Chief Executive Message
What is the role of hotels in 21st century society?
As the world’s largest hotel group1 we understand that the role of hotels in society goes beyond selling hotel rooms. We must act responsibly and build trust in our brands.
Building trust and being a responsible business are fundamental. Our size and scale give us a big responsibility. The great news is that doing the right thing strengthens our reputation and reinforces trust in our brands. It shows, for instance, that we’re listening to our stakeholders. A growing number of our guests want to make sustainable choices and lots of our corporate clients want proof of our green credentials.
We treat CR as a strategic business issue, and an integral part of our vision to become one of the world’s great companies by creating Great Hotels Guests Love. At the same time, we’re working to make our brands even stronger by becoming BrandHearted, putting our brands at the heart of everything we do in order to offer a more consistent experience for our guests and owners.
Our approach to CR is based on innovation and collaboration. We partner with some of the best organisations around in order to find new ways to tackle the challenges we all face. These include Harvard University, U.S. Green Building Council (makers of the LEED green building certification system), BiTC (Business in the Community), the World Travel and Tourism Council and CARE, who are helping us deliver our disaster relief programme.
IHG has strong foundations in place and is forging a reputation for taking an industry lead in CR. In 2011 we became the first hotel company to be aligned to LEED for an existing hotel programme Green Engage. Green Engage is central to the environmental element of our strategy and we continue to invest in it, having recently launched version 2.0 of the system that helps our hotels manage energy costs.
Our Community Strategy concentrates our efforts on the areas where IHG, as a hotel company, can have the most positive impact in our local communities. Our community involvement means a lot to me. I’m particularly keen to give more people better access to career opportunities in hospitality, so I am very excited about the IHG Academy. The IHG Academy is a public/private partnership that helps us create local economic opportunity in the communities around our hotel and corporate offices. This year, the IHG Academy will be developing in Greater China, the UK, USA and Australia, and in other countries in the very near future. In fact, in February we launched our latest IHG Academy in Newham, East London, attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.
The nature of our business also allows us to make a real difference in local communities when disaster strikes. We have a long history of pulling together to provide shelter in a storm in our hotels and recognise that we have a real opportunity to use our size and scale for even more positive good. Under the IHG Shelter in a Storm Programme, we are reinforcing the great work we already do by developing standard operating procedures that will help us respond more effectively when natural and manmade disasters occur. We are working with our new global charity partner CARE on this important disaster relief programme.
This report shows how we put our CR thinking into practice, providing a clear and transparent record of what we’ve achieved and what we need to do better. We don’t pretend to have all the answers and we acknowledge there are areas we can improve. But we believe that striving to take an industry lead and making CR a genuine part of our overall strategy to create brands and hotels that our guests and owners trust and always prefer will enable us to play a leading role in 21st century society.
Our online sustainability tool, Green Engage, enables us to measure, manage and report on the environmental and other CR impacts of our hotels across the IHG system as well as driving human rights and community engagement. It provides Green Solutions for both new and existing hotels in four different climatic regions. These recommendations cover design, operations and technologies aimed at reducing energy, water and waste, cutting carbon emissions, improving guest health and comfort, reducing operating and maintenance costs, and raising guest and staff awareness of sustainability issues. Read more about Green Engage