IHG Green Engage system

Our online sustainability tool that 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 system: 

  • Sets and tracks property specific reduction goals for carbon, energy, 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 and provides case studies and implementation plans to reduce the impact our hotels have on the environment. This aligns to the UN Sustainable Development goal of Responsible Consumption and production. The tool also demonstrates the cost savings that can be achieved by hotels when they implement the solutions.
  • Supports hotels to create environmental action plans and targets.
  • Can achieve energy savings of up to 25% 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 2016, 54% of our business accounts asked for this information – such as carbon footprint and waste.
  • Allows guests to make better informed purchasing decisions. By linking to the hotel booking sites, guests can see what level (1-4) of certification in the IHG Green Engage system the hotel has achieved.

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 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 event management.

The system recognises progress and performance through four levels of certification. In 2014, we implemented a global standard that all our hotels must participate in the IHG Green Engage system and we have been working with IHG branded hotels globally to drive adoption to manage their overall environmental impact.

We work with a number of third parties to align the IHG Green Engage system activity to their requirements and through the system over 485 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, one of the leading programmes 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.

Holiday Inn, Winchester, United Kingdom

Holiday Inn, Winchester

Through waste initiatives and water and energy conservation, the Holiday Inn Winchester is going above and beyond to preserve its resources and local surroundings. Through its development, the hotel was built with a number of sustainable features including smart lighting and air conditioning. A heat recovery system is in place along with LED lighting fitted in all public areas. Through its water conservation efforts, the hotel is ‘off-sewer’, meaning the water the hotel uses is filtered and re-used, therefore no water is discharged into the sewer. Additionally, across the guest rooms, low flow showerheads are fitted in all bathrooms that do not impede the water quality and aerators have been fitted to all tap faucets. The hotel is also a leader with its waste management initiatives, with 100% of waste diverted from landfill, and food waste is processed in its anaerobic digesters. For guests with electric cars, there is an electric car charging point at the hotel.


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

Throughout 2015 and 2016, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in the US and Canada upgraded their in-room coffee offering to improve the guest experience. As part of the upgrades we encouraged hotels to donate, recycle and reuse their old coffee makers to give them a second life. More than 90% of the hotels took action, diverting over 643,000 lbs of waste from landfill.

Food waste

Through careful menu planning, our hotels reduce food waste and make use of seasonally available ingredients. The IHG Green Engage system guides our hotels to set up or make use of food donation programmes where possible and encourages them to sustainably dispose of food waste.

Amenity recycling

In the United States, Canada and Mexico, our hotels 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 303 hotels participating in the programme, and through the partnership, they have recycled 603,810 lbs of soap and amenity waste, and distributed over 1.9 million bars of soap to the developing world.

Clean the World is also a beneficiary of the IHG Foundation.


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. In 2016, we continued, to support these efforts through our ongoing participation in the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) where we co-chair the AHLA Sustainability Committee.

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 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 in greater environmental stewardship. In 2015, we launched the ‘A Greener Stay’ programme in our Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in the Americas to encourage guests to reduce energy and water usage. We also promote local sustainability initiatives such as low carbon alternative means of transport.

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 2016, 54% of our business accounts asked for this information about our hotels (such as carbon footprint and waste diversion rates) using the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) corporate responsibility module.

Since 2013, we have continually enhanced our ability to report this information to our 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 CDP Supply Chain programme for both our carbon and, for the first time in 2016, water; enabling our corporate clients to have access to even more robust information.