New Strategies for Recapturing the Value of Hotel Food Waste

By Pete Pearson Director of Food Waste, World Wildlife Fund | December 23, 2018

I get the question often: why does World Wildlife Fund care about food loss and waste? People joke, do we need to feed surplus food to animals at the zoo?

Actually, donating surplus food to animals and zoos does happen in many cities, but food waste affects wildlife in a much deeper way. In fact, it affects every living animal on the planet, especially humans.

All by itself, estimates show that food waste is responsible for 8% of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. That's more than half of what's emitted by cars, buses, trucks, airplanes and ships around the world. It also represents a colossal waste of water, land, and energy.

Food waste is also a huge waste of money and resources. Reducing waste is a perfect example of how more sustainable business practices can sustain people, planet, and prosperity all at the same time.

Yet the food waste debate often focuses on how to keep waste out of landfills. That's a worthwhile goal, but it's not the best way to save money-or the planet.

As one hotel executive put it bluntly to me: "When we donate food to shelters or food banks, we're not saving costs. When we donate wet waste to pig farms, we don't improve the bottom line. When we compost more, we don't become more profitable. When we produce less food for an event, we're more efficient and it affects profitability."

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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.