Sustainability hack: Love your food, curb your waste

You can't manage what you can't measure: How LightBlue Environmental Consulting helps hotels and corporates to combat food waste.

LightBlue Environmental Consulting's Benjamin Lephilibert is seeing a growing trend among APAC hotels to move away from self-proclaimed sustainability reports towards more transparency and third-party verified actions.
LightBlue Environmental Consulting's Benjamin Lephilibert is seeing a growing trend among APAC hotels to move away from self-proclaimed sustainability reports towards more transparency and third-party verified actions. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Антон Скрипачев

LightBlue Environmental Consulting, founded by Benjamin Lephilibert in 2012, describes itself as ‘food waste hackers’. It is a food waste prevention tech and consultancy firm, aimed at minimising food waste and boosting operational performance.

“One of the most noticeable sustainability trends within APAC is the desire for hotels to move away from self-proclaimed sustainability reports, and instead move towards more transparency and third-party verified actions,” says Lephilibert.

An interesting reflection of this, he adds, is the emergence of ‘micro-certification’, which is focused on one specific sustainability issue. For example, many hotels are now looking at how to completely eliminate single use plastic (SUP) from their operations, and hence they would pursue the SUP certification.

According to Lephilibert, there is a growing appetite by restaurants, food suppliers and hotels for The PLEDGE on Food Waste, a Singapore-based third-party audited certification and benchmarking system, which aims for zero food waste to landfill.

One of the most noticeable sustainability trends within APAC is the desire for hotels to move away from self-proclaimed sustainability reports, and instead move towards more transparency and third-party verified actions.
Benjamin Lephilibert, founder and CEO, LightBlue Environmental Consulting
Benjamin Lephilibert, founder and CEO, LightBlue Environmental Consulting

”This is an initiative to cut costs and provide this feel-good factor to customers that choose venues because of their sustainability credentials,” he says.” Looking at the number of adopters in APAC and beyond in the US, Europe, and now China, this trend is here to stay.”

To encourage the travel and business events industry to become more sustainable, the company offers LightBlue Learning; a combination of live workshops, capacity building and online learning. It’s focused on raising awareness of the global issue of food waste with innovative solutions and recommendations on how to prevent it.

LightBlue believes that live workshops are a great way to increase engagement and motivate stakeholders, while the online course allows for a more thorough and interactive education on the subject. Past events have included the ‘Zero Food Waste to Landfill’ Star Revelation Gala Dinner in 2019, a partnership with the Michelin Guide.

With the cooperation of five chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants and 35 staff trained in food waste prevention, 62kg of surplus food was donated, with 260 meals redistributed to the underprivileged and 220kg of food turned into pig feed.

Lephilibert says that such initiatives help move the issue of food waste higher up the agenda, resulting in a clear benefit from an environmental perspective that is also part of the wider public consciousness.

“When speaking of sustainability we can provide all the technology. However, without a motivated mindset, that technology will not be optimised and fully utilised – changing mindsets is the first and most significant initiative,” he says.

To get to this point, LightBlue says there are a number of steps the travel and business events industry can take, beginning with raising the awareness among the entire team by focusing on the ‘why”.

“If your culinary team, from kitchen porter to executive chef do not understand what the social, environmental and financial consequences of food waste are, then it’s an uphill battle,” he says.

You cannot manage what you don't measure. According to LightBlue, without monitoring systems in place, food businesses are wasting three to eight times more food than they realise. The associated cost of food waste represents between 6% to 18% of yearly food revenue.

“Top management needs to embrace and encourage the change, so it becomes an actual topic, and make sure that it is not just the responsibility of the culinary team alone, but everyone’s effort,” adds Lephilibert.



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