FOOTPRINT HAS just celebrated its fifth birthday, so what better time to reflect on progress made so far? Anya Hart Dyke reports from the 2013 Footprint Awards in London.
The Footprint Awards returned to the Royal Institute of British Architects this year – a fitting backdrop given that RIBA was recently awarded Carbon Smart Silver Certification. But May 23rd was about the Footprint Awards, replete with more entries and more competition than ever. This was a chance to reflect on the commendable – and, in many cases, pioneering – work to advance the sector’s sustainability agenda.
As Nick Fenwicke-Clennell, the Footprint Media Group CEO, remarked in his opening address: “Five years ago when we set Footprint up, it was a challenge to find companies with the confidence to talk about sustainability and to share their good work with others. Year on year since 2011, the number of companies competing in these awards has grown, as has the sophistication of their endeavours.”
Across 13 categories, businesses large and small were recognised for their work. Charles Miers, the group’s managing director, pointed out that sustainability isn’t just the domain of the large corporations. “We know from everyone who entered this year’s awards that organisations large and small, from across all aspects of the food chain, are making great strides in reducing the impact of their processes or services on the environment and on society.”
You don’t have to be big to make a big impression, as Vegware will attest: the packaging company walked away with two awards on the night (Innovations in Packaging and Sustainable Supplier).
Waste management and sustainable sourcing were popular themes, not least because of the media interest in these topics. The horse meat scandal has forced companies to look afresh at their supply chains, while pressure is also mounting on food companies to manage their waste more responsibly. The foodservice and hospitality voluntary agreement on waste was introduced 12 months ago to encourage businesses to reduce waste and recycle more, and progress by some has been swift. Sodexo picked up the Waste Management and Reduction Award in recognition of its 92% recycling rate at a hospital in Manchester.
Another growing concern is how to minimise energy consumption. The Sustainable Catering Equipment Manufacturer Award went to Foster Refrigerator for its new Eco Pro G2 fridge. Its project manager, Andrew Galeckyj, said the company’s focus on the longevity of its equipment is the key to its success.
Talking of longevity, the Footprint Awards are a hugely important industry initiative and one which is set to grow more so businesses can share ideas, best practice and develop new partnerships. Many of those presenting or receiving awards on the night highlighted the valuable platform that Footprint has created for meeting the movers and shakers in the sector as well as other companies that understand what Footprint is trying to achieve when it comes to sustainability.
This goes beyond environmental effects. The growing importance of social impacts was reflected in the new Social Impact & Diversity Award, which saw Pret A Manger recognised for its efforts with the homeless. The Special Achievement Award also went to someone who has focused on social responsibility. Anne Pierce heads the Springboard Charity, which helps disadvantaged people to find sustainable employment in hospitality, leisure and tourism. Pierce was unable to attend the event because she was in France on a fundraising cycle ride to Paris – just the latest example of her 100% commitment to the social sustainability of the industry.
Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Footprint Awards. Whether you are a winner, runner-up or an entrant, you are part of the pioneering work being done to improve the sustainability of the foodservice sector. As such, you deserve credit for your dedication and work towards marrying sustainable ambition with commercial reality.
Sustainable Use of Natural Resources sponsored by Huhtamaki
The significant steps evident over the past few years in everything it does is a giant leap forward and needs to be rewarded said the judges.
Runner-up: London Linen Group
Environmentally Efficient Logistics Award sponsored by Green 10
Winner: Compass Group UK & Ireland
The Green & Simple initiative seeks to minimise the company’s impact on the environment by reducing carbon emissions and improving the efficiency of its distribution network.
Runner-up: Creed Foodservice
Innovations in Packaging Award sponsored by Nestlé Professional
The compostable, freezable, sealable and brandable Gourmet hot box is an innovative solution to a problem that will only grow in the future said the judges.
Runner-up: Delphis Eco
Sustainable Sourcing Award sponsored by M&J Seafood
Winner: Nestlé Professional
A hotly contested category and a challenge for an industry that has sourcing at the heart of all its operations. Nestlé Professional won for its Enabling Coffee Farmers initiative, which ensures effective sourcing that doesn’t damage the environment.
Runner-up: ISS Education
Sustainable Supplier Award sponsored by Brakes
This award is all about the innovators and those that really scrutinise the responsibility of their products. Vegware won for its innovative compostable packaging.
Runner-up: DB Foods
Sustainable Catering Equipment Manufacturer Award sponsored by CH&Co
Winner: Foster Refrigerator
The foodservice industry consumes a vast amount of energy and joined-up thinking is only just emerging. Equipment which helps save energy and other resources is vital. Foster Refrigerator won for its new Eco Pro G2 fridge.
Runner-up: Victor Manufacturing
Stakeholder Engagement Award sponsored by Essential Cuisine
Stakeholder engagement is hard to measure. However, 3663 has managed to raise awareness and promote more sustainable behaviour internally and externally through its dedicated working group, the sustainability executive.
Runner-up: Café Spice Namaste
Social Impact & Diversity Award sponsored by Sodexo
Winner: Pret A Manger
A new category. Pret a Manger was commended for helping provide a well-supported solution to help the homeless. The Pret Foundation Trust also donates around £800,000 a year to homelessness projects.
Energy Efficiency Award sponsored by 3663
Winner: Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services
Energy efficiency has been a big focus for the industry this year. Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services was recognised for the upgrade to its factory with a more efficient boiler, a system to reuse heat from waste water and a washer that uses 50% less water than its predecessor.
Runner-up: Dawn Meats
Waste Management & Reduction Award sponsored by Unilever Food Solutions
Winner: Sodexo UK & Ireland
Waste management is one of the hot topics for the sector and Sodexo is raising the bar. The company is diverting 98% of waste from landfill at the Central Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
Runner-up: Nestlé Professional
Economic Sustainability Award sponsored by Johnson's Stalbridge Linen Services
Entrants had to show where they had cut costs or gained a business advantage by introducting a strategy that supports sustainability. 3663 won by integrating sustainability for economic gain.
Runner-up: ISS Education
The Community Vote 2013 sponsored by Reynolds
This award was chosen by constituents in the foodservice community who voted for their favourite pub or eatery. Linklaters’ staff canteen won, having reduced carbon emissions resulting from electricity use by 8% and overall waste by 12%.
Thatcher’s Arms, Mount Bures
The Spirit Pub Company, Burton on Trent
The Bay Fish & Chips, Stonehaven
Special Achievement Award sponsored by BaxterStorey
Winner: Anne Pierce MBE, chief executive of the Springboard Charity This hotly contested award recognises individual contribution to environmental, social or economic sustainability. In its work, the Springboard Charity’s mentoring programme significantly reduces the likelihood of reoffending.
Runner-up: Jimmy Doherty