Feel like you don’t totally understand our ecological footprint and how we fit in on the planet? It seems so complex, but Alexandre Magnin explains it wonderfully in this six-minute cartoon. Check it out and see how we can work to reduce our footprint!
Everyone loves a good TED Talk! Here’s one of our favorites:
If you have ever been into a restaurant kitchen, you've likely seen how much food, water and energy are wasted on a daily basis. In his talk, Chef Arthur Potts-Dawson shared his vision to drastically reduce restaurant and supermarket waste. His plan involves creating recycling, composting, and sustainable stations that will benefit the environment and allow for the creation of great food!
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
Perhaps when you travel you are the type to throw everything for weeks in a single backpack and rough it, but it seems like most of us are falling into a dangerous mindset where going on vacation (or even attending an event) changes the rules when it comes to sustainable practices.
You might give in and do everything the easiest way possible because, well, you’re on vacation! What’s the big deal about buying a bottle of water everywhere you go? Or loading up your plate a little more than necessary in the morning at the hotel’s breakfast buffet only to have to throw a third of the food away? But there is so much we should be doing when traveling or attending events in order to minimize our detrimental impact on the environment — particularly as sustainability consultants!
Here are some areas where you can improve your personal level of waste while traveling or organizing events while at the same time encouraging your clients to make changes. First you may need to help your clients better understand the benefits that come from implementing a sustainable development strategy which incorporates people, planet and profit for long term success. Sam Trainor-Buckingham outlines that there are many practical benefits for the hospitality industry in this area.
In so many travel experiences people encounter a buffet. This overstocked and overwhelming area of a hotel or cruise is, in actuality, greatly contributing to a massive food waste problem.
The FAO reports up to one third of food is spoiled or discarded before consumption, a terrible thing when 800 million people around the globe are considered chronically hungry.
We are particularly guilty of this wasteful behavior in the United States where per capita food waste has increased by ~50% since 1974, with each individual generating upwards of 220 pounds of food waste per year.
A recent study found that only slightly more than half the food put out in hotel buffets is actually consumed so not only is food going to waste, but hotels are wasting money by overstocking. With this info in mind, some hotels are looking to improve their offerings in order to minimize waste such as offering smaller plates, having stations with nutrition information and more.
But it isn’t just a hotel issue. We are a culture where food seems to be everywhere and we need to be more mindful of how we can reduce this terrible problem. Just a few weeks ago Ashley Weisman published A Step-by-Step Guide to Zero Waste Events on Greenbiz.com. Weisman issues a challenge — to make zero-waste events the new norm.
In order to do so you must collaborate with your venue and your vendors. With the right information, you can work to divert waste to compost and recycling. You just need to make sure you ask the correct questions, such as: What type of waste infrastructure does the venue have in place? How is food waste normally disposed of ? Where at the venue can you intercept waste between the event and the landfill? Are there compost and recycling bins in the kitchen for meal prep?
For zero-waste events you also need to make sure that the back of house staff is trained, which should take no more than 10-15 minutes, including time for questions. This will allow you to list what items are compostable and recyclable, explain why it matters and how their efforts will make a difference and add that responsible waste management is becoming the new normal. Just think, your event will not only have an immediate impact, but it could make an impression on vendors, the venue, the attendees and the staff who may work toward adopting similar practices for future events.
The bottom line is that this waste is not only hurting the environment, but it is also hurting businesses bottom lines. It’s time to work with your clients to help them improve their food offerings, the way they handle waste, and the items they chose from the start. In time, they are bound to be pleased with a reduced footprint and a reduced budget.
Nothing inspires us like a good TED talk, and here’s one of our favorites. Enjoy it!
About the speaker: Jill Farrant is a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. She researches resurrection plants plants that can survive extreme drought, “resurrecting” when moistened or irrigated.
About the talk: Farrant believes that if we can better understand the natural preservation mechanisms of “resurrection plants,” we could better understand and develop more drought-tolerant crops to feed populations in increasingly dry and arid climates around the world.
The connections between increased revenue and investment in sustainability programs are complicated.
Even today, sustainability professionals continue to “make the business case” for sustainability.
It’s true that sustainability programs require an investment—in staff, in reporting, in communications, in change management—and the case for making smart investments for maximum results must continue to be made.
However, as we enter 2016, we should no longer need to make the case for sustainability itself.
Although directly linked financial benefits are sometimes difficult to identify, research suggests companies that fully integrate sustainability principles and practices into their strategic operations do outperform peers financially.
The counterargument is that these same companies are just more strategic overall, sustainability or not, so they will perform well simply because of a culture of innovation, risk mitigation, long-term planning, and thought-leadership.
The fact is, as we enter 2016, a company can’t even be considered a strong, strategic player without sustainability being one of its core principles. Sustainability has made it into the short list of core principles of true strategic leadership. In other words, you can’t have one without the other.
Case in Point: The Food & Beverage Industry
Pure Strategies, a sustainability consulting firm focused on the food and beverage industry, recently published results of a survey of major global food and beverage companies.
In the 2015 report, 18% more food and beverage companies, 100% of companies surveyed, are developing or implementing sustainability programs (from 82% in 2013), and 46% of the companies reported increased sales (up from 19% in 2013).
What the report tells us is:
- More than ever before, food and beverage companies are implementing sustainability programs based on best practices of the companies that have already implemented sustainability programs
- As the best-practice modeling increases throughout the industry, more food and beverage companies are reporting increased sales
- The leaders of these food and beverage companies are tying industry-wide sustainability best practices directly to their increased sales
The food and beverage survey shows how sustainability, as a core strategic focus, is permeating the very operating principles of an entire industry – and a significant percentage of companies are making more money in the process.
Using food and beverage as an example, any company looking to become a long-term leader in any sector should look seriously at its approach to sustainability.
Sustainability must truly be integrated into a company’s core strategic plans, or it will likely get left behind.
If your company looking to integrate industry best practice planning into its sustainability strategy, a great place to start is with a sustainability assessment and peer benchmarking report.
Nothing inspires us like a good TED talk, and here’s one of our favorites. Enjoy it!
About the Speaker: Barton Seaver is an advocate of sustainable seafood and a chef in Washington DC. His work tells the story of our common resources through the communion we all share – dinner.
About the Talk: Chef Barton Seaver presents a modern dilemma: Seafood is one of our healthier protein options, but overfishing is desperately harming our oceans. He talks about the costs of overfishing - costs hidden underneath the waves. His suggestion on how to restore seafood? Focus on changing the “fundamental meaning of dinner.”
Join us for a complimentary webinar about Reducing and Managing Food Waste presented by AGPOM’s Partner International Tourism Partnership on September 24th.
Every bit of food you throw away costs you and the environment.
According to UNEP, roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes – gets lost or wasted. Additionally, according to the Food Waste Alliance, 68m tonnes of food waste are produced each year in the US, with around 39.7m tonnes going to landfill or incineration. One third of this is from full and quick service (QSR) restaurants. The saddest part is 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat.
What’s the environmental issues cased by food waste?
- When food rots it creates methane (CH4) which has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide
- Every time food is wasted, the water, energy, time, manpower, land, fertilizer, fuel, packaging and MONEY put into growing, preparing, storing, transporting, cooking the food is wasted.
- If food waste was a country, it would be the world’s 3rd largest emitter of CO2
Reduced Waste = Reduced Expenses
By taking a few simple steps to waste less and recycle more, and by working out the cost of food waste to the business, hotels can reap financial as well as environmental benefits. Read more
By: Alexandra Kueller
Honesty is the best policy, right? According to customers, the answer is yes. Public relations and communications firm Cohn & Wolfe conducted a study on authentic brands by company to see consumers are demanding. In fact, the top three qualities or behaviors that people want to see from big companies are communicating honestly about products and services, not letting customers down, and acting with integrity all times.
Fast Company then asked people in the United States and 11 other major markets what they wish to see from brands, and do you know what was on the bottom of the list? Innovation, great products, and having a popular brand.
Chipotle is taking note of all of these points: the Mexican-food chain recently announced that they will stop serving pork at hundreds of their locations when one of their suppliers violated Chipotle’s standards. So how exactly is Chipotle giving their customers authenticity? They are becoming a great model for big brands in the 21st century:
Companies often have a set of standards and values they hold themselves (and their suppliers) to, but how are consumers to know if a company follows these values? Brands need to be honest and show they are acting with integrity. With Chipotle announcing that they are cutting one of their main protein toppings from some of their stores, they indicated they are not afraid to show that they uphold their standards.
Transparency for the Modern World
Ever since the economic crash, more people are cynical about corporations’ behavior and motives - only 3% of Americans think big businesses are honest and transparent! Companies can no longer afford to hide behind the curtain with more and more people calling for transparency, and Chipotle knows this and is being honest about their product.
We live in a digital world. People are always connected, which makes it easier for information to be seen by the masses, and it means that both good and bad information about a company can quickly spread. A company cannot wait and hope a bad piece of information will never go public, but instead they need to embrace the digital side and come forward with the information. While Chipotle’s announcement about no longer serving pork might not be “bad” information, it does indicate that the company is embracing the digital world and is not letting anyone beat them to the punch.
Should more companies follow in Chipotle’s footsteps of providing more transparency and authenticity? Let us know in the comments below and join the conversation on twitter!