WWF Teams Up with Hotels to Measure and Reduce Food Waste

WWF Teams Up with Hotels to Measure and Reduce Food Waste

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has teamed up with a coalition of hotel companies and the consulting group, Greenview, to fight waste in the hospitality sector. Together, they've developed the Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology (HWMM), which will provide a standardized approach for the hotel industry to collect data and measure and report waste. The initiative hopes to help the industry reduce its organic and inorganic waste and meet ambitious climate goals in the race to net zero.

Why This Matters

The hospitality sector is responsible for about 1% of the world's carbon emissions, and food waste is responsible for about 8%. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030, a goal that many hotels have committed to. Still, waste data collection is lacking, which has prevented swift action. According to the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), which represents 30,000 member hotels, the industry would need to reduce emissions by 90% by 2050 to limit global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius, and even more to meet the Paris Agreement goal of 1.5 degrees. With HWMM and a healthy dose of ambition, the hotel industry will have more power to meet its climate goals.

Haste and Waste

"Food waste presents major environmental and economic challenges across our global food systems, but it's one challenge that can actually be solved -- and sooner than you might think," said Pete Pearson, the Senior Director, Food Loss and Waste at WWF. "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." The methodology was developed with every part of the hospitality sector in mind, including hotels large and small across the globe.

WWF says that the methodology is also evolving and that as companies collect more data, the system will offer more insights that can catalyze action across the sector. Alongside the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) and Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI) tools, which are already in use, WWF says that the HWMM will help hotels increase their profitability and efficiency without sacrificing climate goals.

Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG Hotels & Resorts, and Marriott International were among the hotels that helped develop the methodology with WWF. "This new methodology has the potential to be an industry game-changer -- putting the power of prevention in the hands of hotels while creating a common industry-wide method to revolutionize the way we manage and measure waste," added Pearson.

Environmental Impacts of Uneaten Food

When food goes uneaten, the resources used to produce it go to waste as well. If all of our country's surplus food was grown in one place, this “mega-farm” would cover roughly 80 million acres, over three-quarters of the state of California. Growing the food on this wasteful farm would consume all the water used in California and Idaho combined. The farm would harvest enough food to fill a 40-ton tractor every 20 seconds. Many of those trailers would travel thousands of miles, distributing food to be kept cold in refrigerators and grocery stores for weeks. But instead of being purchased, prepared, and eaten, this perfectly good food would be loaded onto another line of trucks and hauled to a landfill, where it would emit a harmful stream of greenhouse gases as it decomposes. (Source: ReFED.)