McLean, Va. - As the holiday season approaches, Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is announcing the expansion of its innovative food donation initiative to all of its managed hotels across the United States and Canada, representing one of the largest hotel food donation programs to date. The company expects to donate nearly 100 tons of food over the next year — enough to feed more than 160,000 people — while also diverting millions of pounds of food waste from landfills.
“We have a century-long tradition at Hilton of playing a pioneering role in the hospitality industry, and it is inspiring to see our Team Members taking that spirit out into their communities to address the serious problem of food insecurity,” said Chef Marc Ehrler, Vice President of Americas Culinary, Hilton. “What started as a pilot in a few of our hotels has become a movement because our Team Members are motivated by a desire to have a positive impact.”
Approximately one-third of food is wasted worldwide, yet global food insecurity remains endemic. It is estimated that more than 41 million Americans, including 13 million children, currently suffer from food insecurity. Meanwhile, most food waste ends up in landfills where it produces nearly 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute significantly to climate change.
In response, Hilton included an ambitious commitment to reduce its food waste by 50% by 2030 as part of the company’s Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals to cut its environmental footprint in half. Working with its environmental partner, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Hilton undertook pilots at 50 hotels around the world to better understand food waste reduction challenges and opportunities in the hospitality industry. The pilots resulted in a number of innovations in Hilton hotels, from “no-waste” catering menus to thoughtfully designed buffet presentations.
“At Hilton, we have incredible potential to solve some of society’s most pressing challenges through our hospitality mission,” said Katie Fallon, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, responsible for Hilton’s corporate responsibility efforts. “We will keep at this until every one of our hotels around the world is diverting food waste to address the hunger crisis, so that our guests know that when they stay with us, they are traveling with a purpose.”
Hilton also participated in the development of the Hotel Kitchen toolkit, a free tool developed by WWF and the American Hotel & Lodging Association with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, which provides hotels with techniques to reduce food waste. Hilton has implemented the Hotel Kitchen toolkit and its associated trainings at all of its managed hotels in the Americas, while also making the toolkit available to its franchised properties.
Now, Hilton is expanding its food waste initiative by encouraging its 300 managed hotels in the US and Canada to partner with local food rescue organizations to feed the hungry in their immediate communities. Each hotel will set a food waste diversion and donation goal for 2020 and report their progress so top performers can be recognized each month. Hotel teams will be able to select organizations to work with from a robust directory of food donation and diversion partners from across the country, as well as connect with one another to share best practices.
Examples of existing partnerships include:
- Hilton San Francisco Union Square has worked with Food Runners for nearly 15 years, providing nearly 2.5 tons of food to the organization annually. Food donated by Hilton is relayed by Food Runners’ volunteers to programs serving seniors, veterans and the homeless.
- Conrad New York Downtown donates excess edible food to the Rethink Food Program, which picks up unused food from restaurants, farms, and other food purveyors to repurpose it into delicious and nutritious meals for under-served New Yorkers.
- Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas donated nearly a ton of food over the last year to its partner Three Square, which distributes the food to local non-profit organizations.
Hilton’s food donation program is initially focused on the US and Canada because food donors in those countries are legally protected from liability under Good Samaritan laws, but the company’s goal is to expand these efforts globally. Donation efforts are already being driven at many of Hilton’s hotels around the world, including partnerships with groups like Scholars of Sustenance in Thailand and Indonesia, Oz Harvest and Addi Road Food Pantry in Australia, the Egyptian Food Bank, Equoevento in Italy, and Al Rescate, the first food rescue program created specifically for the hospitality industry in Mexico.
Hilton measures its food waste progress using the company’s cloud-based corporate responsibility management system, LightStay. All properties are required to use LightStay to measure their environmental and social impact. So far this year, Hilton hotels in the Americas have diverted more than 6 million pounds of food waste from landfills, an equivalent of more than 11,000 MT of carbon emissions.
To learn more about Hilton’s Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility strategy and 2030 Goals, please visit cr.hilton.com.
About Travel with Purpose
Travel with Purpose is Hilton’s corporate responsibility strategy to redefine and advance sustainable travel globally. By 2030, we plan to double our social impact investment and cut our environmental footprint by half. We track, analyze and report our environmental and social impact at each of Hilton’s nearly 6,000 hotels through LightStay, our award-winning performance measurement system. Travel with Purpose capitalizes on Hilton’s global scale to catalyze local economic growth; promote human rights; invest in people and local communities; and preserve our planet by reducing our impact on natural resources. Our strategy aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Visit cr.hilton.com to learn more.
Hilton is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 22 world-class brands comprising more than 7,500 properties and nearly 1.2 million rooms, in 126 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed over 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, was named the No. 1 World’s Best Workplace by Great Place to Work and Fortune and has been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for seven consecutive years. Hilton has introduced industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the more than 180 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.