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

Sustainability and disability in the hospitality sector

EUROPE: The European Network for Accessible Tourism and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance have joined forces to support disability inclusion in the hospitality sector 

EUROPE: The European Network for Accessible Tourism and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance have joined forces to support disability inclusion in the hospitality sector 

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance is partnering with the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) to increase disability inclusion and promote universal access in the hospitality industry. 

The partnership will see both organisations working together to make the world’s hospitality industry accessible to all. 

ENAT aims to be the front runner in the study, promotion and practice of accessible tourism and by partnering with the Alliance, it will have the opportunity to engage 50,000 properties globally. 

The partnership combines the Alliance’s expertise and global network with ENAT’s experience improving the accessibility of tourist information, transport, infrastructure, design and service for visitors with all kinds of access needs, providing models of excellence in accessible tourism for the whole of the tourism industry. 

Sustainable Hospitality Alliance CEO, Glenn Mandziuk, said: “Here at the Alliance we are delighted to welcome the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) as a partner.  ENAT’s work striving for greater inclusion for people with disabilities, will greatly support the work the Alliance is doing in opening up the sector.  This partnership is an opportunity for both organisations to share best practice, align on research and produce tangible solutions to make the hospitality industry more inclusive for people with disabilities.” 

ENAT President, Anna Grazia Laura said: “We, at ENAT see the agreement signed with Sustainable Hospitality Alliance as an important step forward to increase the possibility for tourists with specific access requirements to have a wider opportunity to be welcomed in facilities that will respond to their requirements in terms of comfort and quality. We are delighted to engage with the Alliance to offer our expertise and resources in training and planning according to Universal Design principles, strengthening the accessible offers provided by the members with the ultimate common goal of achieving the highest levels of customer satisfaction.”

Sustainability and hotels is not all about carbon emissions and plastic-free toiletries. The UN’s 17 SDGs cover environmental aspects, but there are many more SDGS which focus on the social side of sustainability, including the support of disability inclusion. Hotels and those looking at updating their ESG policies should take into account the UN’s SDGs, which focus on inclusion, and work out what that means for their inclusivity policies and sustainable practices.

Sustainable Development Goal 9 “Industry Innovation and infrastructure” to build resilient infrastructure, to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

Sustainable Development Goal 10 “Reduced inequalities” to reduce inequality in and among countries

Sustainable Development Goal 11 “Sustainable cities and communities” to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Image: Pexels Free Photos

Rove Hotels joins the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

UAE: Lifestyle hotel brand Rove Hotels has become the latest chain to join the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance.

UAE: Lifestyle hotel brand Rove Hotels has become the latest chain to join the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance.

Founded in Dubai in 2016 and known for its fun and quirky identity Rove Hotels has more than 7,000 rooms and residences open or under development across the Middle East. 

The brand has been focusing on reducing plastic waste, as well as water, paper and electricity consumption, managing to obtain the Green Key certificate across all its properties. This certification has only been granted to 2,900 hotels worldwide, and recognises excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry.

Rove Hotels also manages Rove Expo 2020, this LEED Gold certified property is the only on-site hotel at Expo City Dubai, the sustainable city that hosted the recent Expo 2020 Dubai event and that will be home to the upcoming COP28, the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference.  

Rove Hotels has joined the Alliance to help address key challenges impacting the planet and its people, local destinations and communities. 

The Alliance, which recently launched its Pathway to New Positive Hospitality programme, sets targets and guides its hospitality members towards a transformed more sustainable sector. 

Paul Bridger, chief operating officer of Rove Hotels said:“Being environmentally responsible is close to our hearts at Rove, and we know it’s important for our Rovers (guests) too. Because of that, we are thrilled to become part of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and join forces with hoteliers from across the world in the journey towards net positive hospitality.” 

Glenn Mandziuk, chief executive officer, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, said: “It was fantastic meeting Rove Hotels at the Arabian Travel Market trade show earlier this month as we marked their first few weeks as members of the Alliance. Sustainability is at the heart of their brand and we look forward to supporting them and working collaboratively to deliver Net Positive Hospitality across Dubai and the middle east in the near future.”

Image: Rove Hotels

FOCUS ON: The UK Green Building Council

In our new series we focus on common questions, acronyms and organisations when it comes to discussing sustainability and hotels. Today we are looking at the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

In our new series we focus on common questions, acronyms and organisations when it comes to discussing sustainability and hotels. Today we are looking at the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

What is it? The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) was founded in 2006 and is a charitable organisation using its network of members to tackle the climate crisis. It does this by transforming the built environment with sustainable buildings and design. UKGBC aims to create positive community spaces, infrastructure and cities where people thrive together with a focus on nature and biodiversity, resource use, wellness and socio-economics. UKGBC has more than 700 members.

How does it work? UKGBC works with its members and the government (to help develop progressive policy) to reduce emissions and drive net zero carbon buildings. Businesses, government groups and partners focus on the infrastructure, the way buildings are planned, designed, constructed, maintained and even repurposed and operated. The UKGBC also works to reduce emissions through operational and embodied carbon across the building sector – something the hotel sector is taking onboard. Hotels being planned, and those already in operation, will be familiar with taking into account their embodied carbon emissions and put into place sustainable practices.

What makes a hotel a net zero carbon building? UKGBC published the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework Definition in 2019 to provide clarity to the building industry on the definition of net zero carbon buildings.

According to the framework: “Net zero carbon – operational energy can only be achieved one year after practical completion, once 12 months of in-use performance data has been publicly disclosed and third party verified. Prior to this, organisations can publicise their commitment to achieving this, with wording along the lines of ‘Committed to achieving Net zero carbon – operational energy’.”

Although the document has a list of principles set out to achieve net zero, the framework is flexible, and it was always intended as something which would be added to as stricter requirements develop over time. For example, new science based targets for embodied carbon do not yet exist and targets do not currently exist for refurbishment projects either. As such, the UKGBC suggests projects should work to new build targets where possible. Principles which do exist include the ‘reduction first’ approach to achieving net zero carbon. You can read the full framework here

What does the UKGBC do for the hotel sector? The UK has committed to reduce its emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 (compared with 1990 levels) and achieve net zero by 2050. The built environment has a huge part to play, currently producing around 25 per cent of the UK’s carbon footprint and global hotels still citing 2.3 million rooms in the pipeline, which will significantly contribute to the issue. To help achieve net zero for hotels the UKGBC partnered with The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance in November last year. The two organisations will use their expertise to enhance the sustainability of new and existing hotels and run pilot initiatives to drive green building across the sector.

Mike Clarke, director of membership at UKGBC said of the partnership: “Decarbonising the built environment is one of the biggest climate challenges facing the UK and indeed the world. Delivering on our net zero targets will require fundamentally changing the way we construct, operate and de-construct our built assets, including those within hospitality. UKGBC is delighted to announce our partnership with the Alliance and we look forward to learning from their sector expertise, as we work together to drive a more sustainable and resilient built environment.”

Anything else? The UKGBC has confirmed Smith Mordak as its new CEO from June 1, 2023 taking over from Julie Hirigoyen who has been in the post since 2014. 

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Best Western Hotel Group creates “Because We Care” sustainability initiative 

USA: Best Western Hotel Group (BWH) is showing its commitment to environmental and social responsibility across its global portfolio with a new sustainability strategy.

USA: Best Western Hotel Group (BWH) is showing its commitment to environmental and social responsibility across its global portfolio with a new sustainability strategy. 

A member of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, BWH Hotel Group has created a new global sustainability strategic initiative, called “Because We Care,” which will focus on three pillars: Earth, People and Community (EPC). 

BWH Group is a global hospitality network comprising three hotel companies: WorldHotels Collection, Best Western Hotels & Resorts and SureStay Hotel Group.

Larry Cuculic, president and chief executive officer, BWH Hotel Group said: “With each passing year, the need for more responsible and sustainable travel increases in importance. We, as members of the global hospitality community, cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and wait for change to happen. That is why we applaud the momentous efforts our hotels and resorts around the world are already taking to enact sustainable-driven initiatives.”

Ron Pohl, president of international operations and WorldHotels said: “This is a collective effort, with every hotel brand, hotel owner and hotel employee feeling empowered to do their part. I am proud of the steps we have taken with even bolder changes at BWH Hotel Group with the evolution of our Because We Care programme, and in the meantime, I am thrilled to support our hoteliers who are already making great strides in areas of sustainability.”

Here are some examples of how individual BWH properties are addressing sustainability. 

Best Western Premier Hotel Victoria in Germany – Located in Freiburg, Germany, Best Western Premier Hotel Victoria has garnered numerous awards for its environmental programmes over the last 20 years. The hotel’s initiatives include the implementation of 200 square metres of solar panels (some of them are pictured above) and four wind turbines, environmentally friendly cleaning agents and reduced water usages, wood pellet heating and cold-water cooling systems, and extensive waste reduction methods amongst many others. Best Western Premier Hotel Victoria is also a member of Sleep Green Hotels, Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), Innovation Academy, Energieagentur Regio Freiburg, Green City Cluster Freiburg, which all play a role in fostering responsible hospitality practices.

Prestige Hotels & Resorts in Canada – Nine of Prestige Hotels & Resorts in British Columbia, Canada recently joined the WorldHotels Collection. The portfolio of independent hotels and resorts, is committed to the GreenStep Sustainable Tourism programme (one of 200 accreditation bodies worldwide offering sustainable certifications), with certifications across its properties. As part of the chain’s initiatives, there is the Go Green Program, which encourages guests to opt-out of housekeeping services in exchange for dining credits or reward points, and enacts fundraising and donation efforts in support of a charity that provides comfortable accommodations for family members of patients staying around the local hospital.

Best Western Plus Kamloops Hotel in Canada – Located in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, Best Western Plus Kamploops Hotel is a Green Key and Biosphere rated property (part of the 200 accreditation bodies worldwide offering sustainable certifications) and has two EV charging stations, compostable single use dishes, and geothermal heated hot tubs and pools. The property also sources as many supplies as possible from local vendors within 100 miles of the hotel.

BWH Hotel Group properties in the UK – Across the UK, BWH Hotel Group has partnered with QIA Services, an independent rating body for the service sector (one of the 200 accreditation bodies worldwide offering sustainable certifications). The brand is working with them as its preferred partner for sustainability with its accreditation scheme, REST, which stands for Responsible, Ethical, Sustainable Tourism.

Best Western Hotel Mediterraneo in Spain – Located in Castelldefels, Spain, Best Western Hotel Mediterraneo recently achieved Biosphere Sustainable Certification. Assessed through Spain’s Instituto de Turismo Responsible (ITR), this certification recognizes the property’s dedication to sustainability through its range of green efforts including its fight against pollution and water consumption.

Best Western Plus Westlands in Kenya – Located in Nairobi, Kenya, Best Western Plus Westlands has implemented several community focused initiatives to help improve the area’s sustainability. The hotel leads various Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, including giving back to a local children’s home, as well as plans to engage with David Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage and participate in tree planting. Its on-property energy and waste reduction methods include a linen recycling program, motion light sensors in meeting and common areas, cooking oil recycling, and waste sorting and plastic recycling through a third party.

Caravelle Saigon in Vietnam – A member of the WorldHotels Elite Collection, Caravelle Saigon has secured its ‘Earth Check’ gold certificate and is the first property in Vietnam to achieve the certification. Earth Check is a GSTC accredited certification (more about this later). As part of this certification, the hotel implemented a glass and refillable water project to remove single-use plastics; fitted renovated rooms with LED bulbs and double-glazed windows to reduce air conditioning workload; and provided guests with biodegradable toothbrushes, shavers, and combs made from wheat husks. Caravelle Saigon won the Best Green Business Award from the European Chamber of Commerce in 2023.

It’s worth noting that the certifications mentioned for each hotel above are not from the same sustainable certification body – and each property has chosen its own. There are more than 200 across the globe to choose from so how do we as consumers or those looking to keep to their ESG pointy when putting travellers in hotels know which accreditation is the best. Sustainable Hotel News will be writing about this in more detail, look out for the piece on the Question of Accreditation…