Skip to content

Developing sustainable food waste management practices |Marriott International

Hotel group Marriott International in cooperation with food waste technology providers Leanpath and Winn. Marriott International’s Serve 360 strategy sets out a commitment to creating positive and sustainable impact wherever the company does business and comprises four pillars: Nurture Our World Empower Through Opportunity Welcome All and Advance Human Rights and Sustain Responsible Operations The latter pillar includes a goal to reduce the corporation’s environmental footprint across its portfolio. Food waste, which accounts for 8-10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, has been identified as a key issue to address. Marriott International’s sustainability commitments include cutting waste to landfill by 45% and food waste by 50% by 2025, from a 2016 baseline. Its approach to waste management is based on a circular economy approach, with food ordering and preparation systems designed to reduce and recycle waste as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Food waste reduction technology was piloted in a number of properties (for example in Scotland, Spain and Dubai) to identify key waste production areas, pinpoint the causes and develop actions to address the issue, in order to produce resources and training tools for its global portfolio. The technology introduced uses a built-in scale, camera, touch screen interface and automated food waste tracking. Kitchen teams photograph the buffet layout and the food waste generated. This information is uploaded to a platform and analysed to produce insights on the reasons for waste, such as portion sizes being too large; or perhaps quality or presentational issues. Practical recommendations are then given to the catering staff on how to avoid wastage and reduce food spend. The programme is supported with back of house communications, such as food waste reduction posters in 14 languages. Staff behaviour change is motivated, and results achieved faster, by encouraging them to find creative ways to cut food waste and by setting reduction targets for specific food items. Alongside operational changes, Marriott International is also involved in food-waste related social action and educational programmes, such as a pilot project in Puerto Rico with Nilus, a food distribution channel connecting food producers, distributors, community kitchens and social bodies. A digital ‘food rescue’ programme has been designed to minimise food waste, whilst creating affordable, healthy food markets for people on low incomes. On the basis of the pilot programme and the learning gained, a suite of internal resources and training tools have now been prepared to bring awareness and education to hotels globally. The pilot system in 10 hotels in Europe resulted in a 64% reduction in food waste over four months in 2019. Food waste tracking has enabled trends to be identified and ac tion taken to change practices. For example, the staff canteen in Alfonso XIII Hotel in Seville, Spain, addressed over-preparation of portions by cooking to order and stop ping using a holding oven – reducing food waste by over 3 tonnes across a year. In the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa Edinburgh, food waste was decreased by 58% in terms of weight and 64% by value – as well as saving labour effort in preparing and cooking the food. Grosvenor House in Dubai reduced its food waste by 72%.