IHG's midscale brand launched in 2018 focuses on reducing environmental impact through a series of initiatives ranging from reducing plastic waste and using bedding made of recyclable materials, to its own honey production and several social responsibility projects.
IHG Green Engage: the backbone of the initiatives
IHG's internal Green Engage sustainability system, which holds a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) pre-certification, is the basis of the initiatives developed by the Group's brands. The system is an online environmental sustainability tool with four levels of certification that allows hotels to measure and manage their impact on the environment. Hotels can choose from more than 200 "green solutions" designed to help them reduce their consumption of energy, water and waste and reduce their impact on the environment. From the design and opening of the Gold Coast Voco in Australia in 2018, the brand's first establishment, and subsequently in other properties, initiatives are proving innovative and beneficial to the environment.
voco Gold Coast
One of the first actions implemented since the transformation of the old Watermark Hotel into the new 388-room voco hotel was the replacement of small plastic shampoo bottles with 220 ml dispensers filled with Aveda products. The idea of using Aveda products has been thought out in such a way as not to affect the customer experience while offering a quality alternative to the traditional small plastic bottles. Other initiatives include the phasing out of plastic water bottles from the mini-bar in the rooms by a large glass bottle of sparkling water and the use of bedding made from 100% recycled materials. Each duvet is made from 150 plastic bottles. The bed linen has also been approved by the "100% Better Cotton" initiative, contributing to the sustainable harvesting of cotton.
For the restaurant part and in partnership with the Gold Coast City Council, the hotel is participating in a project to recycle all its green waste and kitchen waste. Even the bags in which the waste is taken away are biodegradable. Executive Chef Daniel Smith strives to source local products whenever possible. The hotel produces its own honey on the roof where thousands of bees reside. The chefs then use the honey in the honey and lavender welcome shortbread cookies, the breakfast buffet and the Social House cocktail menu. Voco Gold Coast encourages its guests to have a more environmentally friendly stay by rewarding members who choose to make a positive impact on the environment during their stay.
Sustainability in line with its expansion
In the course of its evolution, the brand has expanded globally and has signed various agreements for future properties in the Yarra Valley, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as the rebranding and opening of a resort in Hunter Valley, in addition to other agreements around the world, including Thailand. By the end of 2019, voco had already implemented a paperless check-out system at two of its properties, an initiative that extends to all invoices, receipts and updates of the IHG Group's loyalty programme. Water consumption in the hotels has also been minimized through the use of aerated shower heads that reduce energy consumption.
The IHG Group ended 2019 with a hotel portfolio of 5,622 hotels worldwide with 837,915 rooms, placing it in 4th place in the top 10 hotel groups worldwide (Hospitality ON data). In 2020, the group is third on the European continent with 679 establishments or 107,217 rooms.
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