(NYSE: HLT) has become the first hotel company in the UK to introduce carbon labelling at-scale, helping guests to make more informed choices across almost 30 hotels in cities including London, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle.
Developed in partnership with sustainability experts Klimato, the new menu aims to inspire guests to consider the environmental impact of their choices when dining at participating restaurants with a simple labelling system. Each dish is labelled low, medium or high using a graduated green scale, based on the carbon footprint per serving. The system is designed to spark positive conversation, using neutral language and colour design to empower guests to easily compare choices.
The announcement will support Hilton’s global Travel with Purpose strategy by reducing the operational environmental footprint of Hilton hotels, enabling guests to travel more sustainably and paving the way towards a net-zero future for the hospitality industry. Through this partnership, almost half of dishes served at participating hotels are identified by Klimato as ‘low impact,’ in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), offering guests a variety of options and contributing to Hilton’s efforts to promote responsible travel. The menu launch coincides with Travel with Purpose Week, an annual week of service for Hilton’s more than 450,000 team members around the world to spend time giving back to their communities, volunteering and celebrating the company’s commitment to driving positive change.
Christoffer Connée, co-founder, Klimato, said: “We are delighted to partner with Hilton in their commitment to addressing climate change and promoting sustainability within the food industry. Hilton’s dedication to calculating, communicating, and reducing their food’s environmental impact is commendable. By taking this important step, they are not only leading by example but also raising awareness about the crucial issue of food and sustainability. Together, we can create a brighter, more sustainable future for our planet.”
Progress so far
Since the carbon labelling initiative was first introduced on menus in May, hotels have been identifying insights based on guests’ dining choices. Early findings suggest the introduction of the system has led to a shift in guest behaviour, with low and medium footprint dishes proving particularly popular. Guest feedback also showed a positive response towards the labelling system, offering climate conscious insights and fostering conversation about sustainable dining. Carbon labelling has also prompted Hilton’s menu development team to seek further opportunities to incorporate low carbon menu options beyond the all-day dining menus.
As a result of the initial positive response, the newly launched autumn menu features an increased proportion of low and medium labelled dishes, making up over 85% of the menu. Guests looking to tuck into a low-impact meal can enjoy gochujang cauliflower wings to start, followed by a butternut squash risotto or a posh fish finger sandwich. For dessert, they can indulge in a salted caramel affogato. The three-course meal will result in a total of 1.2 kg CO2e, which is lower than the average UK meal**.
As Hilton continues to respond to guest preferences and look for ways to help guests make more informed choices, some dishes containing items with a higher carbon footprint have been replaced with multiple lower carbon alternatives. This includes the newly launched Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon and Celeriac & Wild Mushroom pies, both of which have a medium footprint instead of high.
The menu’s signature Smash Cheeseburger has also been updated with a more climate-friendly version featuring a single patty instead of a double, complemented by smoked cheddar, BBQ relish, ranch dressing and a medley of vegetables, leading to a 2.3 kg CO2e reduction in the dish’s carbon footprint. For guests looking to go a step further, data from Klimato has shown that choosing the Plant Burger would result in a reduction of CO2 emissions equal to driving 63 kilometres in a car.
Emma Banks, vice president, F&B strategy & development, EMEA, Hilton, said: “We know our guests are as passionate about reducing their environmental footprint as we are, and we’re always looking for ways to help them on that journey. Carbon labelling is an easy way to empower guests to make more informed choices, and we’re delighted to see they’re already embracing these insights – whether that’s by opting for an ultra-low emission dish, or simply reducing the frequency with which they order dishes with a higher carbon footprint. As we all continuously look to reduce our impact, every small decision can make a difference, and we’re proud to be leading the way as the first hotel company to introduce and manage carbon labelling on such a scale.”
Driving sustainable dining
With a significant percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions linked to the food industry*, giving guests the opportunity to make informed choices is one of many initiatives designed to support sustainable dining across Hilton’s hotels in line with the company’s Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals.
To further help lower emissions and support local producers, as much produce as possible is sourced locally and within the UK to reduce carbon emissions. This includes the Loch Duart salmon, Dorset charcuterie, Devon crab, British cheeseboard cheeses and British steaks.
To create more innovative and sustainable operations in kitchens, chefs at Hilton’s hotels in the UK also find ways to utilise ingredients across multiple recipes as much as possible, without compromising on flavour or quality. For example, the chimichurri sauce features as a flavourful marinade for the grilled lemon and herb half chicken whilst also being available as a sauce on its own.