Keith Warren, Director of the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA), says operators and equipment suppliers must work together to ensure the sustainable kitchen is what the industry needs and not what the EC legislators impose on us.
Like all good trade associations the world over CESA exists to protect and further the interests of its membership. However it would be a big mistake to think its raison detre begins and ends solely with manufacturers and suppliers of catering equipment: CESA is actually an important industry watchdog lobbying hard to stop the legislators get ahead of themselves when making decisions about the foodservice industry. It is an effective champion for operators in all sectors.
According to Keith Warren, Director of CESA, when EC directives are implemented, CESAs involvement in European affairs becomes increasingly important. Much of its work is undertaken in conjunction with EFCEM (European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers) a body of eight national associations, similar to CESA, collectively seeking to create a favourable climate for the foodservice equipment industry in Europe.
Right now, operators and suppliers need to be aware that Europe is pushing to improve sustainability and energy efficiency of products in line with its drive to cut C02 emissions. A European Parliament Directive, the Ecodesign Directive, looms that includes a series of implementing measures to manage catering equipment to be put on the market. This Directive has the potential to have a major impact on the industry which will shortly only be able to buy based on what the EU decides is energy efficient equipment.
According to the European Commission: The Ecodesign Directive provides with consistent EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance of energy related products (ERPs) through ecodesign. It prevents disparate national legislations on the environmental performance of these products from becoming obstacles to the intra-EU trade. This should benefit both businesses and consumers, by enhancing product quality and environmental protection and by facilitating free movement of goods across the EU. All well and good but there is a danger that foodservice needs could be steamrollered if the industry doesnt take this on board now, says Warren.
This is likely to have a far reaching effect on operators as implementation of the Directive for catering products is 2011. There are a large number of different commercial products by different manufacturers on the market now and operators have their favourites. We have a fragmented operator chain and a fragmented supplier chain. The EU Directive affects the equipment that can be put on the European market for all operator sectors. It will also apply to all manufacturers regardless of their size and will include the multinationals as well as the many smaller suppliers of individual specialist equipment.
So how do we pull all the threads together? This is where CESA can help, says Warren who emphasises that it is of paramount importance that operators are aware of this impending legislation or they will suddenly find themselves unable to source the equipment they want and need to do the job. Operators must do their own lobbying and research into this, he says, and they must be aware of what is going on so they are not disadvantaged by product previously used not being available they may well have to find an alternative but how can they do that without the right information?
At the moment manufacturers can say their new energy efficient products will save so much a day but compared with what? The EFCEM energy efficiency standards group is drafting standards
on all main categories of equipment. It is developing a test methodology programme against which equipment will be able to be tested, declaring an energy figure to provide a level playing field for operators to judge and compare equipment like for like based on the Directive standard.
We also work closely with EFCEMs North American counterpart NAFEM and have considered their standards for our work but we cannot take on board all their findings in Europe. The problem with adopting the US standard is that most parts of Europe manufacture to different standards of efficiency to that required in the US. Availability and cost of energy is different in the US so standards are not necessarily as vigilant as current best practice in Europe. Which is why CESA and EFCEM are developing a different set of European standards.
CESA chairs the EFCEM Technical Committee, which has drafted evaluations on refrigeration and dishwashing and is currently working on ovens, hobs and grills. It is now in the middle of the Commission consultations, evaluating energy use of products to establish baselines for efficiency. The evaluation also takes in materials used in construction and life cycle assessment.
How do you measure the life of commercial kitchen equipment? You could say by a rule of thumb that pub groups plan for three years while in the public sector the life cycle could be as much as 20 years. If you have 20-year- old equipment in place now, whatever sector you are in you need to replace it now to start saving energy, says newly elected CESA Chairman, Mick Shaddock of Victor Catering Equipment
Unfortunately, operators dont always want to buy into whole life cycle assessment: they dont look at whole life costs and capital cost can be the overriding decision on what is purchased. However, there is the need for a holistic approach to equipment, water and consumables over the life of the equipment.
The Carbon Trust is working on empirical data with the learning used across the whole industry. CESA and the British Hospitality Association are collaborating with this.
At this stage, where the European Commission sets the parameters for the future we do not know the Commission must ultimately decide, says Warren. In the meantime lobbying activity is ongoing across the breadth of the industry. We are all presenting a common message and are all after the same goal achieving carbon savings. CESA and EFCEM will keep operators appraised of developments and we are asking them to engage with CESA on this matter. We must all share information and openness.