Partnership aims to tackle food waste in hotels

WORLDWIDE: The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance has partnered with World Resources Institute (WRI) to tackle the issue of food waste across the globe. 

WORLDWIDE: The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance has partnered with World Resources Institute (WRI) to tackle the issue of food waste across the globe. 

The Alliance and the WRI will commit to helping the hospitality industry reduce its food-related emissions by 25 per cent by 2030.

Part of the commitment includes encouraging a change to low carbon foods, such as plant-based foods, so the sector can meet sustainability targets. 

The Alliance will urge its members, (representing over 50,000 properties and seven million rooms globally), to commit to the Coolfood Pledge, as part of the partnership. This WRI initiative is a science-based target to reduce food-related emissions by 25 per cent by 2030. 

Those committed to the Coolfood Pledge will get bespoke data analysis in an annual report to help track progress in reducing GHG emissions. The aim is to provide an understanding to the industry as to what works with consumers and to shift more diners toward plant-based foods. World-class research and resources will also be available to members of the Alliance who are on the journey towards Net Positive Hospitality

WRI will also peer review the Alliance’s Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) and help formally verify that the tool aligns with the GHG protocol. The Alliance’s HCMI has recently been updated as we reported in October. 

Sustainable Hospitality Alliance CEO, Glenn Mandziuk, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the  World Resources Institute (WRI) to move the hospitality industry towards food sustainability.  Combining the Alliance’s resources and knowledge with the WRI’s expertise and platforms, this partnership can help accelerate our members towards reducing food waste and food-related emissions. We look forward to our Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) being peer reviewed by the WRI, which will serve as an important step to ensuring a transparent and globally comparable approach to carbon, water and waste reporting.” 

Research has shown that hotels have saved US$7 for every US$1 invested in fighting food waste. Jenny Arthur, head of membership development for Coolfood at WRI said: “This partnership sets the hospitality industry up to significantly reduce the climate footprint of the food it serves. Through Coolfood, companies will have access to cutting edge behavioural science on how to sell low carbon food, as well as rigorous data and support to help them reduce emissions. We’re excited to welcome them to the movement for delicious climate action.” 

In other food-related news, Easyjet holidays recently ran a trial in Tenerife using AI to help hotels cut the amount of food left over from its all-inclusive buffets. The tour operator partnered with Winnow, which uses artificial intelligence tools to collect data and help run more sustainable kitchens. The pilot programme, which launched in April in Spain, is monitoring the reduction of food waste in one of easyJet holidays’ most popular hotels, the Bahia Principe Sunlight Costa Adeje resort.

Using the same kind of technology you’d find in a driverless car, Winnow’s AI technology learns to ‘see’ the food being wasted and the data is collected and stored in the cloud. Teams then receive reports that pinpoint waste, giving them the insight to make operational improvements. Typically, kitchens using Winnow have seen food waste halved within 12-18 months which in turn has cut food purchasing costs by 2-8 per cent.

The pilot came about after Easyjet holidays partnered with Oxford University to create the easyJet holidays Sustainable Tourism Programme. The programme was launched to equip students with the transferable skills needed to lead change in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Research and reports from the students found that food waste is a sustainability challenge, with 18 per cent of food waste in Tenerife generated by the hospitality sector alone. Last August easyJet launched a sustainable hotels page on its website.

In Numbers

Food and Sustainability (Data provided by The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance). 

  • The production of food including agriculture and related land-use change (e.g., deforestation) accounts for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Shifting diets is essential to hit the global climate targets. 
  •  As the world population approaches 10 billion by 2050, emissions from agriculture and land could grow to take up the majority of the “carbon budget” for limiting global warming to acceptable levels. 
  • Beef requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more GHG emissions per gram of edible protein than common plant proteins, such as beans. Helping more people shift toward more plant-based diets can have tremendous climate and other environmental benefits. 
  • More than one billion tonnes, or one third of all food produced, is lost or wasted each year. 
  • Approximately 17 per cent of food is wasted at the retail and consumer levels. 
  • Current levels of food loss and waste are responsible for wasting a quarter of all the fresh water used in agriculture, wasting nearly a quarter of all the fertiliser that is used, using an amount of land greater than the area of China, which could have otherwise been used for food that was consumed, driving 8-10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, costing the global economy more than US$1 trillion every year.

Image: The Sustainable Hotel Alliance: Glenn Mandziuk, CEO, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, Jenny Arthur, head of Cool Food membership development, WRI and Wolfgang M Neumann, chair, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Quartz Inn Hotels adds “bubble hotel” to sustainable portfolio

SPAIN: Quartz Inn Hotels has announced the addition of the bubble hotel Miluna Open Nature Rooms to its Spanish portfolio.

SPAIN: Quartz Inn Hotels has announced the addition of the bubble hotel Miluna Open Nature Rooms to its Spanish portfolio.

The hotel will be one of nine independent and sustainable hotels in Spain for Quartz Inn Hotels.

The rooms of the hotel are the unique bubble type structures (see image) so guests can stargaze and feel connected to the immediate environment. The ethos of the hotel is to be connected to nature, and take action for the environment.

Sustainable measures at Miluna – which tick some of the UN’s sustainable boxes – include projects for reforestation and conservation of natural spaces, support for local producers and artisans, support for social projects and NGOs, and reduction of the carbon footprint.

Miluna recycles, “shops local”, offering local artisans and producers the chance to supply the hotel (as well as having a vegetable garden of its own). The hotel also offsets all the emissions produced at the complex using a company called REFLORA which studies and analyses the emissions annually and then offsets them in sustainable rural developments and projects such as tree planting. Miliuna has planted more than 500 trees on site but also has projects in other countries like Peru.

Quartz Inn Hotels co-founder Lidiia Tkachenko said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Miluna to our community of sustainable and independent hotels. Their constant commitment to the environment is admirable.”

Miluna’s co-founder Alejandro Bosch says: “At Miluna we are committed to people and the planet. Our hotel is focused on health, sustainability, recycling, social action and care for the environment.”

Quartz Inn Hotels is the first European hotel collection formed by independent and sustainable hotels and properties. The London based startup was founded in 2021 by Ignacio Merino, Lidiia Tkachenko and Alexander Zawadzki. Quartz Inn Hotels also runs the European Sustainable Tourism Awards, which are now open for entry.

Image: Miluna

Melia Hotels presents ‘Travel for Good’ for World Tourism Day

SPAIN: Melia Hotels has marked World Tourism Day with its Travel for Good campaign, which highlights its ESG commitments.

SPAIN: Melia Hotels has marked World Tourism Day with its Travel for Good campaign, which highlights its ESG commitments.

Travel for Good shows Melia’s pathway to sustainability with structured information about key areas and projects under way.

Gabriel Escarrer, vice president and CEO of Meliá Hotels International,  said: “Our passion for hospitality drives us to respond to global challenges, viewing sustainability as a fundamental driver behind the transformation of the travel model to ensure a positive legacy for our planet and our society”. 

Travel for Good looks at four main areas of sustainability.

  • Good for the Planet: Environmental strategy and projects towards being carbon neutral. This includes sustainable construction, efficient and responsible use of energy and water, and implementing a circular hotel model, as well as protecting destinations and biodiversity.
  • Good for our People: How the hotel group offers a work environment committed to equality and diversity.
  • Good for the Community: Commitment to local communities.
  • Governance for Good: Ethical and responsible commitments to stakeholders including the ethical management of its supply chain and encouraging partnerships for more sustainable tourism. 

Meliá is aiming to post more detail about each of these commitments across social media with the hashtag Travel4Good. In fact it began the campaign on World Tourism Day (Sept 27) with this Youtube video.

Riu Hotels & Resorts switches to renewable energy

SPAIN: Hotel group, Riu, has switched to 100 per cent renewable energy across its Spanish hotels and headquarters.

SPAIN: Riu Hotels & Resorts, has switched to 100 per cent renewable energy across its Spanish hotels and headquarters.

The group has made a deal with green energy supplier Iberdrola, and will aim for its Europe and Mexico hotels to follow suit. The group hinted it would consider its other hotels around the world for the switch going forward, but nothing solid has been confirmed.

The agreement with Iberdrola means that the hotel group can sustainably power more than 11,000 rooms across its 27 hotels in Spain. The hotels currently consume around 70 gigawatt hours per year. To put that into context, 1 gigawatt is the same as 1 billion watts (which would power around 10 million 100 watt light bulbs or 100 million LED light bulbs).

According to RIU Hotels & Resorts, by changing energy suppliers, the group will stop 30,000 tonnes of C02 emissions.

Bartolomé Enseñat chief procurement officer of RIU Hotels & Resorts, said: “[The agreement is] a big step forward in our aim to make our operations sustainable. We are very proud to announce to our customers and colleagues that, from today, all the energy we use in Spain is 100 per cent renewable, as certified by the Spanish National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC). Iberdrola was the perfect partner to help us reach this goal and we hope that this is just the beginning, as we’ve set our sights high when it comes to sustainability”.

The hotel chain is currently working with Iberdrola to roll out renewable energy across its hotels in Europe and Mexico, with preliminary contracts already in place.

Miquel Cardona, Iberdrola’s sales representative in the Balearic Islands said: “…We hope to continue working with RIU on different projects to jointly increase the electrification of its activity”.

Rui Hotels & Resorts recently created a new department in its team; the energy purchasing department and the Iberdrola agreement is its first major project. 

The group is aiming for a circular economy and has committed to working with waste management and reuse, reducing paper use, working for positive impact on the local economy, as well as aiming for global sustainability certificates. It has been awarded the international TRAVELIFE certification programme, since 2012 for 80 of its hotels. The accreditation specialises in sustainability management for the travel industry, which guarantees responsible management and compliance with its sustainability commitments.

Its Sustainability Report 2020 highlights a few of its aims and goals in both environmental and community sustainability. It has just released its 2021 report which will be available shortly.

Among the sustainable products currently used by RIU, the report highlights:

  • Coffee and teas with a Rainforest Alliance certificate
  • Replacement of normal straws for compostable straws
  • Priority acquisition of local products
  • Biodegradable cleaning products and detergents
  • Purchase of seasonal fruit and fish
  • Promotion of hydroponic crops in destinations with adverse conditions
  • Reduction in consumption of endangered marine species
  • Cellulose sourced from sustainable forests
  • Recycled cardboard packaging instead of plastic
  • Oeko-Tex and Made in green certified textiles
  • Optimisation of goods transportation to reduce CO2 emissions
  • Elimination of chemicals considered harmful to human health and the environment
  • Cloth or compostable laundry bags
  • Compostable glasses and containers for take-away services
  • Eggs from cage-free hens*
  • MSC certified fish
  • FSC certified toilet paper and holders
  • AENOR certified milk (animal welfare) *

*Pilot projects in some RIU destinations in Spain.

RIU Hotels & Resorts has 100 hotels in 20 countries. In 2021, the chain welcomed 4,2 million guests and provided jobs for around 28,004 employees.

First carbon neutral five star hotel to open in Menorca

SPAIN: Menorca will have its first carbon neutral five star hotel at the end of this month.

SPAIN: Menorca will have its first carbon neutral five star hotel at the end of this month.

The  Villa Le Blanc By Gran Meliá, will open at the end of July and is the latest opening for the Leading Hotels of the World.

It’s Gran Melia’s first carbon neutral property out of the 15 in its portfolio.

The hotel aims to achieve its carbon neutral status by incorporating facilities and technologies that will enable it to reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 87 per cent. Carbon neutral status does not include the emissions from the building, renovating or construction of a building, known as embodied carbon.

The hotel will also look at alternatives to offset the remaining emissions ensuring when it is operating it keeps its carbon neutral status (net zero). The renovation included installing biomass boilers, photovoltaic solar panels and using geothermal energy for condensation. This is where engineered geothermal systems (EGS) can use the carbon dioxide from condensation as a heat extraction fluid instead of using water, making it much more environmentally friendly.

The building will feature a SATE External Thermal Insulation System, which is when buildings are thermally and acoustically insulated from the outside.

The building will also use a circular water system so that grey water and rain water can be re-purposed, reducing the amount of water being used.

The hotel was previously a Sol Beach House Hotel but has been renovated by architect Alvaro Sans to include 159 rooms including a Penthouse Suite, a Swim-Up Master Suite and a Presidential Suite. 

The island of Menorca was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1993.

Gabriel Escarrer, vice president and CEO of Meliá said: “Villa Le Blanc is a dream come true for our company. A project like this allows us to move forward towards hotel decarbonisation. It is also in such a special place as the Biosphere Reserve of Menorca, making it one of the most tangible results of our commitment to a hotel model based on excellence, responsibility and sustainability.”

The Villa Le Blanc Hotel is located on Santo Tomás Beach on the Migjorn coast, halfway between Mahón and Ciutadella. 

Image credit: Gran Melia