Hilton introduces carbon labelling on its UK menus

by: Felicity Cousins | October 12, 2023

Hilton has ramped up its carbon labelling with new low impact menus at 30 hotels across the UK.

Developed in partnership with sustainability experts Klimato, the menus aim to show guests the environmental impact of their food choices with a simple labelling system. 

Each dish is labelled low, medium or high using a graduated green scale, based on the carbon footprint per serving. 

Up to a third of all global greenhouse gas emissions can be linked to the food industry but rather than confront guests with baffling facts and numbers, the system is designed to spark positive conversation, using neutral language so guests can easily compare their options.

According to Hilton it is the first hotel company in the UK to introduce carbon labelling at-scale, helping guests to make more informed choices across almost 30 hotels in cities including London, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle.

Through the partnership, almost half of dishes served at participating hotels are identified by Klimato as ‘low impact,’ in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). 

According to WWF in a 2019 report, an average UK lunch or dinner has a carbon footprint of roughly 1.6 kg CO2e. However, to meet the UN’s climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, this number should not exceed 0.5 kg CO2e.

And since 2018 with the ground swell of initiatives such as Veganuary, and consumer choices such as plant-based food and milk products from retailers increasing, according to WWF 29 per cent of evening meals are now meat-free.

Early findings by Hilton suggests the introduction of the system has led to a shift in guest behaviour, with low and medium footprint dishes proving popular and as a result of the initial positive response, the autumn menu will features an increased proportion of low and medium labelled dishes, making up over 85 per cent of the menu.

Choosing the plant burger (pictured) for example, would result in a reduction of CO2 emissions equal to driving 63 kilometres in a car. And an example of a low impact three course meal includes gochujang cauliflower wings to start, followed by a butternut squash risotto or a posh fish finger sandwich. For dessert there is a salted caramel affogato. This meal will result in a total of 1.2 kg CO2e.

Christoffer Connée, co-founder, Klimato, said: “Hilton’s dedication to calculating, communicating, and reducing their food’s environmental impact is commendable. By taking this important step, they are not only leading by example but also raising awareness about the crucial issue of food and sustainability.”

Emma Banks, vice president, F&B strategy & development, EMEA, Hilton, said: “Carbon labelling is an easy way to empower guests to make more informed choices, and we’re delighted to see they’re already embracing these insights – whether that’s by opting for an ultra-low emission dish, or simply reducing the frequency with which they order dishes with a higher carbon footprint.”

The menu launch coincides with Travel with Purpose Week, an annual week of service for Hilton’s more than 450,000 team members around the world to spend time giving back to their communities, volunteering and celebrating the company’s commitment to driving positive change.

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