The Indian Hotels Company Limited:

Bringing a Positive Change

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GHG Emissions
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Since joining the EarthCheck Certified program in 2008.

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.

The Journey – The EarthCheck and IHCL Partnership

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 is proud of its track record to reduce its impact on the environment and privileged to be associated with an organisation as prestigious as EarthCheck.

- Dr P.V. Murthy, Executive Vice President & Global Head HR, IHCL


IHCL has been a proud recipient of numerous awards in the sustainability space including:

  • Golden Peacock Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance 2019
  • Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Social Responsibility 2019
  • Finalist in the World Hospitality Awards 2019
  • National Award for Best Environment Sustainability at The World CSR Congress 2018
  • Award for Outstanding Contribution towards Best Sustainable Business Practices by the Indo German Chamber of Commerce (2018)
  • Recognition for Supply Chain Sustainability by the Indo German Chamber of Commerce (2018)
  • Recognition for Project on Circular Economy at Tata Innovista 2019.
IHCL Hotel on the water.
Strategic Approach – Growing Sustainably and Making an Impact

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.

Our sustainability goals have evolved with the changing world that we live in. At IHCL, it is our constant endeavour to grow responsibly and contribute to preserving the environment in a meaningful way.

- Dr P.V. Murthy, Executive Vice President & Global Head HR, IHCL


  • Trained and certified over 20,000 youth from under-served communities through the groups ProEngage program through 14 skill training centres. 
  • Provide ongoing support to over 60 traditional silk weavers across the India. 
  • Work with 6 social impact organisations through their value chain. 
  • Offer the Golden Threshold Programme for pro-bono vocational training to target communities through 15 hotels. 
  • Support conservation efforts for 3 heritage sites across India.
  • Donate around 1600+kgs of used soaps to Diversey’s recycling initiative. 
  • Enable indirect employment for over 100 artisans and cultural troupes’ members. 
  • Rolled out the Sustainability Development Program to implement best practices for guests, associates and to ensure safety risk at the hotels and TATA Innovista to incorporate functional sustainability to make the hotels more efficient and effective in achieving their social, environmental, and economic goals. 
  • Trained and certified over 20,000 youth from under-served communities through the groups IHCL Tata Strive Program through 14 skill training centres.
Walking the Talk

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.

IHCL is setting a global standard for best practice in sustainability in the travel and tourism industry. Its waste management program has set a benchmark for other groups to follow.

- Stewart Moore, CEO & Founder, EarthCheck


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.

This strong foundation of IHCL, rooted in Indian hospitality and expressed through authentic experiences has uniquely established us as South Asia’s largest hospitality focused company.

Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, IHCL

Performance Highlights

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.

  • A total of 1,132,209,374 MJ of energy has been saved since joining the EarthCheck Certified programme. This saving is the equivalent of powering 47,530 households for a year.
  • Since joining EarthCheck Certified, IHCL’s emissions savings has been 216,822,310 kg of CO2e, which is comparable to taking 72,759 cars off the road.
  • 2,743,682 KL in water savings were realised, which is equivalent to 1,097 Olympic sized Swimming Pools.
  • 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 group’s efforts made since joining the EarthCheck Certified programme has reduced 15,741 cubic metres of waste from going into landfills, which is the equivalent of 476 standard 20 ft shipping containers.

Community Stories

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.

Culture & Heritage

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.

We have a multi-pronged approach to CSR and sustainability, which straddles the environment, the community, wildlife and heritage. We are enablers for community development and environment preservation. We have touched several lives through our social projects.

- Alok Vijayvergiya, Associate Vice President - Sustainability & CSR


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 2018 IHCL committed to removing single use plastic items and replacing them with biodegradable options. The group has eliminated 2 million plastic straws across all its properties and created a “Zero Single Use Plastic Hotel” at the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans.

- Alok Vijayvergiya, Associate Vice President - Sustainability & CSR

What’s Next

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.

We live in an era of transformations. Our world is changing rapidly with the rise of new technologies, growing environmental concerns and a renewed, collaborative understanding of economic and social value. We remain deeply rooted in history, with the great legacy of the 150-year old TATA Group keeping us anchored to our core values of integrity, excellence, unity, responsibility and pioneering spirit.

- Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, IHCL

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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.

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