INTERNATIONAL - That breakfast buffet at your hotel looks delicious, but it could be hiding an unsavory secret—a major contribution to food waste.
Marriott Hotels International Inc. is aiming to cut food waste by 50% at its properties by 2025, said Denise Naguib, vice president of sustainability and supplier diversity for the hotel giant, at Bloomberg’s second annual The Year Ahead: Luxury summit. This will be a major focus for the company during 2020.
“If we are going to tackle major issues against climate change, we need to tackle food waste,” Naguib said.
The panel discussion, moderated by Nikki Ekstein, Bloomberg’s travel editor, also featured Albert Herrera, senior vice president of global product partnerships for Virtuoso, and Harsha Chanrai L’Acqua, founder and chief executive officer of Saira Hospitality, at Bloomberg’s Manhattan headquarters on Thursday, Nov. 21. Other speakers included Tiffany Chief Executive Officer Alessandro Bogliolo, architect Robert A.M. Stern, pastry chef Christina Tosi, and Rent the Runway’s Jenn Hyman, as well as executives from Porsche and Brunello Cucinelli.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, about 11% of greenhouse gas emissions could be eliminated if food waste were brought to zero. Aviation, by comparison, accounts for 2% of global emissions.
Naguib explained that the hotel brand started by testing out food waste reduction strategies at 10 properties and then developed a path for all its hotels.
Don’t worry that Marriott will entirely eliminate the breakfast buffet. Naguib added that the company is working on ways on ways to prevent customers from throwing away unwanted food and to help chefs change the way they prepare meals—and through smarter, more sustainable sourcing. Some of the solutions are quite simple: Instead of re-filling a half-empty tray of scrambled eggs when meal service is nearly over, Marriott will put what’s left into smaller containers. Green eggs and ham, indeed.