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IHG strengthens its sustainable development strategy

For World Water Week 2016, InterContinental Hotels Group has examined its work through Water Footprint Network (WFN) to optimize its Water Steward Program in its hotels. Together, for one year, the two entities have identified the actions required in order to take up the challenge of the use of water in the group's properties.

The Water Footprint Network is an international organization that provides a Water Footprint Standard developed by Unesco-IHE and the University of Twente (the Netherlands) based on the real consumption of water effective at different stages of the production of a product or a service. 

The work accomplished by IHG together with WFN represents the fullest evaluation available concerning the challenges in connection to water use by the hotel industry. Using this data, IHG will elaborate tailor-made water management strategies for each hotel, taking into consideration the age of equipment, the type and level of challenges associated with each property and the level of investment required.

Targeted actions should make it possible for IHG group hotel to manage these challenges, by measuring and monitoring water use, improving their level of individual performance concerning the water quality and taking into consideration local challenges concerning water. These actions will involve making personnel, clients and external actors responsible for water stewardship.

The partnership between IHG and Water Footprint Network relies on the progress IHG has already made to reduce water consumption per occupied room in water stress zones, which is one of the goals for 2013-2017. IHG currently helps its hotels manage fresh water use thanks to  online environmental sustainability tool, IHG's Green Engage system. The system offers hotels access to more than 200 specific actions - or "Green Solutions" - that aim to reduce the environmental impact of hotels. There are close to 30 Green Solutions dedicated exclusively to water.

These solutions have enabled IHG to verify a nearly 5% reduction in water consumption per occupied room at the end of 2015 in water stress zones. They have also enabled IHG hotels to to maintain a lower level of consumption of water during the major droughts in California in 2014 and 2015, 50 other properties in the United States have received a similar kit since then.

As a member of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), IHG has also played a key role in the development of the HWMI (Hotel Water Measurement Initiative). Starting this week, the HWMI will provide the hotel industry with a standard method for measuring and reporting water consumption in a coherent manner.

Paul Snyder, Vice President RSE at IHG: "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."

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