Food Waste – Why we need to take action
16th November 2021
The current climate
There are many environmental issues in the world right now but many of them feel out of our control with big corporations causing a lot of the problems – things such as large power plants and factories will often come to mind.
Of course in reality medium and small businesses also have the own effect on the environment and can cause a significant amount of harm too but as it is not on the same scale as bigt corporations it is often overlooked.
Despite peoples beliefs, there is something a lot closer to home which is creating a significant amount of carbon emissions that we most probably overlook, that being food waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations about 30% of all food is wasted and food waste accounts for nearly 10% of total global carbon emissions a year.
It is a topic that comes up in the media quite frequently, many people will have seen news stories on major companies whose bins are full up with food waste. In recent times, A well known donut chain in America had a video leaked where employees threw a large amount of donuts into the bin at the end of the day causing outrage. No matter what the donut chain actually do with their food waste, this shows how food waste is something people need to take seriously or risk bad PR and public backlash.
A study conducted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation indicates how food loss and waste accounts for around 3.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions which correlates to a scenario where if food waste and loss were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. It’s these greenhouse gases that are damaging the planet by increasing the temperatures across the globe and melting the ice caps which is resulting in rising sea-levels. It is these rising sea-levels that will cause many parts of the UK to be underwater by 2050.
At the recent COP26 event in Glasgow research demonstrated that many parts of central London and coastal areas of the UK will be underwater. By lowering our food wastage we can lower the amount of greenhouse gases we produce – which will in turn help slow down the rising global temperatures therefore preventing the ice caps from melting even further.
Every bite counts
Hunger within the UK is on the rise and the number of families who struggle to feed their children has been an issue however, if food waste would be given to charities in order to tackle the growing hunger problem, both food waste would be reduced and there would be fewer hungry people. A large number of food is wasted in supermarkets and restaurants although there are now a number of new programmes which encourage food to be used in purposeful ways such as, using scraps to create a new dish or selling food going out of date for a reduced cost such as ‘too good to go’ – an app which was created in 2015 in Denmark.
Sustainability & Hospitality
Food waste is becoming an ever growing problem for the sustainability of our hospitality and catering services. With sustainability becoming a more important part of society, event and hospitality need to be as sustainable as possible in order for success. Catering companies have been employing sustainability managers in order to focus on their effort to become more sustainable.
Catering company Holroyd Howe has introduced sustainability managers in order to protect the environment around them as they are aware of the impact they have on the planet around them and aim to help and support the schools they work with towards a sustainable future. More inforamtion on this can be found at: https://www.holroydhowe.com/our-food/
Sustainable hospitality has seen large names including Hilton becoming more focused on being a sustainable brand – which has rewarded the Hilton with the name Global Industry Leader in Sustainability by DJSI which is the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the second year in a row – which makes it the fourth consecutive year that Hilton hotels have been recognised for their leadership in sustainability. Further information on how Hilton is making difference can be found here: https://cr.hilton.com/environment/
Whilst recovering from the effects of COVID 19 Hilton has remained committed to its ‘Travel with purpose Goals for 2030’ These goals were created in 2018 which relate to the United Nations sustainable development goals. Hilton is the first hotel which has set a number of carbon reduction aims which go alongside the Paris Climate Agreement.
Further in the hospitality industry, festivals are also trying to go green. A mission conducted by ‘The Powerful Thinking Vision 2025’ has pledged to decrease the number of greenhouse gases that are produced by festivals by over 50%. Cheltenham Festivals has pledged to ensure 0% of the waste they create end up in landfill along with a number of other sustainable goals such as reducing the use of single use plastic and encouraging the use of public transport to reduce ‘travel related emissions’.
Sustainability within Hospitality Teaching
Chawla G, a University of South Wales (USW) course leader, discusses the importance of being sustainably minded within the hospitality sector in order to be a successful manager. Due to this he is incorporating sustainability as part of the undergraduate hospitality courses offered at USW. He believes that being a sustainable thinker and overcoming environmental issues will hugely impact students career development in the future by setting them apart from others – therefore giving them an advantage hereafter.