The hospitality industry is making progress in addressing sustainability, but more must be done to boost the issue's profile and raise awareness among staff, exclusive research has revealed.
The Caterer online survey of more than 500 hospitality professionals showed that more than one-third of respondent organisations had set formal sustainability targets.
But the research, sponsored by 3663 First for Foodservice, also revealed that more than one-quarter of organisations did not have specific sustainability targets in place, while 36% of respondents did not know if their company had such targets.
Only 4% cited working towards sustainability as being the most important goal for their organisation. Instead, delivering profitable growth and a great service to customers were considered top priorities by more than one in five respondents.
However, the findings did reveal that businesses were beginning to embrace green practices. Nearly 85% have recycling measures in place more than three-quarters are cutting down on waste and just under half are sourcing sustainable or ethical products.
The best examples of sustainable practice to emerge were vehicles that run on chip fat, the reuse of water output from air conditioners, and buying fish from sustainable sources.
The poorest examples included hotels that left bedroom lighting, televisions and air conditioning switched on while awaiting guest arrival chefs defrosting meat under a running tap and the use of products in unnecessary over-packaging.
Philippe Rossiter, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, which operates the energy advisory programme Hospitable Climates, said that the results highlighted the "confusion and dilemma" that exist within the industry in relation to sustainability.
He said: "One problem, of course, is the lack of an acknowledged and universal definition of what is meant by ‘sustainable'. As a result, businesses often adopt what they believe to be correct initiatives, but very rarely are these connected to the goals of the organisation."
By Helen Gilbert
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