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Food for thought: Accor hotels combat hunger and food waste in Bangkok

October 17, 2013 Charity No Comments Email Email

IMG_5733Each year, World Food Day (October 16) serves as a stark reminder that about a third of the planet’s food production – 1.3 billion tons, equal to the total amount produced in Sub-Saharan Africa – goes to waste each year.

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 must increase by 60%.

These statistics led seven Bangkok hotels managed by Accor to jointly launch “Food for Thought”, an environmental and social initiative, supported by Accor Thailand’s Yim Kids Foundation, that reduces food wastage while providing nutritious meals to those in need.

image006The premise of the program is simple: instead of discarding usable food from banquets, bakeries and buffets, the hotels collect and deliver the food to the Fatima Centre of the Good Shepherd Sisters, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for at-risk women and girls.

“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,” said Mr. 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 - transporationIn line with PLANET 21, the Group’s sustainable development program, Food for Thought was founded in May 2012 by seven Accor hotels in Bangkok – 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. With PLANET 21, Accor makes 21 commitments to operating more responsibly, including 95% of hotels offering healthy dishes, 85% of hotels recycling their waste and 70% of hotels procuring locally-grown foods. The founding hotels gladly welcomed Mercure Bangkok Siam and ibis Bangkok Siam to join the program earlier this year.

IMG_5734Under 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 program has created such a positive and thankful atmosphere amongst the women and children,” said Sister Louise Horgan of the Good Shepherd Sisters’ Fatima Centre. “Because of the program, we have been able to provide the evening meals for all our projects here in the Fatima Centre.”

IMG_5735Beyond initiatives like Food for Thought, Accor hotels around the world have engaged in unique projects to make their food supply chain – from cradle to grave – more sustainable. For example, Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra in Siem Reap, Cambodia, worked with international NGO Agrisud to help local farmers grow higher quality vegetables.

This has resulted in the farmers improving their incomes, while enabling the hotel to reduce its reliance on imports. In New Zealand, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside’s bee colony on the hotel’s roof generates honey served at the hotel’s breakfast buffet.

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