PATA (the Pacific Asia Travel Association) has developed a free toolkit to help hotels reduce their food waste and work together to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The group has identified food waste as a key concern for hotels and a contributor to climate change and has shared the toolkit via its BUFFET – Building an Understanding For Food Excess in Tourism – website .
The website aims to provide those in hospitality with more information and resources about reducing food waste. Answering the question as to why they’ve chosen to focus on food waste, the site says: The hospitality industry in many parts of the world, and especially in the Asia Pacific, is expected to see significant growth in the next five years. Between 2016-2017, growth was just under 6%, from around 595 million IVAs in 2016 to an approximate 630 million IVAs in 2017. This number is expected to climb to 760 in 2021.
With greater growth, greater waste can be implied, and “more waste usually translates into a greater environmental footprint and therefore more harm to the ecosystem. For example, a hotel guest is estimated to generate up to 1kg of waste per day on average.”
With increasing concern in the world for climate change, food waste has come increasingly under attention in recent years and for good reason, including research that suggests a third of all food produced globally is wasted and that food waste is the third highest contributor to climate change.
The site points out: Right now 842 million people do not have enough to eat and with an estimated world population of 9.8 billion people in 2050 resources will be limited and more people will be hungry (UN, 2017). When food gets thrown away and rots it releases methane, which is (21 times) more devastating to the environment than carbon dioxide.
For hotels food waste represents a cost that’s paid three times over: for the cost of ingredients, for the labour in the kitchen, and for the means of disposal. PATA says: the impact in this sector is immense, but that also means that we can make a big positive change in this industry. Reducing food waste will reduce the cost for operators in the industry while benefiting the environment at the same time.
The BUFFET Initiative is about bringing together a coalition of industry partners and PATA members to create and implement a campaign that challenges our industry, particularly the hospitality sector, to reduce food waste to landfill. The main activities in the initiative include raising awareness of food waste in the industry and the creation of Asia-Pacific focused resources for hoteliers and other hospitality and tourism professionals to drive positive change and ultimately reduce their food waste to landfill. While the initiative aims to impact our industry at large, PATA will be focusing additional efforts on hotels and F&B providers in Asia, and specific hotel properties in Bangkok in their Bangkok Hotels Project .
Additionally the project helps to work towards four of the Global Goals:
Goal 2: Zero Hunger End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture This program would address Goal 2 by redirecting quality excess food through the campaign initiatives.
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production Ensure sustainable consumption & production patterns This program would address Goal 12 by providing awareness and tools to properties that show how curbing food waste can also positively impact the (triple) bottom line. It would encourage tourism businesses to implement, evaluate, and mainstream SCP practices and strategies that contribute to sustainable growth and development.
Goal 13: Climate Action Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts This program addresses Goal 13 by diverting food waste to landfill, resulting in a reduction of methane and carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development This initiative can only be accomplished through partnerships and solidarity in the hospitality sector.
Hoteliers keen to learn more about the project and to download the free toolkit can visit the website: https://www.pata.org/food-waste/ 
In March they are launching the BUFFET for Youth challenge  which aims to get the next generation of hospitality professionals eager to do more on food waste and sustainability.
BUFFET is supported by a range of organisations including the International Tourism Partnership .