It was almost three years ago that IHG Hotels & Resorts announced that its entire hotel estate would switch to bulk-size bathroom amenities, with the transition to be completed during 2021. It was before the pandemic that IHG made this announcement, so it is understandable that the company did not reach its goal by the end of last year. That said, it did make a lot of headway and just this past week it announced a global collaboration with Unilever to replace bathroom miniatures with bulk amenities in more than 4,000 hotels in IHG’s mainstream brands. All IHG markets are now covered by bulk bathroom amenity contracts. (In some markets, hotels have a choice of supplier so a different full-size amenity brand may be adopted.)
The roll out of full-size Unilever products across IHG’s mainstream brands, which accounts for around 80 percent of IHG’s portfolio, follows the recent launch of larger-size bathroom amenities into InterContinental Hotels & Resorts properties.
Picture five fully-grown blue whales or 70 double-decker London buses. Each is the equivalent of the amount of plastic (850 tons annually) that IHG expects to save. Other brands and independents have made similar commitments. Kudos to all of them for keeping plastic and what ultimately becomes microplastics out of our environment.
The End for Bathroom Miniatures
Yasmin Diamond, Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “IHG has pioneered the move to minimal waste in the hospitality industry and we’re excited to spell the end of bathroom miniatures through our collaboration with Unilever. Our guests are increasingly mindful of the impact their travel choices have on the environment and our colleagues, investors, owners, and suppliers all expect us to act responsibly. Transitioning to bulk amenities across our global estate was one of our first significant steps towards eliminating single-use items throughout the guest stay by 2030. We’ll continue to find innovative solutions for operating more sustainably to deliver our purpose of True Hospitality for Good.”
IHG’s commitment to pioneer the transformation to a minimal waste hospitality industry forms part of its 10-year Journey to Tomorrow responsible business plan, which includes a series of ambitious targets to drive positive change for people, communities and the planet. As well as switching to bulk amenities, the group is working to eliminate single-use items, minimize food waste and adopt circular solutions for major hotel commodity items by 2030.
Across IHG’s global estate, total waste was reduced by 19 percent in 2021 compared to 2019. Of course, the pandemic resulted in some of this drop but for its owned hotels, the total waste per occupied room decreased by 45.4 percent between 2019 and 2021, demonstrating the efforts its hotels have made to reduce waste across the guest stay. Very impressive.
“We are pleased with our progress but recognize there is still a long way to go until we achieve our target of becoming a minimal waste hospitality company,” the company said in its 2021 Responsible Business Report.
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