IHG is stepping up its war on waste in a big way with the introduction of some initiatives that make a difference to the world, and the hotel bottom line.

In July, it announced a world first with its bold pledge to migrate its entire global estate of more than 5,700 hotels to bulk-size bathroom amenities, with the transition to be completed during 2021.

The ‘A Greener Stay’ initiative has been heralded as a big win for both the environment and the bottom line. Guests are incentivised to opt out of housekeeping in return for IHG Rewards Club points for each night they stay. Since the start of 2019, more than 17,100 room nights have  activated the offer in Australasia, saving up to 68,000 toiletries and more than $250,000 in costs.

IHG is also making a difference through meaningful partnerships that support its global responsibility pillars. First and foremost is its ‘Awesome Partnership’ with OzHarvest – one of Australia’s best-known charities – which kicked off at the start of September and sees them working together on:

  1. Food Rescue: fighting food waste by rescuing surplus food across its network
  2. Nourish Program: funding at least 10 Scholarships for at-risk youths (16-25 years old) to earn a Certificate II or III in Hospitality, as well as providing on-the-job training, mentoring, hotel visits, work experience and engagement opportunities with IHG’s F&B teams.

The collaboration between the two parties will not only reduce waste and help people in need, it will assist in the industry-wide skills shortage by introducing and training new talent to come into hospitality – which is a top priority for the industry.

Ronni Kahn, CEO & Founder, OzHarvest: “A partnership is valuable when values are aligned, and what’s so beautiful with IHG and OzHarvest is we are both committed to sustainability and the health and wellbeing of our community. There is surplus in our community whether we like it or not: IHG creates food, we need food, so it makes sense that we work together to rescue surplus food and feed hungry Australians. It’s also an extraordinary opportunity for a young kid who would never, ever that opportunity without the synergies between IHG and OzHarvest.“

To accelerate waste reduction, IHG hotels are implementing Winnow Vision – a tool that allows kitchens to track and reduce food waste using artificial intelligence. It’s up and running in 10 Australasian hotels, and the great news is that the implementation cost is outweighed by food and waste collection costs.

Beyond plastic and food waste, nearly all IHG hotels are working with Soap Aid to collect, sort, clean and reprocess hotel soap into fresh, hygienic soap bars for distribution to targeted communities around the world.

Leanne Harwood, Managing Director – Australasia & Japan:

“The hospitality industry has an important role to play in sustainability, and IHG is so genuinely proud to be a leader, both here in Australasia and globally. It makes sense that we don’t try to do it alone, instead we partner with the experts who are already making a difference in Australia every day, and we are so excited by the amazing force for good we can be together.”