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BANGKOK, Thailand, December 7, 2018 – The PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility Department conducted our last PATA staff knowledge development lunch workshop of the year. This time, we dived into learning about food surplus management with the help of good friend and partner, Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) Foundation, better known as Thai-SOS. Thai-SOS is also known as the pioneer of food rescue operations in Thailand.  Representing the foundation as a guest speaker was Mr. Bruce Chen, Community Engagement Coordinator. Bruce is a recognized researcher and speaker on sustainable development programs who is determined to change the general public’s perception of food waste and surplus food as it is still a new concept in Thailand.

The world produces enough nutritional food to feed the whole population, yet there are still so many people who go to bed hungry every night. The objective of this lunch workshop was thus to help PATA staff become more aware of issues surrounding food waste, and empower them to share this new knowledge with others.

After a brief introduction about Thai-SOS, Bruce shared some staggering statistics regarding food waste in Thailand, which made everyone suddenly more conscious about the Subway sandwich they were holding in their hands. Some staff members began replacing the lettuce they had just taken out of their sandwiches!

Did you know?

  • 64% of 27.06 million tonnes (27,060 kg) of Thailand’s municipal waste is made up of food waste.
  • An average Bangkok grocery store can throw away up to 200 kg of edible food a day.
  • An average 5-star hotel buffet throws away up to 50 kgs of edible food during each service period.

Speaking of lunch, this time’s lunch got everyone excited to attend the workshop because it was from Subway. Of course, to provide lunch sustainably, we brought our own containers to pack the sandwiches, plus reusable containers to pack four types of sauces. We are proud to say that zero single-use plastics were used to provide our lunch this time around! Thank you to the staff at Subway for helping us consume consciously!

              

We had plenty of time for Q&A with Bruce so we were able to clear any doubts and make the most out of his time here. When asked what is the ultimate goal that Thai-SOS wish to achieve, Bruce said “our end goal is of course for us to run out of business because then it means people finally know it is the norm to not waste food and it is the norm not to overproduce food. But that will take us a very long time.”

At the end of the workshop, our tummies were full, our minds were filled and our souls were ready to make a change. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Thai-SOS for being such angels – for changing the world one meal at a time. To volunteer with Thai-SOS, please reach out to them here. Alternatively, you can drop us an email at SSR@pata.org.

Extra bites:

Bruce was also a guest speaker at PATA x MUIC workshop touching base about Sustainable Hospitality Businesses. Read about it here.

Read about our previous lunch workshops here.

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Credit: Shutterstock

PATA prides ourselves on our role in developing future leaders of the tourism industry by empowering youth. We have our very own Young Tourism Professional (YTP) Ambassador, Ms. JC Wong who is responsible for the career development of youths comprising of students from PATA educational institution members. On November 22, Thursday, PATA collaborated with Mahidol University International College (MUIC) to address on the topic “Sustainable Hospitality Businesses.” Five guest speakers from Dusit Thani International, SO Sofitel Bangkok, YAANA Ventures Hospitality, Winnow Solutions and Scholars of Sustenance Foundation joined us to share their experience in the industry.

Credit: MUIC

There has been an evolution in “green thought” in the hospitality businesses but there it is often a challenge to execute due to budget, resources and manpower constraints. The objective of the workshop was therefore to get young tourism professionals (YTPs) exposed, connected and involved directly with industry professionals in the contexted of the massive environmental impact of daily hospitality operations. Through the workshop, we have compiled three key take-aways on how you can adapt the right attitude to drive change towards positive hospitality.

  1. Care with a “can-do” attitude.

Showing that you care in the hospitality industry is how you can exceed customers’ expectations. This simply means going out of your way to exceed expectations by anticipating your customers’ next need. For example, try to engage with customers on a deeper level by simply remembering their names and asking for their preferences. Two teaspoons of creamer with a hint of cocoa powder for their morning coffee? Serve them the same the next morning and you’ll see their face light up as bright as the morning sun. Look at this list of personalised services provided by SO Sofitel where design meets pleasure.

  1. Co-innovate with partners.

Students who had worked part-time or interned in an F&B outlet before may have encountered superiors that told them to throw excess food away at the end of the day. The reason why surplus food is generally not donated is probably because of the threat of liability for food-related illnesses. But did you know that there are laws that protect food donors? An example is the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act where the law provides a national standard of liability protection for both food donors and the nonprofits accepting these donations.

Despite such protections, businesses may still be hesitant to participate in food donation due to the extra cost incurred by providing the logistics to transport excess food. This is why it is important to co-innovate and collaborate with partners who can fill in the gap. Organisations can reach out to food banks or food angels such as Thai-SOS, which provide their services free of charge. Read case studies and learn how sustainability champions in the hospitality sector do it.

  1. Be present

We love listening to stories that have changed people’s lives, especially those of industry professionals. One of the guest speakers, Mr. Chris Regel is an expert in sustainability consultancy because, during his days working in the kitchen, he saw the massive amount of waste generated in the kitchen and buffets. 1/3 of food produced in the world is wasted! From this experience, he committed to ending food waste in the world and is now the Business Development Manager for Winnow Solutions.

The moral of the story is that, in whatever we do, it is important to be present and conscious of our actions and of our surroundings. Reevaluate our daily tasks. Is there a way to do it more efficiently? Are the products that you’re using energy efficient? Be curious at all times and one day, you will have an inspirational story to tell too.

               

Click here to see the full profiles of the guest speakers. While you are at it, follow PATA Youth on Facebook and get in touch with our YTP Ambassador at JCWong@pata.org. Your university may be next to benefit from an insightful workshop.

If you have any questions about our sustainability initiatives, please contact our Sustainability & Social Responsibility Specialist at  Chi@pata.org or send an e-mail to SSR@pata.org.

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In our continuing efforts to reduce waste and educate our staff, the PATA Green Team organized a workshop at our Bangkok HQ on August 7, 2018. We invited guest speakers from Tavises – Magic Eyes to conduct the workshop.

“Ah! Ah! Don’t litter. Magic Eyes are watching you” is a merry jingle many Gen X Thais are familiar with, and thanks to the efforts of this organisation, the concept will be passed down to future generations.

The speakers, Pa and Nat, introduced their organisation and their mission. They gave an overview of waste management in Thailand and discussed the 5 Rs – reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and reject – to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Pa and Nat emphasised the idea of refusing to use single-use plastics – especially plastic bags, straws and cups – proposing alternates to single use items such as tote bags instead of plastics bags, reusable tumblers, handkerchiefs instead of tissues/paper towels and reusable cutlery.

To drive the dangers of single-use plastics home, they shared some nerve-wracking facts about plastic pollution:

           

The group shared various ideas about how individuals can manage their waste properly, and how upcycling can be put into practice to give new life to items that would otherwise be thrown away. The speakers concluded their presentation with a poignant video showing humankind’s general exploitative attitude towards the planet.

Today, Lankaow Waan catered our lunch, chosen for not just their delicious food, but also for their recycled and compostable packaging.

     

Efforts made by organisations such as Tavises – Magic Eyes and Lankaow Waan will help educate the world about the benefits and importance of adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. The workshop helped put things into perspective and reminded everyone how important it is to be mindful of the decisions each one of us makes.

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