Hospitality Industry Aims for Net Zero by 2040

Leading industry body UKHospitality unveils its ‘vitally important’ programme aimed at guiding the sector to net zero by 2040.

Announced at a seminar at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square today, the trade body’s new Sustainability Commitment sets out 10 pledges in four key areas – waste, supply chain, skills and biodiversity. The initiative forms part of a wider drive to help businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), make hospitality a leader in sustainability.

The 10 pledges outlined in UKHospitality’s Sustainability Programme comprise:

To deliver on 2040 net-zero aims for the sector
Roll out the UKH sustainability guide to members focusing on providing SMEs with tips, templates and best practice resources
Eliminate unnecessary single-use packaging by 2025
Reduce food waste by 50% by 2030
Incorporate sustainability skills in relevant training courses and promote the appointment of site-based sustainability champions
Support the Hospitality Sector Council’s Sustainability Committee on the delivery of the Hospitality Strategy’s environmental targets
Promote sign-up to external pledges, such as the Courtauld Commitment and Plastics Pact
Facilitate engagement across supply chains to reduce environmental impacts
Promote the roll out of EV charging points across the sector
Work with the Hospitality Sector Council to align industry objectives and share best practice amongst businesses

An accompanying Environmental Sustainability Guide for the Hospitality Sector SMEs was revealed in a presentation by Burger King UK chief financial officer, Tim Doubleday. The guide includes practical actions for businesses to take, such as making 100% of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable; ensuring all employees have completed WRAP’s 15-minute course on food waste; reviewing menus to incorporate more locally produced goods and plant dishes, and engaging with suppliers to source low carbon food alternatives for menus.

Delegates at the seminar were also addressed by Liz Harrowell, Associate Director, Climate Risk & Strategy, KPMG, who discussed how climate change could impact business models and the strategic levers available to drive decarbonisation of the value chain. Two discussion sessions at the event– To Net Zero and Working Together for a Sustainable Future – featured panellists from the Zero Carbon Forum, Sky, Britvic, Sodexo, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), and Biffa.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“Hospitality has been swift to embrace and accelerate sustainable practices in recent years but we’re entering a crucial phase in dealing with climate change, which makes our new Sustainability Commitment vitally important if we’re to deliver on 2040 net-zero aims for the sector.

“Ours is an overwhelmingly SME-led industry, so it’s crucial that SMEs are equipped with specialised tools to deliver the environmental targets set out by government, and to build businesses whose everyday operations are environmentally friendly.”