Food production has the largest environmental footprint of any human activity, according to data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). 40 percent of food is wasted through the supply chain, including the hotel industry.

It should come as no surprise that limiting hotel food waste is one of the best ways the hospitality industry can help the environment—and even save money while doing it.

Recognizing the need for an industry-wide strategy for food management, WWF worked with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) to debut pilot projects to reduce food waste in the hospitality industry. AHLA Members that are participating in these projects include major hotel brands such as Hilton, Hyatt, IHG and Marriott International.

By becoming a part of this initiative, these hotel groups are showing their commitment to limiting food waste. “The industry has a unique opportunity to raise awareness and design the guidelines, tools and resources needed to make a difference—the participation of some of America’s largest brands in these pilot programs underscores the industry’s long-term sustainability commitments,” says Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AHLA.

WWF research found that the industry needs more standardized training on food waste reduction. WWF also discovered that hotels generally lack robust food waste measurement and tracking tools. Each of the new pilot projects aims to address a key step in the supply chain, including measuring food waste output, improving employee training, designing menus that limit waste and boosting customer awareness of food waste.

“With its substantial food service volume and broad reach with consumers, the hospitality industry is an ideal catalyst for accelerating change,” says Pete Pearson, director of food waste at World Wildlife Fund. “Imagine every hotel breakfast buffet or conference luncheon eliminating food waste. While businesses should make food donation and landfill diversion a priority, these pilot projects will focus on food waste prevention, which is ultimately better for business and the environment.”