK, the hotel reduced food waste by nearly 60%, and related costs fell by over $33,000.
Managing food waste at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland
During 2017, we co-chaired a pilot with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) to develop food waste management plans for the hotel industry. As part of successful pilot at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland, the Head Chef developed a zero-waste menu for mass catering and banqueting events. Over the course of three months, the hotel saw reductions of 15% in food waste.
We recognise amenity waste is a problem and we are working to reduce wastage in our hotels through various waste diversion methods. Many of our hotels partner with not-for-profit organisations to recycle soap and guest room amenities, so they can be distributed to communities in the developing world to help reduce the risk of disease. Working with Clean the World in the Americas and Soap for Hope in Asia, 435 hotels have recycled 379,000kg of soap to date, preventing it from entering the waste stream. This soap has been turned into 2.8 million bars of soap to help disadvantaged people in some of the most impoverished communities across the globe.
We work with government bodies to help refine proposed regulation and make it fit for our industry. In doing so, we provide examples of managing environmental impacts and help others 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. In 2017, we continued, to support these efforts through our ongoing participation in the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA).
Throughout the year, we demonstrated our IHG Green Engage system to the United States Council on Environmental Quality, the United States Department of Energy and several United States Congressional colleagues. 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.
Through signage, literature and our colleagues, our hotels can promote their green efforts and encourage guests to participate in making their hotel stay more sustainable. Through our ‘A Greener Stay’ programme, IHG Rewards Club members who stay two nights or longer can forgo their housekeeping, reducing their energy and water usage associated with linen cleaning. By the end of 2017, 2,474 hotels were participating in the programme.
Our hotel booking websites indicate the level (1-4) of IHG Green Engage system certification that a hotel has achieved, helping guests to identify more sustainable hotels.
Supporting travel buyers
We know that sustainability is important to our corporate clients. Every year, 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 2017, 63% of our business accounts asked for this information, such as carbon footprint and waste diversion rates, using the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) corporate responsibility module.
We have continually enhanced our ability to inform travel buyers. 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 RobecoSAM of which we are the industry leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, EcoVardis and the CDP Supply Chain programme for carbon and water.
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.