The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) (formerly known as Taj Hotels, Places and Resorts) is among Asia’s leading hospitality companies encompassing 165 hotels located around 80 locations globally, with over 20,000 rooms and 25,000 employees.
Launched in 1903 by Mr. Jamshedji Tata founder of the TATA group, IHCL offers a fusion of warm Indian hospitality and world-class service through a portfolio of hotels, resorts, jungle safaris, palaces & spas. Anchored to the pillars of Trust, Awareness and Joy, the group is focused on growing sustainably to bring about a positive change to the economy, society and environment and create value for all its stakeholders.
IHCL always strives to bring about a positive change to the economy, society, and environment, often going beyond the conventional boundaries and call of duty.
As a business operating in several places of touristic and historical importance, as well as in major cities, IHCL took a step forward to operate in a responsible manner in 2008 by joining the EarthCheck Certified Program to safeguard the environment and become the flagbearers of responsible tourism.
The journey began with the certification for 10 hotels and as of 2020 a total of 78 hotels are consciously working towards sustainable development, focusing on organic growth, conservation of energy, environment, and its resources, and community outreach. All properties follow TATA Group’s core values of integrity, excellence, unity, responsibility, pioneering spirit ingrained and their soul culture of ‘Tajness’ in everything they do.
So far 11 of the participating hotels have achieved an EarthCheck Platinum Certification, representing 10 continuous years of measuring, and monitoring social and environmental impact to ensure sustainable tourism management practices. The group has 61 EarthCheck Gold Certified hotels, the highest number of Gold Certified hotels in the program and four hotels that have achieved EarthCheck Silver Certification.
IHCL has been a proud recipient of numerous awards in the sustainability space including:
IHCL is firmly committed towards improving the triple bottom line indicators and constantly expanding on environmental and social initiatives. Programs include developing skills in local communities, and rolling out initiatives for employee wellbeing. With the Indian hospitality sector being one of the largest sectors in terms of economic growth and employment generation, its impact on society and the environment is also significant. Since Hospitality is highly resource intensive, the consumption of energy, water, food, and waste generation have significant impacts on society and the environment. By joining the EarthCheck Certification program IHCL was able to understand and establish policies and programs that contribute successfully to society and the environment.
In the endeavour to achieve increasingly sustainable operations, IHCL has aligned with International Standards such as the United Nations Global Compact which reflects their commitment for a sustainable future and their communication on environmental progress. The group supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), specifically Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth) and Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production) which positions the groups environmental and social programmes within the larger global context and sustainability agenda.
The group are also a member of India’s Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index under the Carbon Disclosure Project.
At the heart of IHCL’s growth story lie many small but impactful stories and initiatives that have helped shape the group’s vision for sustainable development. Since joining the EarthCheck Certification program, the group have stayed committed to nurturing a culture of responsibility and care towards the planet. IHCL have upped their sustainability quotient with focused efforts on conserving water, reducing carbon emissions, enhancing renewable energy use and phasing out of single-use plastics.
Water conservation is another frontier on which IHCL is rather active. IHCL Pledges to Reduce Water Intensity by 5% by 2021 across all its hotels. As the majority of the hotels are in India where potable water cannot be delivered, the hotels have created their own catchments and treat water onsite.
The group has deployed a strategy of educating the staff and encouraging them to identify best practices for water-saving.
Seven of IHCL’s award-winning hotels have eliminated PET bottles entirely. Today, all seven hotels have their own in-house bottling units. The company has also launched a Water SMART contest wherein all hotels participate to initiate a water intensity reduction project for three months and the model of the winning hotel / hotels is scaled across all hotels as a best practice.
On Earth Hour 2018, IHCL pledged to phase out single-use plastics from all its hotels. Waste management is an integral part of the groups environment management endeavours, with 24 properties achieving 100% recycling, resulting in no waste being sent to landfill. The hotels that are located away from the city in some very challenging environments, have built their own sewerage treatment plants and waste management systems to dispose waste efficiently
There has been considerable growth in the use of renewable energy, IHCL has scaled up the renewable energy quotient from 7% to 23% over the years after joining the EarthCheck Certified Program and have reduced their carbon footprint by 18%.
All the hotels also participate in the Earth Hour initiative every year to raise their voice for nature through the symbolic action of switching off lights. Each year the hotels are assigned performance targets to reduce environmental impact. The progress for these targets is reviewed annually through the delivery of the EarthCheck benchmarking and certification program.
In its journey to sustainability IHCL has achieved EarthCheck Certification for 78 of its hotels which have generated significant savings through participating in the EarthCheck Certified programme.
IHCL ensures constant engagement with people in the regions they work in, helping them hone their skills, even employing them in their hotels. IHCL is helping the women from the weaving community to break through the glass ceiling and enter the weaving profession through a Female Weavers’ Training programme. Equally rewarding is IHCL’s work with the Pardhi tribes, once reviled as one of India’s ‘hunting tribes’ by providing training of Pardhis, to leverage their natural tracking talent to offer an immersive and interactive wilderness experience to the travellers.
For over a century, IHCL has been inextricably linked to preserving India’s heritage, as well as providing a sustainable platform that preserves and promotes Indigenous art and culture.For over a century, IHCL has been inextricably linked to preserving India’s heritage, as well as providing a sustainable platform that preserves and promotes Indigenous art and culture.
The Palaces, historically known to be the home of the Kings and the royal families that lived in India, are gracefully transitioned into hotels by the group. IHCL has been leading the refurbishment of the palaces and have taken the leadership to conserve these historical monuments. IHCL add value to the destination’s in which they operate by preserving old architecture and promoting local culture and traditions and constantly design meaningful and diverse experiences to engage guests.
IHCL is often credited for the creation of tourism squares at The Gateway of India in Mumbai. The group’s flagship hotel The Taj Mahal Palace overlooks this important landmark. IHCL has collaborated with municipal authorities, local police and coast guard teams to ensure traffic management, maintenance and cleanliness of this heritage precinct.
Conservation and preservation of the wild habitat and its equally wild denizens are at the core of IHCL’s sustainability policies. The group works with forest officials, local authorities, and communities to ensure habitat conservation. They also adopt the policy of cutting no trees while building the hotels in ecologically fragile habitats and harness the three Ts—tigers, tribes and tourism to create a successful sustainable initiative across all the Taj Safari Hotels to protect wildlife in National Parks. The hotels in environmentally sensitive areas near natural parks, forests and fragile coastlines are constructed using local materials and eco-friendly design. IHCL provides their guests with the opportunity to participate in preserving the natural beauty of the locations they visit, through projects for turtle conservation and coral reef restoration.
IHCL is confident that the culture of collaboration, inclusion and commitment to create shared value among all stakeholders will help them achieve the sustainability goals for their business.
Through participating in the EarthCheck Certified Program, the group has eliminated two million plastic straws across all its properties. Their renewable energy proportion has taken a leap of 24% from 7% in the past three years. The group has invested in water efficient infrastructure and has constantly worked towards ambitious targets for emissions reduction. The hotels located in environmentally sensitive areas have a range of projects that include turtle conservation and coral reef conservation, protecting heritage sites and supporting neighbours through needs-based activities.
HCL have taken significant steps to implement best practices for Guest and Associate Safety, the key one being their collaboration with a premier institute NITIE, to enhance the skills & leadership capabilities for Sustainability by training their Chief Engineers on a specific module developed jointly by IHCL & NITIE. This initiative is also a step towards mitigating the safety risk at the hotels as IHCL continues to play a leading role within the hospitality sector.
In this rapidly transforming world, sustainability goals will certainly evolve as the industry grows and new needs arise in the society.
However, the group is committed to creating shared value for all the stakeholders and communities, with the planet to continue to remain the bedrock of their strategy.
From baby steps to giant strides for a brighter future, IHCL is set to march ahead with a relentless pursuit of excellence, innovation and story of nurturing, sustaining and empowering sustainability as they continue to raise the standards in luxury and hospitality. With inclusion and business responsibility embedded in their DNA, IHCL continue to weave a ‘thread of intent’ by making a difference in communities where the hotels operate.
There are more than 476 million Indigenous Peoples, found in all regions of the world, from the Arctic to the tropical forests. They make up more than 6 per cent of our global population.
In the spirit of reconciliation, EarthCheck acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout the world and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Indigenous Peoples today.
EarthCheck acknowledges that Indigenous Peoples are guardians of the forests and biodiversity hotspots we all depend on. Research shows that lands managed by Indigenous Peoples, with secure rights, experience lower deforestation rates, store more carbon, hold more biodiversity, and benefit more people than other lands — including protected areas.
We recognise and support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration is a positive document that maps out a path for Indigenous Peoples to be free from discrimination and secure in their identities and life choices.
EarthCheck science and products were developed by the Australian Government Sustainable Tourism Co-operative Research Centre (STCRC) over ten years. Our science is reviewed annually to ensure that it meets international standards relative to greenhouse gas protocols, responsible tourism, and certification.
EarthCheck products and services are built on the Agenda 21 principles for Sustainable Development endorsed by 182 Heads of State at the United Nations Rio De Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 and aligned to the SDGs.
EarthCheck Certified provides a framework for organisations to achieve the desired outcomes for sustainable development as set out in the final report of the World Summit for Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002.
EarthCheck Certified complies with the Mohonk Agreement (2000), which outlines the guidelines and principles for an international sustainable tourism certification program. It is also a Recognised program of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
EarthCheck Certified is a verification standard accepted by CDP. It is also an approved program of the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA), London & Partners, the Mexican Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) and the City of Sydney.
EarthCheck Certified is an approved program for meeting the EU Energy Directive for the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle – BAFA) in Germany and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy) in the Netherlands.
EarthCheck partners with international research organisations to maintain the currency of EarthCheck science and our benchmarking systems.
The EarthCheck brand signifies scientific excellence, better environmental, economic, and social performance, improved community interactions, and savings through more efficient use of resources. It provides recognition and promotional support to a global consumer market.