IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) has today announced that we will remove plastic straws from our global estate by the end of 2019, representing more than 5,400 hotels in nearly 100 countries. Plastic straws have already been removed from nearly 1,000 hotels in our Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA) region and we are introducing bulk-size bathroom amenities to several hotel brands in the Americas, as part of broader efforts to reduce waste.
Keith Barr, CEO, IHG, commented: “IHG is in almost 100 countries and we touch the lives of millions of people each day. This gives us a responsibility to protect the environment and an opportunity to make a real difference. There is always more we can do to minimise waste, but the work we’re doing to reduce single-use plastic is a powerful example of how we can come together with guests, owners and colleagues to drive positive change.
“This work is not going unrecognised. Very recently we were named an industry leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the second year running, which is a real point of pride for us and recognition of the hard work and dedication of our people and partners around the world.”
Madhu Rajesh, Director, the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), commented: “IHG’s committed action to reduce plastic waste demonstrates its ability to be a force for good in local communities around the world. With initiatives like these, and through close industry collaboration, the hotel and tourism industry can continue to lead the way in setting clear and quantifiable commitments that improve sustainability. This was central to ITP’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals and allows our industry to be at the forefront of sustainable growth.”
Reducing waste through the removal of plastic drinking straws worldwide
Our decision to remove plastic straws from our global estate will eliminate an average of 50 million single-use plastic straws from more than 5,400 IHG-branded hotels each year. Laid end-to-end, the straws we remove would span some 10,500 kilometres – stretching from New York to Tokyo. The removal of plastic drinking straws will be implemented through a global brand standard, with biodegradable alternatives to be made available.
Bulk bathroom amenities in the Americas
We are introducing bulk-size bathroom amenities across several brands in our Americas region. Our Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites® brands are all increasing their adoption of larger-size dispensers. Our EVEN® Hotels and avid™ hotels brands have included bulk-size amenities since they were launched, and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants began rolling them out last year. Sustainability was also an important part of IHG’s approach to developing our new upscale brand, voco™ Hotels. We will seek to reduce single-use plastics by moving away from miniature bathroom amenities, working with the right suppliers to help us retain a quality feel, and we are exploring ways in which we can apply this approach to our other hotel brands.
As part of our longer-term plans, we already have a number of other waste reduction efforts already underway around the world that reinforce a long-standing commitment to managing our business responsibly.
• Through partnerships with Clean the World in the Americas and Soap for Hope in Asia, nearly 450 IHG-branded hotels have collectively prevented nearly 200,000 kg of soap from going to waste. Instead of heading to landfill, the soap has been recycled into nearly three million new bars for redistribution to communities who need it the most.
• IHG Green Engage™ system, our well-established online sustainability programme, recommends ways for IHG branded hotels worldwide to manage their waste more effectively. This includes guidance on how they can handle, store, recycle and dispose of waste both on and off-site, to minimise environmental impact and costs.