Hilton is leading the change when it comes to local sourcing, climate positive products and food waste management

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Emma Banks shares sustainability F&B milestones from across EMEA

Dubai, United Arab Emirates  –  As part of Hilton’s global commitment to drive towards a net zero future, the company is raising the bar on its carbon reduction goals in line with the Paris Agreement, under its Travel with Purpose ESG strategy. The science-based targets will see the managed portfolio cutting their emissions intensity by 75% by 2030, compared to its 2008 baseline. Ahead of the Future Hospitality Summit, Hilton’s F&B team is sharing some key sustainability milestones in response to the call to action, ‘Lead The Change’. To support these new environmental targets to drive greater sustainability and efficiency across the business, Hilton’s food and beverage portfolio across Europe, the Middle East and Africa is focusing intently on responsible procurement and food waste management in several key markets.

CARBON REDUCTION

According to WWF, the food industry accounts for around 30% of all greenhouse gases emitted. Studies suggest this figure could be cut in half if more people were encouraged to think about how much carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) they put on their plates and adapt their diets to introduce more climate-smart food and drink to mealtimes.

After the success of the “Growth Of The UAE’ campaign in 2021, which was recently highly commended by Hotelier Middle East as ‘Sustainability Project of The Year’, Hilton announced a commitment to source 350 tonnes of local produce in the UAE, in partnership with agritech platform Fresh On Table, back in February. To meet this goal, 22 Hilton hotels across the country committed to procure a minimum of 19 ingredients exclusively from UAE farms – with Fresh on Table acting as catalyst to source fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and poultry from farms across the Emirates. With the busiest time of the year ahead, the team has confirmed that they have purchased no fewer than 162 line items across 30 properties, equivalent to 291 tonnes – with an impactful saving of 6,844,064 KG CO2e and 83,193,297 food miles year to date. Furthermore, the successful launch of a local egg program across the Emirates has resulted in 3.8million eggs being served to Hilton guests so far this year, sourced from Emirates Poultry Farm.

In addition to pioneering a measurable commitment to the UAE’s food security mission, Hilton is also leading the change in a further four key markets in 2022, with the local sourcing commitment having been rolled out to KSA, Egypt, Spain and the UK, with Qatar to follow suit in 2023.

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia several line items have been identified which will result in significant volumes in the coming months. This includes a shift to local tomato purchase which will result in annualized procurement of 190 tonnes. The project will also see a commitment to olive oil, olives, shrimp and poultry purchase within the local market. In Egypt, 30% of the annual consumption is currently procured locally, equating to 150 tonnes.

In the UK market a total of 42 SKUs are now purchased in country and in Spain 158 imported line items have been converted into local sourcing and rationalized into 29 different categories.

This year has also seen the launch of the world’s first climate positive spirits into Hilton’s restaurants and bars across the UAE. After an eminently successful launch of Arbikie Highland Distillery’s range of climate positive spirits across the UK estate, the F&B team launched Nàdar spirits in the Middle East with a high-profile event at Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre in June. The teams developed a range of four cocktails which now feature across 13 UAE properties. Each 700ml bottle represents a Carbon footprint of -1.54 kg CO₂e and thanks to the Hilton collaboration is now available in the off trade too. Visitors to the Hilton stand at FHS will be invited to experience the climate positive product for themselves, with drinks being garnished with microgreens from the stand’s very own Crysp growing fridge.  Crysp is working with Hilton to develop vertical hydroponic farms at a selection of properties.

FOOD WASTE

In line with its Travel with Purpose strategy, Hilton is committed to cutting waste in half by 2030.

As part of a region wide food wastage strategy, the Hilton F&B team has set aggressive internal compliance targets and through benchmarking their food and beverage venues have seen a reduction of reported wastage by 5% per cover, across 200 participating hotels. In addition, a pioneering pilot project with Winnow AI technology (the Artificial Intelligence tool that help chefs run more profitable, sustainable kitchens by cutting food waste in half) across 21 hotels in 10 different countries across EMEA, has resulted in annualized savings of 600,000 meals, a 50% food waste-to-landfill reduction (from inventory to plate), and a saving of 100,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Since 2009, Hilton has used LightStay, its award-winning ESG management system, to track, analyze and report its environmental and social impact at its global portfolio of hotels, and articulate the company’s progress made towards its 2030 Goals. The data in LightStay is now used externally too. Hilton’s clients can request the environmental impact of their business travel and meetings through the Meeting Calculator, that includes food waste. The data is also used to certify our hotels with ‘eco-badges’ on online booking tools such as booking.com.

Commenting on the results, Emma Banks, Vice President, F&B Strategy and Development, EMEA, Hilton, said, “I am delighted to share these important milestones in our sustainability journey. For more than a century, Hilton has been driven by the belief that hospitality can be a force for good and I am incredibly proud of the team’s passion and commitment to our Travel with Purpose agenda. By committing publicly to these goals, we hope to inspire others into creating meaningful social impact across the food and beverage industry.”

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