IHG reconfirms water stewardship commitment for World Water Week

IHG's Green Engage program helps hotels tackle sustainability issues

IHG's Green Engage program helps hotels tackle sustainability issues

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) is marking SIWI World Water Week with updates on its water stewardship programme.

The global hotel group has released details of the progress made with its water stewardship programme, as well as a number of other water-related initiatives it has been involved in.

In partnership with global water-use experts, Water Footprint Network (WFN), IHG has mapped its global estate of more than 5,000 open properties and the majority of its pipeline hotels against risks related to both water quantity and water quality. They have also identified the actions needed to address these risks.

IHG first announced its global water stewardship programme last year and the mapping work represents the hospitality industry’s most comprehensive water risk assessment to date. It provides the foundation for IHG to develop tailored water stewardship action plans for each individual hotel based on considerations such as the maturity of the property, the type and level of risk and the business case for tackling it.

The targeted actions will enable hotels to manage and mitigate water risk, by measuring and monitoring water usage, improving their water performance and resilience against local water challenges whilst engaging staff, guests and external stakeholders in water stewardship.

Paul Snyder, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility – Environmental Sustainability, IHG, said, “We have a presence in nearly 100 countries, so addressing water usage across our more than 5,000 hotels presents a significant environmental and economic opportunity for both IHG and the communities in which we operate. The comprehensive analysis we have developed with Water Footprint Network puts us in a strong position to empower our hotels to make a positive difference in their local communities through water stewardship.”

Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network, said, “Working closely with IHG, we have laid the foundations to transform the way its hotels use water and impact local water resources. With this work completed, IHG is poised to take a leadership position in implementing water stewardship across its global portfolio. As we tackle the specific challenges its hotels face at a local level, we look forward to applying our deep insights and taking the next steps in IHG’s journey towards water sustainability.”

In 2014 IHG took part in a private stakeholder engagement event hosted by ITP for its member companies, where water was highlighted as the top concern for hotels to address. On the back of a Water Risk Assessment report commissioned from SIWI which pin pointed the key global regions for water risk in terms of scarcity and quality, and on taking advice from a range of stakeholders at the event, it became clear that whilst group-wide efforts to mitigate risk were useful, truly effective measures needed to be region – and property – specific.

IHG’s conservation and sustainability dashboard - Green Engage - allows all its hotels to access a range of measures to tackle a broad spectrum of environmental, social and sustainability issues.

IHG Green Engage™ system

  • IHG’s partnership with the Water Footprint Network builds on the progress IHG is already making to reduce water consumption per occupied room in water-stressed areas, one of the company’s 2013-2017 Corporate Responsibility targets.
  • IHG currently helps its hotels to manage freshwater usage through the online environmental sustainability tool, IHG Green Engage™ system.
  • The company’s global estate of more than 5,000 hotels are enrolled and the tool will incorporate key elements of IHG’s water stewardship programme.
  • The system gives hotels access to more than 200 specific actions – or ‘Green Solutions’ – designed to reduce hotels’ environmental impact.
  • There are nearly 30 Green Solutions devoted solely to water.
  • These include the ability to track consumption on a monthly basis, as well as guidance on more specific water-saving solutions such as metering, rainwater harvesting, and the installation of devices such as low-flow taps and showerheads.
  • Such solutions have helped IHG drive a near 5% reduction in water use per occupied room in water-stressed areas to the end of 2015.

Water Conservation in California, US

  • Following severe drought in California, in 2014, IHG sent water conservation kits to all IHG-branded hotels based in the state.
  • As a result of water conservation efforts such as this, water use per occupied room decreased by 10% in IHG’s California hotels between 2014 and 2015, with total water consumption reduced by 5%.
  • Six IHG hotels in the state have also gone on to complete a bathroom refresh, and collectively are expected to save 2.4m gallons of water annually.
  • More recently we sent out kits to a further 50 further properties in the Americas.

Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI)

IHG has also played a leading role in the development of HWMI as a member of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP).

Announced this week, HWMI provides a standard methodology for the hotel industry to measure and report on water consumption in a consistent manner. HWMI can be downloaded for free and used by any hotel of any size anywhere in the world to measure and record its water use. Following the success of the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) launched in 2012, HWMI will become the universally recognised industry tool and metric for measuring water in hotels and is the result of collaboration between 18 leading global hotel groups.

Leave a Reply