Hilton Worldwide has launched a pilot program to distribute surplus food to community organizations that feed the poor in Egypt. The hotel chain has teamed up with Feeding America and The Global FoodBanking Network to collect food that would otherwise be thrown away from cafes, restaurants, and conferences and distribute it to school feeding programs, food pantries, soup kitchens, and other community programs.
Egypt is the only international beneficiary of this experimental project to reduce food waste, which will also be conducted in New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Orlando and Kansas City in the United States.
Last year the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that one third of all food produced in the world goes to waste even though an estimated 925 million people go hungry.
“This is an important program because every year billions of pounds of food go to waste, while at the same time more than 850 million people do not have enough to eat,” Jennifer Silberman, vice president of corporate responsibility for Hilton told Triple Pundit.
“Hilton Worldwide is committed to securing food resources where we live, work and travel,” Silberman added. “Partnering with Feeding America and The Global FoodBanking Network will help us collect safe, unused food from our hotels and distribute it to local people and organizations in need across the globe.”
In Egypt, it is estimated that nearly half of the country’s 82 million inhabitants live below the poverty line, with a great deal of wealth is concentrated in the pockets of an elite few. There are five Hilton hotels in Cairo and Alexandria and an additional 12 resorts scattered throughout the country.
Collecting food from these establishments alone could help reduce hunger in the cities especially and divert methane-producing waste from landfills.
Hotels and restaurants are largely responsible not only for food waste but other resource excesses as well, an issue that Hilton Worldwide committed to addressing in 2009. In addition to slashing its energy and water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, the corporate hotel chain has reduced its overall waste by 23.3% since 2009.
The new food waste distribution program, which will undergo an initial one year trial, is just one of two new, ambitious initiatives aimed at lightening Hilton’s global footprint.
In the United States, they have committed to recycling 85% of its mattresses and box springs into other useful materials including tools, construction materials, carpet padding and tempered flooring.
This is what we call genuine corporate responsibility. Let’s hope it takes hold.
Image via Ramses Hilton in Cairo