The Business Case for Reducing Food Waste

By Pete Pearson Director of Food Waste, World Wildlife Fund | April 01, 2018

For hotels, saving money can also help save the environment while enriching the guest experience. Take water, for example. By encouraging guests to reuse towels and linens, hotels reduced their laundry expenses and saved water. They also helped raise their guests' awareness of water conservation, generating good will for the hotels and spurring positive behavior change at home.

Now, in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), hotels across the country have a platform to save money by saving another critical resource: food.

Following a year-long research and demonstration project program, WWF and AHLA have rolled out a set of tools on  to provide hotels with a step-by-step guide to reduce waste, cut costs, and enhance relationships with their staff, guests, and community.

Why is Food Waste Important?

Food is our most vital human connection to the planet. It is essential to sustain life and deeply embedded in our cultures. Yet it also takes a huge toll on the planet, more than any other human activity.

Food production accounts for 70 percent of the water that people use, 40 percent of the frost-free land we occupy, and between 25 to 30 percent of the greenhouse gases we emit. It drives loss of habitats from the Amazon rainforest to the grasslands of the United States, and it's responsible for a significant decline in wildlife population. Yet despite the amount of time and resources it takes to grow, process, manufacture, and transport food, we seem to value it less and less.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.