CASE STUDY FROM LIGHTBLUE CONSULTING GROUP: ZERO FOOD WASTE MAURITIUS
In Mauritius, a small island nation off the coast of Africa, Food Waste Hygiene Mauritius estimates that over 5,281 tons of food waste is produced annually. Food prices are peaking across society and there is a high dependence on imports to feed the population. Meanwhile, the escalating climate change crisis is being fuelled by food waste, with landfills leading to dangerous amounts of methane gas that has led to the rising temperatures over Mauritius and beyond.
In 2021, through a program titled “Zero Food Waste Mauritius” engineered by UN-awarded LightBlue Consulting the project worked with eight hotels and two corporate canteens. The partners embarked on a journey to cut down on food waste, reduce unnecessary costs and negative environmental impacts, and reach the international certification The PLEDGE™ on Food Waste.
The PLEDGE™ on Food Waste is a third-party Certification and Benchmarking system designed to reduce food waste, save costs, and attract new customers. It is composed of 95 criteria articulated around 7 pillars, and when successful the “pledgers” are granted bronze, silver, gold or ALL-STAR certified status.
Food waste arisings were tracked and analyzed using a multilingual app and data analytics software, offering a practical and scalable solution for commercial kitchens willing to track and reduce food waste and associated costs at multiple locations.
A multi-department Food Lovers' Committee was set up to implement the certification and run the program. Pledgers strive for zero food waste to landfill operations and long-term behavior change among the staff.
After nine months, these actions led to:
· 43% average reduction in food waste/cover
· 62,566 Kg of food not being wasted, therefore 125,132 meals saved
· $209,717 saved
· 156.4 Tons of CO2 Emissions prevented
The ten participants in the PLEDGE™ also reached the “Silver, Gold, and All-Star” Certification as a result of their strong commitments to the implementation of responsible and sustainable practices in their kitchen operations.
Seismic impacts can be made when actionable plans, guidance, technical training, practical tools, and a solid certification system are implemented.
It was found that by combining capacity building, food waste tracking through the Food Intel Tech technology, data analysis and the implementation of a certification process, a positive impact could be created on food waste, on adopters' own financial performance, and in encouraging circular systems.
It was concluded that:
1. A drive from top management is key
2. It’s not a one person’s job. Cross departmental approach, clear roles and responsibilities, and KPIs linked to bonus/performance.
3. There cannot be substantial results without capacity building, the technology for data-driven change, and a Certification for a rigorous methodology.
4. Public Communication about the efforts by participants early in the program is instrumental.
5. Change in behavior requires time and must be data-driven.
The Mauritius Project not only was a resounding success in reducing food waste, CO2 emissions, and costs saved on the island nation, but it serves as a proven-blueprint and foundation for the next Food Waste Prevention project LightBlue Consulting oversaw. This time on a much grander scale across the Asia-Pacific region with eight Hyatt hotels between April to July 2022.
There, within a shorter time frame of four months, the participants were able to achieve:
· 36% average reduction in food waste/cover
· 49,020 Kg of food not being wasted, therefore 98,041 meals saved
· $241,170 saved
· 122.5 Tons of CO2 Emissions prevented
With these successive projects achieving significant results, LightBlue’s pool of clients seeking their consultancy, guidance, training, tools, and taking the PLEDGE™ on Food Waste certification systems has been growing.
An indisputable sign that Food Waste Prevention is finally becoming the new-normal.
"We clearly see the need for a structured approach to food waste prevention that helps restaurants and hotels cut significantly on costs. The PLEDGE™ is also a fantastic tool to recognize the personnel's efforts and show customers that adopters really care about the future of our island.”
Pamela Leste, Senior Manager, Economic, Market Analysis & Sustainability
The case study has been provided by LightBlue Consulting in support of the Global Roadmap for Food Waste Reduction in the Tourism Sector demonstrating the value of taking action to prevent food waste.