Name: Catherine Dolton
Title: Vice President, Global Corporate Responsibility
Years in Current Position: 1+ years
Primary Responsibilities: “My primary job is working with our team—making sure everything we do is embedded in operations. I also work on collaborations—with ITP, AHLA and other organizations.”
Organization’s most significant accomplishment in the area of global corporate responsibility: “Our bulk amenities announcement—a real mark in the sand. I came into my role at the end of 2018. We made the announcement in July 2019. It shows the power of IHG. It is companies like ours that need to take the lead.”
Organization’s most significant challenge moving forward in the area of global corporate responsibility: “There are a lot of areas we are looking at. As we grow, we are adding more rooms and more carbon footprint. Working with our owners to reduce the carbon footprint.”
DENHAM, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, U.K.—Having spent most of her IHG career in finance and investor relations—18 years—Catherine Dolton brought a strong business background into her role of Vice President, Global Corporate Responsibility that she began in late 2018. That experience has proven critical as Dolton leads efforts to green up IHG’s operations and guide its work in helping to strengthen the communities in which IHG has its more than 5,900 hotels.
Last year was a busy one for Dolton. In July, IHG announced that its entire hotel estate of almost 843,000 guestrooms will switch to bulk-size bathroom amenities, with the transition to be completed during 2021. Building on its efforts to reduce plastic waste as part of a broader sustainability agenda, the pledge made IHG the first global hotel company to commit all brands to removing bathroom miniatures in favor of bulk-size amenities.
In October, IHG announced a global partnership with JA (Junior Achievement) Worldwide, one of the world’s largest youth-serving NGOs, which focuses on preparing young people for future employment and entrepreneurship. Shortly after the JA announcement, IHG revealed that 160,000 colleagues from its hotels and corporate offices in 88 countries around the world took part in its second annual Giving for Good month, which is dedicated to making a positive difference to communities.
Also in 2019, IHG established a policy of giving two days off to employees for volunteering. This is in addition to vacation and other leave.
Commitment to Science-Based Target
This year marks the end of IHG’s 2018-2020 target of reducing carbon per occupied room by 6 to 7 percent. While IHG has not yet announced its next carbon reduction target, Dolton says the company is committed to making it a science-based one. Every IHG hotel has a carbon reduction target and it is tracked through IHG’s Green Engage system.
In addition to carbon, in her role as Vice President, Global Corporate Responsibility, Dolton also oversees efforts in the area of water and waste reduction. IHG is a member of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and supports its water stewardship initiatives. “For water we have water stewardship goals,” Dolton says. “We are looking at more of what we can do with waste. We have food waste pilots in place. We will continue to work on how you can measure food waste better. We are looking at what NGOs we can work with that could take furniture waste.”
Goal setting is part of Dolton’s responsibilities. “I am heavily involved,” she says. “I learned more than I could have ever imagined over the last 15 months. It is my team working with experts.” Dolton currently works with a team of 16 others leading corporate responsibility efforts. They are based in Shanghai, the United Kingdom, and Atlanta.
New reduction targets will be announced this year, Dolton says. Coming soon is IHG’s 2019 responsible business report. Also on IHG’s agenda this year is the revamping of its Green Engage system and a look at how it can better work with local communities.
When asked how her current work has gone so far, Dolton says, “So far, so good. I am absolutely loving it. Other leaders within IHG have been fantastic role models for me.”
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.