InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), a global hotel company, has announced the appointment of global wateruse experts, the Water Footprint Network, to develop a worldwide water stewardship programme for IHG.
“Through the water stewardship programme, we will provide the knowledge and tools necessary for IHG to take concrete actions and build awareness that will improve the fresh water resources their hotels rely on,” said Ruth Mathews, Executive Director, Water Footprint Network. “By assessing where its hotels contribute most severely to water scarcity or pollution, IHG will discover that it can use its influence to significantly alleviate pressures where they hit hardest.”
As part of the programme, IHG and the Water Footprint Network will develop a deep understanding of IHG’s water usage at a local level, applying best practice techniques and behaviours to manage and reduce its water footprint. The partnership will build 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 has more than 4,900 hotels in nearly 100 countries, so ensuring we are good water stewards locally generates significant environmental and economic benefits for both IHG and the communities in which we operate,” Paul Snyder, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility– Environmental Sustainability, IHG, told The Source. “Addressing water usage has been a key area of focus for us for some time. In 2013 we set a five-year target to reduce water per occupied room by 12 percent in water-stressed areas and to the end of 2014 we had already driven a 4.2 percent reduction.”
IHG helps its hotels to manage fresh water usage through the company’s online environmental sustainability tool, IHG Green Engage system. In addition to water, the system gives hotels the ability to track how much carbon, and energy they are using, as well as to assess how waste is managed.
“Hotels, as a sector, have a large impact on fresh water, and are often located in areas where water is scarce,” added Mathews. “Guests expect a consistent level of service and quality of facilities without consideration of local water issues. Finding ways for hotels to reduce water consumption is important especially in areas facing water scarcity.”