On Monday, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) both finalized and released their 2017 Annual Reports detailing last year’s hospitality industry accomplishments. It is my job to look for sustainability-related news and accomplishments in such reports. While the AHLA report did include news about the organization’s growth—it added 200,000 rooms in 2017—and highlighted initiatives geared toward the advancement of youth, it failed to include any substantive information at all about the advancement of sustainability in the lodging industry. Quite disappointing given everything that is going on. Also, AHLA does have a Sustainability Committee.
On a positive note, the AHLEF report did include details on 372 scholarships awarded and information on www.hotelkitchen.org, a summary of an initiative including the World Wildlife Fund, AHLA, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation. The initiative included a set of projects demonstrating innovative strategies aimed at reducing food waste in the hotel industry. Ten hotel properties participated in the 12 weeks of demonstration projects, including a mix of full-service branded hotels and several independent operations across the country. They tested different waste reduction strategies, including low-waste menu planning, staff training and education, and customer engagement. Overall, participating properties reduced food waste from 10 percent to 38 percent. If this scaled across the industry, it would eliminate half a million tons of waste within a year. In some cases, properties lowered food costs by 3 percent or more after increasing measurement and engagement. Click here to read my column about www.hotelkitchen.org