Hotel Study Makes Business Case for Achieving SDG 12.3
UN Photo/Gill Fickling
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'The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Hotels,’ was co-authored by the World Resources Institute and sustainability organization WRAP, with support from Walmart Foundation and the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands.

The findings have been welcomed by industry and sustainability actors for their potential contribution towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3 of halving food waste by 2030.

5 April 2018: A “first-of-its-kind” cost-benefit analysis of food waste in the hospitality industry found that participating hotels were able to reduce food waste by approximately 21% in just one year, saving US$7 for every dollar invested. Titled, ‘The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Hotels,’ the findings have been welcomed by industry and sustainability actors for their potential contribution towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3, which seeks to halve food waste by 2030.

The report was co-authored by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and sustainability organization WRAP, with support from Walmart Foundation and the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands. Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive of Tesco and Chair of Champions 12.3, which commissioned the study, emphasized the need to take action right across the food chain in order to achieve SDG 12.3. It is estimated that one-third of all food produced in the world is never eaten, with food loss and waste accounting for around US$940 billion in economic losses and eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. At the same time, some 800 million people do not have enough food to eat.

Based on a sample of 42 hotel firms in 15 countries, the study found that the majority were able to achieve a 7:1 return on investment from buying less food and thereby reducing purchase costs, increasing revenue from new menu items developed from leftovers or foods previously considered “scraps,” and lower waste management costs. According to the study report, nearly 90 percent of sites were able to keep their total investment below $20,000, which was less than one percent of sales on average, with more than two-thirds recouping their investment costs within one year.

Yolanda Kakabadse, Board Member of the World Wildlife Fund US, stated that reducing food waste within the hospitality sector provides a unique opportunity not only to influence an industry, but to raise awareness with travelers globally. Marcus Gover, Chief Executive of WRAP, called for a “momentum for change in all hotels,” noting the study had clearly demonstrated that with simple measures, hotels can save money, protect the environment and still satisfy the needs of their customers.

The report outlines five actions for hotel owners and managers: measure the amount of food being wasted to know where to prioritize efforts; engage staff; re-think the buffet; reduce overproduction; and re-purpose excess food. It further proposes that by working together, businesses may also be able to share new best practices to make an even greater impact.

The report follows a 2017 study titled, ‘The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste,’ and is the first in a series of papers examining the business case for specific industry sectors. Analyses of the catering and restaurant industries are expected to be released in 2018.

Champions 12.3 is a coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organizations, research institutions, and civil society dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilizing action, and accelerating progress towards achieving SDG Target 12.3. [Champions 12.3 Press Release] [Publication: The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Hotels]

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