We hear from Michelle Delvin, our Sustainability Manager on the progress that has been made so far.
In a look at our progress with Winnow Food Waste Management Solutions, we speak to Michelle Devlin who is Sustainability Manager for The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, as well as being General Manager at The Egerton House Hotel.
Michelle joined Red Carnation Hotels as an Executive Housekeeper at The Chesterfield Mayfair in 2005. Michelle had previously worked in privately owned hotels and complexes where a passion for sustainability was discovered, and involvement began.
Hear from Michelle below…
Sustainability has been a passion of mine since the early days of my career, at a time when it was not seen as being of benefit to a business, but rather as detrimental to luxury. However, in starting to meet like-minded people who reinforced my values, I realised the power of influence and how that can steer change. Looking at the bigger picture can deter people from taking action, but small steps can offer a more easily achievable route to change.
I’m proud to work for a company that has embedded a robust five-year strategy, with eleven goals that apply to our business aligning with eleven of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
One of these goals is to reduce our food waste by 50% by 2025. In 2020, we partnered with Winnow and began our journey to better understand the food waste being generated by the hotels and provide a baseline from which to work.
Due to the pandemic, low occupancies made the process of data collection challenging, but very quickly we were able to identify the food items most often discarded. It was fascinating to see the impact the Winnow system had on our chefs – it has completely changed their mindset, and they are now driven to find ways to reduce waste. The first successful initiative which is now being used as best practice was the approach adopted by chefs at The Oyster Box Hotel which involves reworking food that would otherwise be discarded.
Today the kitchen brigades are setting their own goals and targets based on their food waste data which they will use during menu planning, food preparation and portion control. Our goal now is not to produce food waste at the front end of the operation.
Our work with Winnow began while the hotels were closed due to the pandemic. At a time when many companies were setting sustainability to one side, Red Carnation Hotels and our family of TTC brands put it at the heart of the business.
During this difficult time, we also revisited the structure of our global committee that oversaw all our sustainability initiatives. Now, we now have a team of ambassadors, each focusing on one of the eleven goals providing direction, education and driving progress. In addition, each hotel now has two sustainability champions – one working on food waste and the other on data collection, reporting and sustainability initiatives.
Reflecting on my personal journey in sustainability, the highlight has been seeing how it is now embedded within our operation. Working as a team of passionate individuals, we have been able to achieve so much due to our united goal to care for the planet.
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