In a world where sustainability has become a paramount concern, corporations increasingly take action to minimize their environmental footprint. Hilton, a global hospitality giant, has stepped up with its ‘Green Breakfast’ initiative. In collaboration with Winnow and ne’ma, the United Arab Emirates National Food Loss and Waste initiative, Hilton embarked on a journey to reduce food waste across its UAE-based hotels. This article delves into the details of this groundbreaking initiative and its remarkable results.
The Hilton ‘Green Breakfast’ Pilot Program
Understanding the Collaborators
Before we dive into the specifics, let’s get to know the key players in this eco-conscious endeavor:
- Hilton: A hospitality company with a strong commitment to sustainability.
- Winnow: A technology partner specializing in food waste reduction.
- ne’ma: The UAE National Food Loss and Waste initiative, working to combat food waste.
Pilot Program Unveiled
Hilton officially announced the results of its ‘Green Breakfast’ pilot program at a prestigious showcase held at Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre. The event featured Hilton’s Vice President of F&B Strategy and Development, Emma Banks, along with Jean Garris Hand, Vice President of Global ESG, and other program partners. Guests were treated to a sustainable breakfast showcase, followed by an enlightening panel discussion on the significance of food waste and the transformative impact of the pilot.
Three distinguished individuals played pivotal roles in this initiative:
- Khuloud Al Nuwais: Secretary General of NEMA, The National Food Loss and Waste Initiative.
- Marc Zornes: Co-Founder and CEO of Winnow.
- Tarek Khoury is the regional coordinator for climate change at the UN Environment Programme.
Building on Past Success
Hilton’s commitment to sustainability wasn’t born overnight. The company had previously collaborated with the UN Environment Programme for its successful ‘Green Ramadan’ campaign. Buoyed by this success, the ‘Green Breakfast’ pilot project took flight in August 2023.
The Journey to 62% Food Waste Reduction
Implementing Waste Reduction Measures
The project began with installing production and plate waste systems across 13 participating Hilton hotels in the UAE. These systems formed the foundation for gathering baseline data, continually updated until November 2023.
Stunning Reduction Figures
The ‘Green Breakfast’ pilot program witnessed a remarkable 62% reduction in pre-and post-consumer food waste. To put this in perspective, it saved over 400,000 meals and prevented nearly 726 tonnes of CO2e emissions annually. Pre-consumer waste, which includes kitchen scraps and food preparation waste, decreased by an impressive 76%, while post-consumer waste generated by guests saw a reduction of 55%.
Identifying the Culprits
Curious about which breakfast items contributed most to food waste? The list included items like bread and pastry, white eggs, porridge, congee, sambar, shakshuka, and baked beans. Understanding these trends was vital for effective waste reduction strategies.
Key Insights and Comments
Emma Banks on the Success
Emma Banks, Hilton’s Vice President of F&B Strategy & Development, EMEA, shared her thoughts on the pilot project’s success: “We are pleased to share the results of the industry’s first Green Breakfast initiative. Through this pilot project, we were able to learn and gather data on consumer behaviour so we can build awareness and take meaningful action scalable at hotels and across the industry. We hope this initiative will inspire the sector to source locally and reduce food waste.”
Leveraging Technology and Behavioral Nudges
Winnow equipped hotel teams with Artificial Intelligence measurement tools to ensure the smooth implementation of food waste reduction measures. These tools allowed for precise tracking and analysis of food waste. Additionally, they held weekly coaching sessions to instigate behavioural change among the hotel staff.
Guest Engagement with Sustainability
Ne’ma contributed by strategically placing behavioural nudges in the dining areas of participating hotels. These subtle reminders encouraged guests to make more sustainable choices during their breakfast experience.
Contributing to a National Cause
Hilton’s commitment extended beyond its operations. By regularly reporting its findings, the company actively contributed to the UAE’s national food loss and waste trial, supporting the country’s food waste reduction targets through ne’ma.
The Future of Food Waste Reduction
With the remarkable success of the ‘Green Breakfast’ pilot, Hilton remains steadfast in its commitment to prioritizing food waste reduction. The company is now gearing up for the next phase of this pioneering initiative, where further strides towards sustainability will be made.
13 Hilton hotels in the UAE embraced the ‘Green Breakfast’ initiative:
- Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
- Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre
- Conrad Dubai
- Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers
- The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton
- Canopy by Hilton Dubai Al Seef
- Hilton Dubai Jumeirah
- Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah
- Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort
- Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island
- Hampton by Hilton Marjan Island
- Hampton by Hilton Dubai Al Seef
- DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay
Hilton’s ‘Green Breakfast’ initiative, in collaboration with Winnow and ne’ma, stands as a shining example of how the hospitality industry can champion sustainability. With a 62% reduction in food waste, Hilton has made a significant environmental impact and set a precedent for others in the industry to follow. This initiative serves as a beacon of hope, showing that by joining forces, corporations can play a pivotal role in preserving our planet for future generations.