World Water Week sees hotel giant announce water stewardship programme

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced the appointment of global water-use experts, the Water Footprint Network, to develop a worldwide water stewardship programme for the hotel group.

The announcement comes during the first day of World Water Week and will see IHG and the Water Footprint Network analyse IHG’s water usage in over 100 countries across the world.

The partnership will build on the progress IHG is making to reduce water consumption per occupied room in ‘water-stressed’ areas, one of the company’s 2013-2017 Corporate Responsibility targets.

They aim to have reduced water consumption in these areas by 12% by 2017. 2014 figures show that they have currently lowered consumption by 4.2% from the 2012 baseline figure.

IHG vice-president of corporate responsibility Paul Snyder commented: “We are delighted to add the Water Footprint Network’s expertise to the great work we’re doing towards achieving our reduction targets around water consumption.

“IHG has a presence in nearly 100 countries, so ensuring we are good water stewards locally generates significant environmental and economic benefits for both IHG and the communities in which we operate.”

Engage online

IHG’s Corporate Responsibility targets saw the launch of the company’s online environmental sustainability tool, IHG Green Engage system.

The system allows hotels to monitor how much carbon, and energy they are using, as well as to assess how waste is managed. IHG’s global estate of more than 4,900 hotels is enrolled, giving them access to more than 200 specific actions – or ‘Green Solutions’ – 30 of which are devoted to water management.

These include the ability to track consumption on a monthly basis, as well as guidance on more specific water-saving solutions such as metering, rainwater harvesting, and the installation of devices such as low-flow taps and showerheads.

Where’s water?

IHG owns a global estate of more than 4,900 hotels across 100 countries. There are currently seven IHG hotels in Singapore, four in Bahrain and three in Qatar. While these countries are popular tourist destinations, they also score 5.00 on the baseline water stress score.

Singapore is densely populated and has no freshwater lakes or aquifers, and its demand for water far exceeds its naturally occurring supply. However, along with IHG’s 12% target, the country is consistently held up as an exceptional water manager. Singapore invests heavily in technology, international agreements, and responsible management, allowing it to meet its freshwater demands.

The UN’s guide to water scarcity

The UN estimates that by 2025, 1.8bn people will be living in regions with ‘absolute water scarcity’. They also state that energy and agricultural sectors “must be held accountable” for their vast water consumption.

Matt Mace

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