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ne’ma reveals results during COP28 panel

by Madaline Dunn

At COP28, ne’ma, the UAE national food loss and waste initiative, revealed groundbreaking results during the “National Action at Scale for Reducing Food Waste in the Hospitality Sector” panel announcement at Expo City Pavilion, Green Zone, COP28. 

This world-first private-public partnership presented the outcomes of its hospitality sector trial, which engaged 190 F&B outlets from major hospitality groups like Hilton, Rotana, Marriott, Jumeirah, and Accor Hotels. 

The commitment extended to establishments such as Rove Expo2020, Al Diar Dana Hotel, Kempinski Hotel, Mall of Emirates, Atlantis the Palm, City Seasons, and Avani Palm View Dubai Hotel and Suites. 

Catering companies, including Capital Catering Services/ ADNEC catering, ADNH Compass, Apex National Catering, National Catering Company Limited Sole Proprietorship LLC, Boca restaurant, and ADNOC staff canteens, also actively participated.

The trials started on July 31, 2023, when ne’ma launched a national call to action to the hospitality sector, restaurants, and catering businesses in the UAE, inviting them to be part of its nationwide trials that aim to reduce food loss and waste (FLW) by 50% by 2030. 

The trial was split into two phases; the first phase commenced with baseline data collection, during which all participating outlets collected food waste data while operating as usual during a 5-week period. 

During phase two, the same entities implemented changes to their food management processes, referred to as “behavioral nudges.”

They continued to collect food waste data during a further 5-week period. 

To measure impact, food waste per diner was compared before and after the nudges were implemented. The results show that food waste was reduced by a meaningful 8 per cent, equivalent to 15.2 tonnes of food across participating outlets.

Khuloud Al Nuwais, Chief Sustainability Officer of the Emirates Foundation and the Secretary General of the ne’ma Committee, said: “COP28 is the first COP to draw strong links between climate change and the food we eat. We have already witnessed the announcement of transformative global policy initiatives, including the COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action. Policies must go hand-in-hand with action – and we must all reinforce new behaviors that eliminate food loss and waste.”

“The hospitality industry, particularly hotels, plays a significant role in the prevalent issue of food waste in the UAE. As we share the results of ne’ma’s hospitality sector trials, we commend all participating outlets and hospitality operators for their diligence and strong participation. Our data shows that 92 percent of participants plan to continue using the behavioral interventions to reduce food waste beyond the trial, which indicates deep awareness of the issues and, importantly, an appetite for solutions.” Al Nuwais concluded.

Emma Banks, VP of F&B Strategy & Development for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Hilton, commented: “Aligned with ne’ma’s national trial, Hilton’s Green Breakfast initiative seamlessly complements the shared goal: food waste reduction. Focused solely on breakfast operations across 13 UAE-based hotels, our structured approach, integrating technology and unwavering commitment at all organizational levels, resulted in an impressive 62% reduction in both consumer plate and preparation waste. 

ne’ma also provided in-person training workshops to over 340 participants and delivered over 50 virtual training sessions to enable partners to participate in the trial. 

The ne’ma data hub was also created, which provided the digital infrastructure to measure food waste nationally and integrate data from the hospitality sector and other organizations working towards this common goal.

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