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IHG’s ambitious commitments to change the planet

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IHG Commitments to planetIHG Hotels & Resorts, one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has today launched Journey to Tomorrow, a series of ambitious new commitments to make a positive difference for our people, communities and planet over the next decade.

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

Doing what’s right, not just what’s needed

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

He said: “Journey to Tomorrow embodies IHG’s strengthened commitment to make sure we do what’s right, not just what’s needed. 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% saying it is important to choose a hotel brand that operates responsibly. In fact, research found consumers will spend an average of 31% 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% 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% among travellers aged 18-24, compared to 36% 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. 86% of people say it is important to get to know the local community when visiting somewhere new. And more than half of respondents (57%) 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.”

Our Journey to Tomorrow, together

Progress is best achieved when we work together, and we will collaborate closely with those who stay, work and partner with us, and empower our people to make a difference in helping us get there. Our plan sets out five clear ambitions, building on our long-term commitments and achievements, including the progress made against our 2018-2020 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 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 & energy: Reduce our energy use and carbon emissions in line with climate science

– Implement a 2030 science-based target that delivers 15% absolute reduction in our direct operations, and a 46% per m2 reduction in franchise operations

– Target 100% 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

Find out more

– An open letter from IHG’s CEO, Keith Barr: We invite everyone to read an open letter from our CEO, sharing his thoughts on the future of responsible travel and the role of business in driving the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda.

– Join us on the journey: You can visit IHG’s Journey to Tomorrow web pages to find out more about our plan, ambitions and detailed commitments, and to follow our progress. On social follow the hashtag #IHGJourneytoTomorrow

– Follow our progress: Journey to Tomorrow builds on the progress we have made as part of our 2018-2020 responsible business targets. A detailed update on this will be shared in our 2020 Responsible Business Report to be published in March 2021.

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