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. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenview, a global sustainability consulting group, unveiled a first-of-its-kind 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 Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI) tools and lays important groundwork for an industry culture focused on improving operations and producing less waste. This uniform measurement and reporting will inform strategic action to increase profitability and efficiency while contributing to key environmental and social goals.
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.
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.”