InterContinental Hotel Group – IHG – has released its latest responsible business targets for the company to 2020, as well as reporting on their progress to 2017.
IHG is one of the supporters of the International Tourism Partnership - ITP’s - Goals  for the hotel industry which were launched last year, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and focused on carbon, water, human rights and youth employment.
Published in their online 2017 Responsible Business Report , the new 2018-2020 targets focus on four areas where the company believes it can have the most positive impact: environmental sustainability, community impact, its people and responsible procurement.
Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, IHG, said, “Many companies have responsible business commitments, but with hotels in local communities all over the world, IHG touches the lives of millions of people. This puts us in a unique position to make a real difference – whether that be doing the right thing for the environment, providing skills and employment to local people, or stepping up to help communities in times of need. “We are very proud of our achievements against our five-year responsible business targets, which reflect the dedication and support of our people, hotel owners and partners globally. However, we know that there’s always more to do and our new targets are testament to our ongoing commitment to build on our successes and to play an ever more positive role in local communities around the world.”
IHG reported progress in a number of areas, such as driving a reduction in carbon and water usage across its hotels globally and providing skills to thousands of people living in the local communities around them. They garnered external recognition for their efforts, including being named an industry leader for sustainability  in the 2017 S&P Dow Jones Sustainability Indices – the most prestigious global benchmarks for corporate economic, environmental and social performance.
Against their 2013-17 target to help 40,000 people improve skills through IHG Academy they saw nearly 50,000 people targeted. Through the Academy, they continued to improve people’s employability, by partnering with local community organisations and education providers like YCI – the Youth Career Initiative - to grow careers in the hospitality industry. In 2017 alone, IHG provided skills to nearly 14,000 people.
Using the Green Engage™ system, their group-wide sustainability programme, IHG reduced its carbon footprint per occupied room by 15%, including a 27% reduction across their managed hotels.
The company reduced water use per occupied room in water-stressed areas by 5% from 2013-2017. They didn’t achieve their five-year target of 12%, but drove a 15% reduction in water use across managed hotels.
IHG has now set its targets for 2018 to 2020. The company has worked closely with owners, suppliers, colleagues and external stakeholders to set 11 new targets that will guide its work over the next three years. These stretching targets focus on four areas where they feel they can make the greatest positive impact – environmental sustainability, community impact, their people, and responsible procurement. They support ITP’s Goals in that they are also aligned to support several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
IHG say: We are on a journey to continuously improve the ways we work, to minimise our impacts and to be a force for positive change around the world. Building on the progress we've made in recent years, we have set new targets to deliver on these ambitions.
Their targets now include a further 6-7% reduction of carbon footprint per occupied room; to launch two water stewardship projects per year; to support another 30,000 - 40,000 individuals with hospitality skills training through the IHG Academy; to raise $3m to support communities via the IHG Foundation; to boost diversity and the percentage of women employed with the company; and to improve sustainability in the supply chain.
ITP is developing the roadmap to achieve the Goals for 2030  and works to help IHG collaborate with other leading hotel groups to move nearer to achieving these targets.