IHG's 10-year 'Journey to Tomorrow' includes initiatives on community and environmental improvement.

Five overarching ambitions have been outlined by IHG Hotels & Resorts as part of a new 10-year humanitarian and sustainability-driven action plan designed to improve the environment in which its hotels operate and its guests travel.

The decade-long roadmap, dubbed the ‘Journey to Tomorrow’, is underpinned by the company’s ‘True Hospitality for Good’ operating mantra to help shape the future of responsible travel. The formation of the plan comes as newly commissioned OnePoll research of more than 9,000 adults around the world revealed consumers are more frequently selecting their hotel based on its community and environmental footprint.

This overall research, of which 1,000 respondents were from Australia, found 60% wanted to be more environmentally conscious on their travels. Among the Australian contingent specifically, 70% of younger travellers aged 18-24 categorised themselves in a similar vein, a figure which was concurred by only 39% of those aged 55 and over.

VIDEO: Check out IHG Hotels and Resorts’ 10-year plan in this special video.

The five outlined ambitions focus on diversity within the workforce, improving the lives of the communities in which hotels operate, reducing energy use, transforming to a minimal waste operating standard and water conservation.

For its workforce, IHG Hotels has set itself the goal of achieving a gender balance and doubling the representation of under-represented groups across its leadership structure. Within local communities, the company says it will roll out new skills training and innovation and provide greater levels of support to help against natural disasters and food poverty.

The plan incorporates a science-based target of 15% overall energy reduction in its direct operations and 46% per square metre of franchise operations, with newbuild hotels to be operating from day one with a very low to zero output on carbon emissions. Renewable energy will play a greater role, with a greater reliance and focus on how to implement green energy systems into hotel operations.

IHG plans to increase its use of renewable energy by as much as half across franchise operations.

Furthermore, company-wide moves to eliminate single-use items and transition to reusable and recyclable alternatives has already been outlined, with the plan calling for greater levels of collaboration to find circular solutions for major hotel commodities. Food waste will also be subject to more stringent and robust structures, with a ‘prevent, donate, divert’ path for food waste. Tools will be implemented to minimise the water usage of hotels, with local collaborations to ensure local communities can access water, sanitation and hygiene conditions as needed.

Writing in an open letter, IHG Hotels and Resorts CEO, Keith Barr, said the response among the business community to the COVID-19 pandemic was enormous when considering the scale of available resources, expertise and compassion.

“Journey to Tomorrow embodies IHG’s strengthened commitment to make sure we do what’s right, not just what’s needed,” he said.

IHG Chief Executive, Keith Barr.

“We want every IHG stakeholder to see that we’re on a journey to be successful in every sense of the word, and we are determined to contribute towards positive social and economic change, to stand up for key issues such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and human rights, and to make more responsible environmental choices.

“I believe that how we grow as a company and work to be a greater force for good are inextricably linked. So, we are empowering our colleagues, and working together with our hotel owners and our industry to help shape the future of responsible travel. It’s never been more crucial that we do.”

CLICK HERE to read Barr’s letter in full.