Hotel brands Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG Hotels & Resorts, and Marriott International worked with World Wildlife fund (WWF) and Greenview to develop a measurement methodology that will provide a common approach for the hotel industry to collect data and to measure and report waste. The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology will help hotels set goals to reduce waste, keep it out of landfills, and track progress against those goals over time.
The common waste metrics and definitions will ensure that all those who follow the methodology will calculate, identify and fill gaps, and report their waste data in a comparable way. When scaled, the methodology will help develop a framework to support industry-wide benchmarking of waste, the partners say.
WWF developed this methodology with a focus on addressing the challenge of managing food waste in diverse hotel operations. While the challenge is a significant one, it also offers significant opportunities to increase business efficiency, says Pete Pearson, global food loss and waste lead for World Wildlife Fund. “The hotel industry has the unique ability to implement changes that will have global impacts when it comes to managing food waste, and all waste.”
A commonly-cited statistic is that in the US alone, nearly 40% of food waste is generated from consumer-facing businesses including restaurants and hotels. The hotel industry as an important partner in helping to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030 and substantially reduce overall waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.
The hospitality industry has been working on addressing food waste for several years. However, the business case for reducing food waste is “more difficult to prove because sadly it’s cheap to throw stuff away,” Hilton’s VP of corporate responsibility Max Verstraete told Environment + Energy Leader in 2017. “It’s a tougher sell than energy or water. However, through awareness with our operating teams on how much food waste is generated and by measuring it, we believe we can bring behavioral change. We can change menus for our restaurants, buffets, and catering events — how they’re set, what we’re buying, how we’re buying — which ultimately has a positive impact on food costs.”
The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology was reviewed by a wide range of industry stakeholders — including Caesars Entertainment, Dorint Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Radisson Hotel Group, Soneva and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts — to ensure it addresses the specific challenges faced by hotel companies large and small, and from different parts of the world.
“As companies start using it, and more data becomes available, we will be able to update the methodology to reflect new insights and harness the power of industry benchmarking. This will in turn catalyze action across the hotel sector as companies work towards waste reduction and diversion goals,” says Greenview Director Olivia Ruggles-Brise.
The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology is an addition to an expanding suite of industry measurement methodologies, including the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) and Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI) tools.