In the run-up to the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen in 2009, Gordon Brown said that we had 50 days to save the world. Suffice to say, amidst this sensationalism very little was achieved at the conference itself. So, here we are nearly 400 days on and to my certain knowledge the world is still turning on its own axis. In December 2010, Cancun hosted the same summit, mustering very little excitement in the press. I wonder whether it is because the arguments surrounding climate change are on a more even footing? Having cast the hyperbole aside are we now able to concentrate on the real business of leveraging the industrial, corporate and indeed domestic excesses of the last decades into a form of adaptation and alignment with the modern world? If so, foodservice is arguably pioneering this effort more than any other sector of business.
In December the Prince of Wales gave a speech in which he said that climate science has taken a battering of late. He was referring, of course, to the Climategate row, which effectively secured a short-term intellectual victory for climate change scepticism. However, when one reads about 2010 being one of the three hottest years since records began, and harsh weather patterns around the globe affecting commodity prices like never before, the question is whether to believe this is a cycle or part of a permanently changing paradigm. Macabre as the thought is, time will tell.
In the meantime, we as an industry have to continue investing in the future, minimising our impact and, through efficiencies, work towards a more sustainable sector; thus achieving true business wins in every sense. The raw truth is that the Government, in the cause of improving our nations environmental performance, will impose taxes, regulations and extra costs. This brings me back to the Climate Change Summit in Cancun last month; the effectiveness and the relevance of it, we may question but I put it to you, that the sustainability debate is progressing and it is not going to go away for a long time to come.
The impact for us? A watchful Government sand an increasingly aware consumer putting pressure on us to deliver sustainable foodservice. To survive it we must show we are making a difference. I urge you to tell us your sustainable story in the Footprint Awards and well call it out.