Rethinking Food Waste: Q&A with Hilton’s Max Verstraete

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

“We want to be responsible operators and buyers,” says Max Verstraete, VP of corporate responsibility for Hilton. The hospitality company, which has 14 brands covering more than 5,000 properties in 104 countries and territories, buys a lot of products. “Whether it’s furniture or ketchup bottles for room service trays, TVs, electronics — pretty much anything you can think of — we’re probably buying,” he says.

To help keep track of those products’ impact, Hilton created a proprietary platform called LightStay that analyzes and displays a hotel’s energy, water, and waste performance. It’s part of the company’s social responsibility strategy, called Travel with Purpose. Last year LightStay won an Environmental Leader award. One judge commented, “The company not only had the vision to have ambitious sustainability goals, but developed and effectively implemented LightStay as the enabling technology to achieve them.”

Travel with Purpose also inspired the creation of Meet with Purpose, a program to help professionals reduce waste while incorporating health and wellness into their meetings and events. Recently we spoke with Verstraete to learn about Hilton’s sustainability strategy for food, including sourcing and menu design.

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