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IHG Hotels and Resorts launches sustainability programme

16 Feb 2021 by Tom Otley
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IHG Hotels and Resorts has today launched an internal sustainability programme called ‘Journey to Tomorrow‘. Describing it as “a set of commitments to drive change for people, communities and the planet over the next 10 years”, it focuses on five internal ‘ambitions’:

  • Our people: Champion a diverse culture where everyone can thrive
  • Communities: Improve the lives of 30 million people in our communities around the world
  • Carbon and energy: Reduce our energy use and carbon emissions in line with climate science
  • Waste: Pioneer the transformation to a minimal waste hospitality industry
  • Water: Conserve water and help secure water access in those areas at greatest risk

The programme comes as IHG Hotels and Resorts released the results of a global survey of more than 9,000 adults which showed that 82 per cent of respondents said it is important to choose a hotel brand that operates responsibly, and consumers will spend an average of 31 per cent per night more on accommodation that meets this need.

CEO Keith Barr said:

“We care as much about operating thoughtfully and growing sustainably, as we do about the guest experience in our hotels. That’s why our Journey to Tomorrow plan ties in closely to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which offers a blueprint to organisations globally to contribute toward a better and more sustainable future for us all by 2030.”

Karin Sheppard, SVP, Managing Director for Europe at IHG Hotels and Resorts added:

“Now more than ever an emphasis is being placed on how consumers can travel better – with green credentials, reducing our carbon footprint and caring for the community being talking points. Everyone can change their behaviours and still enjoy travelling for both business and leisure, but it’s important for organisations to pave the way for travellers. That’s why we’ve launched ‘Journey to Tomorrow’ – IHG’s commitment to make sure we do what’s right, not just what’s needed, to make a positive difference for our people, communities and planet over the next decade.”

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In more detail, the programme has the following under the five ambitions:

Our people: Champion a diverse culture where everyone can thrive

  • Achieve a gender balance and a doubling of under-represented groups across our leadership
  • Cultivate a culture of inclusion for colleagues, owners and suppliers
  • Support all colleagues to prioritise their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others
  • Drive respect for and advance human rights

Communities: Improve the lives of 30 million people in our communities around the world

  • Drive economic and social change through skills training and innovation
  • Support our communities when natural disaster strikes
  • Collaborate to aid those facing food poverty

Carbon and energy: Reduce our energy use and carbon emissions in line with climate science

  • Implement a 2030 science-based target that delivers 15 per cent absolute reduction in our direct operations, and a 46 per cent per m2 reduction in franchise operations
  • Target 100 per cent new build hotels to operate at very low/zero carbon emissions
  • Maximise/optimise the role of renewable energy

Waste: Pioneer the transformation to a minimal waste hospitality industry

  • Eliminate single use items, or move to reusable or recyclable alternatives across the guest stay
  • Minimise food going to waste through a “prevent, donate, divert” plan
  • Collaborate to achieve circular solutions for major hotel commodity items

Water: Conserve water and help secure water access in those areas at greatest risk. Focus on those hotels operating in the areas of highest water risk to:

  • Implement tools to reduce the water footprint of our hotels
  • Mitigate water risk through stakeholder collaboration to deliver water stewardship at basin level
  • Collaborate to ensure adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions for our operating communities.

The survey results also showed that:

  • 49 per cent of UK adults who travel agree that they care more about doing their bit for local communities and the planet while travelling now than they did 10 years ago
  • 46 per cent agree that they want to be more environmentally and socially conscious on their travels
  • 33 per cent agree that they are more likely to support brands with strong environmental and social commitments
  • 69 per cent say choosing a hotel brand/accommodation that operates responsibly is important to them (22 per cent say this is very important)

Globally, the results showed that

  • 60 per cent said the pandemic has made them more socially and environmentally conscious about their impact on the world when travelling
  • 57 per cent say they care more about contributing to their local communities and the planet while travelling than they did 10 years ago showing a long-term shift in their thinking
  • This rises to 58 per cent among travellers aged 18-24, compared to 36 per cent for over 55s
  • 86 per cent of people say it is important to get to know the local community when visiting somewhere new

ihg.com

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