Environmental sustainability

As one of the world’s leading hotel companies, with more than 5,000 branded hotels in nearly 100 countries, we understand the impact our business activities have on the environment and take active steps to manage it.


The hotel business is growing and IHG is committed to ensuring our portfolio grows in a responsible way, always mindful of the resources we use, as well as the opportunity we have to do things differently. Our stakeholders, our colleagues and our guests want us to demonstrate how seriously we take issues such as climate change, water scarcity, utility consumption, and environmental preservation. 

We put the environment right at the heart of how our hotels operate. Our long-term success, as well as the comfort and well-being of our guests and the planet, depends on it.

In 2016, we continued to reduce our carbon footprint and water use against our 5-year targets, but acknowledge there is still progress to be made to achieve our targets by year end 2017.

Through our reporting, we report on scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and water use across hotels and corporate offices regardless of management type. Working with sustainability reporting specialists Anthesis; each year we increase the size of our data pool as more hotels adopt our IHG Green Engage tool, giving our stakeholders greater accuracy and transparency in the disclosure of our Green House Gas emissions and water use. This also allows us to work more specifically in those areas that need the most support.

We have seen significant reductions in carbon and water use per occupied room in our managed hotels. However, our franchised hotels continue to present some challenges and we are developing several strategies for our franchised operations.

  • Across our company and managed hotels, we ran pilots with a focus on reducing water and carbon use. These successful initiatives will be rolled out to all our hotels in 2017.
  • We have developed a new hotel toolkit with guidance and solutions for our hotels to adopt top water and carbon saving solutions for our hotels to implement.
  • Through the IHG Green Engage system we have set carbon and water saving targets, giving IHG branded hotels greater clarity and transparency on reduction milestones.
  • We have identified Green Solutions that deliver the greatest carbon and water savings, and identified appropriate vendors so that our hotels can procure technologies to deliver greater cost efficiencies.

Seawater air conditioning at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

Bora bora

The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa uses a unique and innovative system to cool the property. Through the installation of a 2km pipeline at a depth of 900 meters, seawater at a temperature of 50°c is piped to a titanium heat exchanger. The hotels 15kW seawater pump provides cooling that would otherwise consume 300kW of electricity. Through the circuit the seawater is returned back to the sea, thus limiting the hotel's impact on the environment.

2013 - 2017 targets


reduction in carbon footprint per occupied room*


reduction in water use per occupied room in water-stressed areas*

Our achievements


reduction in carbon footprint per occupied room from 2013-2016*


reduction in water use per occupied room in water-stressed areas from 2013-2016*


IHG branded hotels avoided costs of $67.4m through using the IHG Green Engage system


green solutions implemented through using the IHG Green Engage system

Our priorities for 2017 are:

  • Working closely across our franchised estate to drive reductions in our carbon footprint and water use. Through increasing our data sample year on year, we’ve identified those areas where we will focus our efforts.
  • Continue to drive quality use of the IHG Green Engage system across our entire estate.
  • Implement initiatives at hotel level to improve water stewardship and enable further reductions in water use.

* from a 2012 baseline