Thailand: Seven Hotels Donate Unused – but Edible – Food to Charity

Corporate Social Responsibility

What happens to that food that doesn’t get eaten at those buffets at hotel restaurants? Or the leftovers from those wedding banquets? Or the breads that don’t get sold at hotel bakeries? Chances are it gets thrown in the bin.

Did you know that one-third of the planet’s food production – 1.3 billion tonnes, – goes to waste each year? That’s equal to the total amount of food produced in Sub-Saharan Africa

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 850 million people are undernourished, with one in seven people worldwide going to bed hungry each night.

And to meet global food demand by 2050, agricultural production will have to increase by 60%.

Food for Thought

These statistics led seven hotels in Bangkok, Thailand, to launch “Food for Thought”, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative designed to cut the amount of food that hotels waste while providing nutritious meals to those in need.

So here’s how it works. Instead of throwing away eatable food from banquets, bakeries, and buffets, seven Bangkok hotels in the Accor Group will collect and deliver the food to a local charity, the Fatima Centre of the Good Shepherd Sisters.

“For hoteliers, food waste is a key concern and we are constantly looking for ways to source more sustainable food and to optimize our consumption,” says David Baldwin, General Manager of Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square and Accor’s sustainable development champion for Thailand.

“With 15% of the world’s population going hungry, but only about 12% of the world’s food waste being recycled, we saw an opportunity to address two issues with one solution. With Food for Thought we can keep good quality food out of landfill, while also providing nutritious meals to those in need.”

Food for Thought was launched in May 2012 by the following hotels in the Thai capital: Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square, Pullman Bangkok King Power, Novotel Bangkok Platinum, Grand Mercure Fortune Bangkok, Novotel Bangkok Ploenchit Sukhumvit, Vie Hotel Bangkok, and Grand Sukhumvit Hotel Bangkok.

Planet 21

With Planet 21, Accor has made 21 commitments to operate more responsibly. This includes 95% of hotels offering healthy dishes, 85% of hotels recycling their waste, and 70% of hotels procuring locally-grown foods.

Mercure and ibis Siam joined the initiative earlier this year.

Under Food for Thought, unconsumed food is collected and stored by the hotels in accordance with health and safety requirements. The hotels take turns with collecting and transporting the donations to the Fatima Centre, which serves the food during its evening meal service.

“The programme has created such a positive and thankful atmosphere amongst the women and children,” says Sister Louise Horgan of the Good Shepherd Sisters’ Fatima Centre.

“Because of the programme, we have been able to provide the evening meals for all our projects here in the Fatima Centre.”

If you ask me, this programme makes a whole lot more sense than those high profile – but little impact – programmes such as turning the lights out for one hour once a year.


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