Prevue May-June 2014 - (Page 16)
The InterContinental Hotel Group
Over 2,600 hotels carrying out forward-thinking environmental initiatives
Montego Bay Boys and Girls Club
Chef Pinheiro, InterContinental São Paulo
hef Marcelo Pinheiro makes the hike to InterContinental
São Paulo's Rooftop Green Garden just about every day.
The rooftop marks the spot where all of the herbs used
in Tarsila Restaurant's French-Brazilian cuisines are grown and
harvested. And although it's not a particularly long or arduous
journey for Pinheiro, it's one that is making large strides in
corporate social responsibility.
The garden is just one way that the InterContinental Hotel
Group (IHG) is walking the talk on sustainability. Last year, more
than 16,000 green solutions were implemented across 4,500
hotels globally-serving food and drink with china plates, cups
and glasses, harnessing natural light in meeting spaces and using
occupancy sensors in restrooms are some of the smaller gestures
that are already reaping big rewards.
Between 2012 and 2013, IHG reduced their overall carbon
imprint and water use by 2.4 and 4.6 percent, respectively, per
occupied room. They're on track to reach a 12 percent reduction
in both categories by 2017. Research shows 70 percent of
frequent travelers prefer to stay at hotels that are engaged with
their environment, making these stats an impressive feat.
"We view CSR as a mandate and a duty," remarks Paula
Casas, IHG's marketing manager for Mexico, Latin America &
Caribbean. "It's a combination of avoiding the unnecessary use of
resources, coupled with maximizing the process of reusing and
recycling materials-especially in parts of the world where the
environmental process is newer."
Casas says the Sãn Paulo hotel is launching an
ambitious food composting program this year to further offset
environmental impact. The initiative gives momentum to Green
Engage, which corrals over 2,600 of IHG's hotels into a singular
sustainable mindset. IHG is currently the only hotel to launch
such a comprehensive environmental management system for
their hotels-more than this, it's working.
Overall hotel and resort energy consumption has dropped
25 percent since launching Green Engage. It goes way beyond
recycling, reusing table linens and menu planning into a world of
forward-thinking design initiatives that assess suitable building
sites and biodiversity risks. Perfectly on cue, technology is also
helping to propel the sustainability message forward.
In InterContinental Sãn Paulo's lobby and just outside its
meeting rooms, screens are relaying event schedules in dynamic,
earth-friendly ways. Before getting down to business, planners
can calculate the carbon footprint of their meetings with IHG's
greenhouse gas emission calculator.
"The reality that we need to help preserve our environment
is not a theory, it is a cold reality," asserts Casas. "Sustainability is
as much about working to not generate more waste as it is about
ideas of what to do once the waste is created."
Sustainability is also facilitated through connections that are
built between people and their environments. With IHG's Insider
Collection, groups are plunged into insider locations, speakers,
community projects and interactions and breaks throughout the
worlds. Whether dining in Winston Churchill's war time bunker,
learning how to prepare the famed Brazilian dessert Brigadeiro,
cleaning up the River Thames or entering the shadowy world of
British espionage during an in-depth tour of the top spy places,
it's easy for planners to get in sync with IHG's mission.
"We can't continue to do things the way they have been
done in the past," Casas says. "We are way past viewing
sustainability as a trend." Thankfully, getting in stride with
going green is easy enough: If at ﬁrst you don't succeed, try
composting. - Johnalee Johnston
"The reality that we need to help preserve our environment is not
a theory, it is a cold reality."
16 | prevue magazine
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue May-June 2014
Planner’s Pick: Tucson
Fresh Meets: Trump Hotel Collection
Bureau Buzz: Meet Puerto Rico
Good Business: InterContinental Hotels
Sea Shores: Cruise Shipping Miami
The Changing Face of Luxury
SPECIAL SECTION: EUROPE
On Location: Toronto
On Location: Jamaica
On Location: Cancun Marriotts
On Location: Santa Barbara Curaçao
Checkout: SLS at Beverly Hills
Prevue May-June 2014