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WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.
Waste is a global crisis crippling our systems and contributing to negative environmental outcomes for our planet. While the hotel industry has made great strides to prevent and divert waste, and donate quality items, when possible, industry-wide waste reduction presents challenges without a standard measurement methodology in place. Today, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenview, a global sustainability consulting group, unveiled a methodology to help hotels solve this problem.
The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology, developed in collaboration with leading hotel brands including Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG Hotels & Resorts, and Marriott International, is designed to provide a common approach for the hotel industry to collect data, and measure and report waste. This methodology creates a consistent way for major brands and individual properties to set meaningful goals to reduce waste, keep it out of landfills, and track progress against those goals over time. Building on robust existing strategies to track waste and set targets, this work harmonizes methods of data collection and addresses common data gaps and challenges.
“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, global food loss and waste lead, 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. 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.”
WWF developed this methodology with a priority to address the challenge posed by managing food waste in diverse hotel operations, and the significant opportunity this offers to increase business efficiency and make progress against social and environmental goals. In the US alone, nearly 40% of food waste is generated from consumer-facing businesses including restaurants and hotels. WWF views the hotel industry as an important partner in helping to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 12.3, which aims to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030, and 12.5 that calls for substantial reductions in overall waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.
The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology was reviewed by a wide range of industry stakeholders — including WRAP, one of WWF’s strategic food loss and waste partners — to ensure it addresses the specific challenges faced by hotel companies large and small, and from different parts of the world. 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.
Corporate participation has played an essential role in advancing the UN SDGs. As a truly global sector, the hotel industry is well-positioned to set sustainability targets that align with these goals but, until now, without a uniform methodology measurement system in place, hotels, especially larger multi-national brands have faced challenges. When scaled, the methodology will help develop a framework to support industry-wide benchmarking of waste.
Greenview Director Olivia Ruggles-Brise said, “Measuring waste uniformly at a hotel and among hotels is enormously challenging and this first version of the Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology represents an important first step in addressing those challenges by setting out key metrics, definitions and approaches. 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.”
The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology is a valuable addition to an expanding suite of industry measurement methodologies, including the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) and the Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI) tools, as well as EarthCheck, a methodology that benchmarks water, waste, energy and CO2 and the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index. Uniform measurement and reporting will inform strategic action to increase profitability and efficiency while contributing to key environmental and social goals and lays important groundwork for an industry culture focused on improving operations and producing less waste.
The development of the methodology has brought together the hotel industry around one common goal and demonstrates the enormous potential of collaborative action. This latest effort to develop this methodology is a further example of how the industry is working together towards ambitious global agendas to benefit both people and nature. This methodology joins the HCMI/HWMI methodologies that are standard for the hotel industry and waste methodology will become the new standard for waste.
About World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working for 60 years in nearly 100 countries to help people and nature thrive. With the support of more than 5 million supporters worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment, and combat the climate crisis. Visit worldwildlife.org to learn more; follow @WWFNews on Twitter to keep up with the latest conservation news; and sign up for our newsletter and news alerts here.
World Wildlife Fund oversees the HotelKitchen.org platform of guidance for the hotel sector to prevent and manage food waste.
Greenview is the world’s leading provider of sustainability programs and data management for the hospitality and tourism sector. Greenview supports dozens of companies to design, implement, and monitor their corporate responsibility and sustainability platforms to drive profitability, streamline data, keep ahead of trends, and provide effective communication for stakeholders.
The Greenview Portal offers an off-the-shelf solution for hotels and hotel companies who wish to collect sustainability data, track performance and progress over time, report activities in a transparent way, and ultimately improve their sustainability performance.
Headquartered in Singapore, with a global team of experts located in 7 countries, we manage the hospitality sector’s largest collaborative sustainability initiatives, including the Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking Index and Green Lodging Trends Report, and have been instrumental in the development of existing industry-wide methodologies for measuring carbon, water, waste and net-zero.
Christian Clerc, President, Global Operations, Four Season Hotels and Resorts
“At Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, we are committed to continuously evaluating the impact of our operations, engaging with employees, guests, partners and communities to improve and elevate our environmental initiatives. The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology provides important guidance for the industry, standardizing a global approach to data gathering and reporting, as well as enabling hotels to improve waste management and reduce their carbon footprint. We are incredibly proud to incorporate this methodology into our operational guidance.”
Catherine Dolton, Chief Sustainability Officer & VP of Global Corporate Responsibility at IHG Hotels & Resorts
"IHG's commitment to pioneering the transformation to a minimal waste industry is fundamental both to our purpose of delivering True Hospitality for Good and to our long-term Journey To Tomorrow responsible business plans. We know that meaningful change requires collaboration and innovation and through our work with WWF, Greenview, and our global hotel peers, we are proud to be part of this ground-breaking initiative. This new methodology will enable and empower our hotels to better monitor, manage and reduce waste whilst providing an opportunity for the whole hospitality industry to track progress and show greater accountability.”
Kelsey Frenkiel, Program Manager, Center for Responsible Travel (CREST)
“A standard waste measurement approach for hotels is so needed, and it is exciting to see the world’s leading hotel brands team up to do this. No one knows exactly how much food is wasted along the entire hotel supply chain, and we can only tackle that issue once we start to understand the scale. As we work to address the climate crisis, solutions that standardize and streamline data as much as possible are critical.”
Marie Fukudome, Director of Environmental Affairs, Hyatt
“Environmental sustainability is a priority for our guests, customers and colleagues and we continue to seek solutions that best address their concerns. As part of the recent launch of Hyatt’s new ESG platform, World of Care, we have set a goal to reduce food waste per square meter by 50% to further advance our ongoing waste reduction efforts and to align with the UNSDG 12.3. Measurement is fundamental to managing performance, and having common definitions for waste reduction tracking and reporting will be critical as we work to achieve this goal in collaboration with the wider industry.”
Dr. Dirk Glaesser, Director, Sustainable Tourism Department, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
“Reducing food waste in tourism is important and represents a good entry point for circularity in the tourism value chain and therefore supports a responsible and sustainable recovery from COVID-19. This new methodology will facilitate the implementation of the Global Roadmap on Food Loss and Waste Reduction which is being developed within the framework of the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme and also provides support to measure other waste streams, such as plastics.”
Mari Marques-Thomas, Vice President of Social Responsibility & Talent Development, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
“As the world’s largest hotel franchising company, we have a unique opportunity to help make a meaningful impact on the world while making hotel travel possible for all. The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology is designed to enable even more hotels to better track and report on their waste diversion efforts through the collaborative efforts of many involved. This methodology compliments our Wyndham Green Program, which includes environmental tracking and best practices for hotels to increase diversion efforts. While we have made great progress on our journey to date, we know we can – and will – continue to do more so the future remains bright.”
Denise Naguib, Vice President, Sustainability & Supplier Diversity at Marriott International
“Waste measurement and reporting are inherently difficult across many sectors, including the hospitality industry. The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology is a welcome solution to help our hotels collect waste data and fill in data gaps across the portfolio. Upon implementation of the methodology, we will be able to generate solid waste and food waste baselines for our global portfolio and begin to track toward our goal to reduce solid waste and food waste 45% and 50% respectively by 2025.”
Brune Poirson, Chief Sustainability Officer, Accor
“Food waste has tremendous environmental, ethical and financial implications. The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology framework comes as a stepping stone initiative for hospitality companies to actively progress towards the same objective : zero waste.”
Madhu Rajesh, CEO, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance
“A crucial part of any sustainability strategy is to understand your impact and monitor and report your journey towards improvement. The Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology is a valuable addition to an expanding suite of industry measurement methodologies including our Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative and Hotel Water Measurement Initiative. By coming together as an industry, and sharing expertise, we can develop resources that are designed for the industry context, and support every hotel to manage and improve their impact – wherever they are on their sustainability journey.”
Chip Rogers, President & CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association
“AHLA commends World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenview, a global sustainability consulting group, for the development of the Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology, a tool which will continue to support the industry’s efforts to combat food waste. The methodology will allow for a common approach in the hotel industry to collect and report waste data, and compliment the Hotel Kitchen training program designed to engage staff, partners, and guests in cutting waste in hotel kitchens. We are excited to see the industry unite to support the efforts and economic challenges in the food waste arena and the impact this methodology will have to further the hotel industry’s social and environmental goals.”
Dr. Richard Swannell, International Engagement Director, WRAP
“I am pleased that WRAP has been instrumental to the development of the Hotel Waste Measurement Methodology. Through our initiatives such as the Courtauld Commitment and the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, and with campaigns such as Guardians of Grub, WRAP has long been at the forefront of taking action to reduce food waste in hospitality and food service. Wasting food feeds climate change, and with £3.2bn being thrown away every year in UK hospitality and food alone, I urge all organisations in the sector to adopt this new Methodology and play their part in helping us achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030.”