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IHG Hotels & Resorts Publishes Series of Ambitious Commitments to Drive Change for People, Communities, Planet

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DENHAM, ENGLAND—IHG Hotels & Resorts has launched Journey to Tomorrow, a series of ambitious new commitments to make a positive difference for people, communities and planet over the next decade.

Guided by IHG’s purpose to provide True Hospitality for Good, it will work side by side with those who stay, work and partner with it, to help shape the future of responsible travel—supporting people and making a positive difference to local communities, while preserving the planet’s beauty and diversity long into the future.

In an open letter, IHG’s CEO, Keith Barr, said that the global response to Covid-19 has shown what can be achieved when organizations bring together expertise, resources, and compassion for the greater good.

“Journey to Tomorrow embodies IHG’s strengthened commitment to make sure we do what is right, not just what is needed,” Barr said. “We want every IHG stakeholder to see that we’re on a journey to be successful in every sense of the word, and we are determined to contribute towards positive social and economic change, to stand up for key issues such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and human rights, and to make more responsible environmental choices.

“I believe that how we grow as a company and work to be a greater force for good are inextricably linked. So, we are empowering our colleagues, and working together with our hotel owners and our industry to help shape the future of responsible travel. It’s never been more crucial that we do.”

A Commitment Shared the World Over

Each of the ambitions and commitments in IHG’s Journey to Tomorrow plan is rooted in an understanding of what is most important to colleagues, guests, hotel owners and investors when it comes to operating thoughtfully and growing sustainably. Formed through a comprehensive assessment process involving external experts, stakeholder consultation and industry collaboration, our plan also contributes to the universal framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to provide a blueprint for a better, more sustainable future for us all by 2030.

IHG’s commitment to collective action is shared by consumers around the world.

  • A global study commissioned by IHG of around 9,000 adults revealed that consumers are more mindful than ever about travelling responsibly, with 82 percent saying it is important to choose a hotel brand that operates responsibly. In fact, research found consumers will spend an average of 31 percent per night more on accommodation that meets this need.
  • In the space of a year, Covid-19 has increased awareness of responsible travel more broadly, with 60 percent of people saying the pandemic has made them more socially and environmentally conscious about their impact on the world when travelling. This rises to 58 percent among travelers aged 18 to 24, compared to 36 percent for over 55s.
  • With the world travelling more locally during the pandemic, consumers are showing an overwhelming appetite to show care for the communities around them. Eighty-six percent of people say it is important to get to know the local community when visiting somewhere new. And more than half of respondents (57 percent) 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.

Gloria Guevara, CEO & President, The World Travel & Tourism Council, commented: “The Travel & Tourism sector plays a huge role in enriching livelihoods and economies around the world, and we must ensure its growth contributes positively to the communities, natural ecosystems and cultural heritage upon which it depends. I’m pleased to see the clear, achievable, and actionable 10-year ambitions outlined in IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Journey to Tomorrow plan, which will help support the sustainable development of our sector.

“IHG is a key contributor to our Sustainability Taskforce, and we are delighted to come together once again on this important initiative, which aligns with our broader sustainability goals. It will play a crucial role in our sector in a post-COVID world, and this initiative will help push forward that agenda. By working together towards these common goals, we can ensure that the communities and destinations that make this world so special will continue to thrive for many generations to come.”

Wolfgang Neumann, Chair, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, commented: “This ambitious 10-year plan set out by IHG Hotels & Resorts is exactly the type of action needed to drive meaningful change from within the hospitality industry, and to leave a lasting, positive impact on the world around us. The Alliance has been proud to have IHG as a founding member since our inception, and to work closely on joint efforts and projects that have helped our industry improve social equity and combat climate change. Collaboration will continue to be key as we press ahead to 2030, and we look forward to working together with IHG in support of its new ambitions.”

The Journey to Tomorrow, Together

IHG’s plan sets out five clear ambitions, building on its long-term commitments and achievements, including the progress made against its 2018 to 2020 targets. These include:

  • 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 prioritize 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 & energy: Reduce our energy use and carbon emissions in line with climate science.
    • Implement a 2030 science-based target that delivers 15 percent absolute reduction in our direct operations, and a 46 percent per m2 reduction in franchise operations.
    • Target 100 percent new build hotels to operate at very low/zero carbon emissions.
    • Maximize/optimize 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.
    • Minimize 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; and
      • Collaborate to ensure adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions for our operating communities.

Find Out More

To read an open letter from IHG’s CEO, Keith Barr, click here.