Corporate reputation

Our reputation is built upon the trust and confidence of our stakeholders, and is an integral part of our vision to make IHG one of the best companies int he world.Richard Winter - Executive Vice President, Corporate Services

IHG's core purpose is to create Great Hotels Guests Love. However, we are only going to succeed if our corporate brand has a reputation and standing which supports this aspiration.

IHG is an internationally recognised and leading hotel business focused on high-quality growth.

To this end, we are creating Great Hotels Guests Love, building on the strength and profile of our leading brands and offering our guests excellent service levels across the world. The good reputation of our diverse portfolio of hotel brands, however, will only continue to flourish if our overall reputation and culture supports these corporate aspirations. The IHG name is therefore of the utmost importance.

Our reputation serves to make our hotel brands more attractive in the eyes of our guests, it reinforces our position as an employer of choice and ensures that we remain a preferred company for investors and other business partners.

Corporate governance

Sound governance provides a solid foundation on which to build a strong ethical and cultural framework that helps to bind the Company together through a common vision that enhances our corporate reputation.The primary responsibility for corporate governance rests with the Board and occupies much of its time.

We report on the Board's governance responsibilities fully in our Annual Report and Financial Statements 2007 and under Corporate Governance, of this Review.

The procedures for maintaining first-rate governance are shaped by processes and disciplines which the Board and Executive Committee ensure are in place. These are supervised by the Audit, Remuneration, Nomination and Disclosure Committees, and by the work of our Global Risk Management and Internal Audit teams. But no matter how good and professional these processes are, they cannot by themselves build a reputation. Good practice must be embedded in the business, reflecting how IHG and its employees deal day to day with all our contacts.

With this in mind, IHG has comprehensively reviewed and updated policies on the environment, support for communities, human rights and our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct. This Code states clearly that "our reputation is built upon the trust and confidence of our stakeholders, and is an integral part of our vision to make IHG one of the best companies in the world". Our Code of Conduct is fundamental to our operations worldwide and it has been translated into many languages to ensure it is understood across the business.

Corporate culture

Our culture – the collective way that employees think, work and behave – the unique character of IHG, has the strongest influence on our corporate reputation. As a business employing thousands of people, with many diverse skills, IHG's culture is the collective responsibility of all employees.

It is also at the core of many of our central departments whose job it is to guard and maintain a stable platform on which our business can be confidently and successfully built. For example, it is a fundamental principle of our business conduct that our guests, investors, employees, and all who do business with us, have the right to expect the highest standards of security and safety on our premises. This is both a practical and a cultural objective and is just one example of how our values, what we call our Winning Ways – Do the right thing, Show we care, Aim higher, Celebrate difference, Work better together – support the success of our business worldwide.

Employees at the InterContinental Abu Dhabi

Winning Ways engage colleagues around the world
Employees at the InterContinental Abu Dhabi have brought our values to life through celebrating 35 different National Days and creating a parliamentary-style staff forum made up of representatives from every department.

Health and safety

We apply high standards of health and safety for the benefit of all employees and guests as a matter of priority. The Group strives not only to comply with relevant health and safety legislation, but also to provide and maintain a safe environment for employees, customers and other visitors to our premises.

In addition, all Group companies are responsible for:

  • protecting the health of employees with suitable work-based strategies;
  • minimising the risk of injury from work activity;
  • ensuring that sufficient resources and information are made available and that good management systems are in place to address health and safety matters;
  • involving all employees in a formal process of continuous improvement in health and safety matters, reporting and review; and
  • exercising vigilance to protect guests from the risk of terrorism wherever it may occur in the world.

Compliance with Group policy is monitored and audited centrally, and health and safety reports are included within the bi-annual risk management reports produced for the Board.

Confidentiality

As well as the vital need to protect the confidentiality of our guests' personal data, we recognise that our positive reputation also depends on maintaining the confidentiality of all information we hold, and releasing it only when necessary, in a timely and accurate manner. Our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct defines standards relating to records, disclosure, communications and ‘inside information'. Guidelines, available to employees on the internal website, set out the Group's policy for the identification, control and dissemination of inside information. Senior employees are regularly reminded of their obligation to maintain confidentiality and to fulfil their duties relating to inside information and public statements.

Assurance

Our Internal Audit department provides further assurance of the quality of the Company's processes and disciplines. This work is supervised by the Audit Committee. An important aspect of its work involves identifying and responding to new and emerging risks. As far as service to shareholders is concerned, the Company Secretariat provides information and communications to shareholders and is responsible for our compliance with UK and US stock exchange listing requirements. Our Disclosure Committee is responsible for reviewing financial and trading statements and the verification processes supporting them.

Partnerships are key
Through talking to business partners we can work together to develop comprehensive long-term strategies to manage our impact on the environment and support our local communities.

Corporate responsibility

We have developed a strong corporate responsibility programme to underpin all of our policies, and this year we are publishing our first online Corporate Responsibility (CR) Report. This can be accessed on our website at www.ihg.com/responsibility

IHG was a founding member of the International Tourism Partnership that celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2008. We take our corporate responsibilities seriously and remain committed to meeting our global obligations as one of the world's leading tourism businesses.

"Our two priorities for action are environmental management and support for the communities in which we operate."

"We believe that travel and tourism can be enjoyed responsibly and that the benefits of taking this approach far outweigh the costs."

Tourism provides opportunities for local economic development, new business and much needed jobs, especially in developing countries. It also opens the door to improved learning, better communication, greater diversity and richer, more fulfilling social experiences. As hoteliers there are many positive actions that we can take to minimise travel and tourism's negative effects, and we detail some of the work we are doing internationally in our CR Report as well as throughout this Annual Review.

Climate change is a clear and significant challenge and how we respond will shape the lives of future generations. Sustainable tourism means tackling the environmental impact of hotel development and operations from the inside out – evaluating everything in the life cycle of a hotel from site and design to management and operations, including energy and water savings and waste management. Our new design guidelines are based around the principle of reducing our carbon footprint and ecological impact as far as possible.

Our people and our hotels are encouraged to act as role models within the communities in which they operate. Supporting local communities is the second fundamental plank of our corporate responsibility strategy. Details of IHG's charitable, community, environmental and socially responsible policies and activities are provided on our website and in the CR Report. During the year, the Group donated £626,000 in support of community initiatives and charitable causes. In addition to these cash contributions, employees have also given their time and skills to a variety of causes and IHG has made donations in kind, such as hotel accommodation. Taking these contributions into account, total donations from IHG in 2007 are estimated at £770,000. All hotels under our brands provided a total of more than $14 million in their communities during 2007.

Innovation Hotel

Innovation Hotel
As part of our corporate responsibility agenda, we launched the Innovation Hotel online in October 2007. This gives our consumers the opportunity to tell us how they think hotels could be more environmentally friendly without losing the quality and luxury they expect.

Take a look – www.ihg.com/innovation

For further information on corporate responsibility go to www.ihg.com/responsibility

In conclusion

Through this combination of Board and Executive Committee leadership, policies, specialist functions and the integrity of all our employees, we have created a culture and reputation at IHG that make us one of 'Britain's most admired companies' (Management Today, November 2007). That reputation is one we intend to guard and develop internationally, enhancing our profile throughout the world for the benefit of our business and all our stakeholders.

Richard Winter
Executive Vice President,
Corporate Services

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