IHG Hotels and Resorts has announced a 10-year internal sustainability program that the hotel company says offers “a set of commitments to drive change for people, communities and the planet.”

The program, called Journey to Tomorrow, focuses on five internal ‘ambitions’ for the company:
• People: Championing a diverse culture where everyone can thrive
• Communities: Improving the lives of 30 million people in IHG communities around the world
• Carbon and Energy: Reducing energy use and carbon emissions in line with climate science
• Waste: Pioneering the transformation to a minimal waste hospitality industry
• Water: Conserving water and help secure water access in those areas at greatest risk

The aims of the program reflect the results of an IHG global survey of more than 9,000 adults which showed that 82 percent of respondents said it is important to choose a hotel brand that operates responsibly, and consumers will spend an average of 31 percent per night more on accommodation that meets this need, a finding backed up by other research into consumers’ sentiment  about the environmental impact of travel.

In more detail under the five broad goals, the program sets out specific objectives:
People 
• 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 – 
• 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 – 
• Implement a 2030 science-based target that delivers 15 percent absolute reduction in direct operations, and a 46 percent per square meter 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 –
• 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 – 
Focus on those hotels operating in the areas of highest water risk to:
• Implement tools to reduce the water footprint of 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 the hotel group’ operating
communities.

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

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

ihg.com