Foodservice has undergone a significant journey over the past few years and we are proud to be celebrating a change of mindset in the industry by recognising corporate and individual achievement in environmental excellence and sustainability. The Footprint Awards are here.
The only awards scheme exclusively dedicated to sustainability in foodservice, the Footprint Awards have very clearly defined objectives. The Footprint Awards scheme is about learning, transparency and cooperation. It is about leading by example, showing whats possible and giving the encouragement needed for every grower, supplier, manufacturer and operator to fully embrace sustainability.
As Neil Stephens, Managing Director of headline sponsor Nestlé Professional, pointed out recently, the foodservice sector is one of the largest contributors to the UK economy and is therefore in a position to make a big difference to our sustainability and the environment. However, its also a sector that is fragmented. Stephens said: [We need] a lighthouse effect from the larger businesses to encourage everyone in foodservice to make sustainability an important part of their day to day operation. These awards represent an opportunity to create that lighthouse effect and to showcase best practice and demonstrate that a sustainable business is a good business.
But the Awards are not only about big businesses maximising achievements and optimising impact. No, this is about the people making a difference throughout the supply chain big initiatives and small gains will make a significant impact over time.
Indeed, many of the largest companies are starting to work more closely with their suppliers to help this shift towards sustainability. Knowledge is being passed down, and up, the chain. Its a close-knit sector, so there is no reason why we cant learn together, journey together and be recognised together.
To date weve been a modest industry, often working in the green shadow of the grocery sector. These Awards offer an opportunity to show just how far the sector has come, as BaxterStoreys Alastair Storey explains. We have put considerable investment into making sustainability, the environment and in particular local sourcing a part of our business DNA. The Footprint Awards represent an opportunity for us and for many other companies to gain recognition in the market for that effort.
Its our responsibility to see that our own initiatives are embraced across the supply chain: our sponsorship of the Awards shows our commitment to sustainability and will encourage people to do more. The Footprint Awards are unique as they only look at sustainability and the environment in our industry thats a focus we all need to have if we are to make a real difference to all our stakeholders including our customers.
Footprint Awards also carries a responsibility to the consumer. As consumers, we care about what we do at home; we buy with a conscience when we visit the supermarket, but this is often lost when we part with our money out of home. As Cyrus Todiwala, Café Spice Namaste Chef Patron says: Caring for the environment has become part of many peoples lifestyle; at home we recycle, reduce waste and choose to buy and use environmentally responsible products. But it seems its different when we eat out; we just dont pay as much attention to the attitudes or impact of the restaurant on the environment or sustainability. We really should start putting the same pressure on food outlets as we do on ourselves.
Some have already started the process. Prêt A Manger communicates its sustainability strategy, targets and achievements via in store marketing and its website. Its important for our customers to realise that they can make a difference, says Head of Sustainability, Nicki Fisher.
Nick Fenwicke-Clennell, Footprint Media Group CEO, agrees. Being an industry that is so under the radar with the general public, the need to highlight our efforts and achievements becomes so much more important. We want people to know the progress being made, the innovation being developed. We want to help people to link sustainability and foodservice. But we have to raise our profile in order to do so. Otherwise, we risk losing academic talent to other industries.
These Awards are therefore a chance to start creating a legacy. Thats why weve worked closely with top universities running courses in sustainability to provide the opportunity for sponsors to take on sustainability graduates as interns to work on projects that provide research for the whole industry.
The Footprint Awards academic sustainability internship is a fantastic initiative which has allowed us to research angles of operations that will enhance our five pillars of sustainability but also allows us to give something back to the community so the industry as a whole gets better at being sustainable, says Alison Townson, Brakes HR Director. Nestlé Professional is also taking up this challenge and well feature more about the students progress in the magazine over the coming months.
And so to the actual event: the Awards on May 19. When conceiving the event, the first thing we did was look for a venue that demonstrates best practice in sustainability. CH&Co helped us identify the Royal Institute of British Architects (the RIBA), which lives by the stringent environmental guidelines laid down for architects.
Every aspect of the evening will tell a sustainability story. Produce is being provided by game-changing companies like Reynolds. For some years now at Reynolds we have been embedding sustainability into all our processes into our business DNA if you like, explains Managing Director Tony Reynolds. Part of our commitment is to share best practice and sponsoring the British Supply Award is a unique opportunity to signal to the industry at large the environmental and business benefits of buying British where you can, and in any event sourcing responsibly.
Michelin-starred chef David Cavalier will be in charge of the evenings food. He and his executive chef team will be taking a creative look at how they can use recycled products for presentation of the food to minimise our carbon footprint on the day.
The winners will be announced too, of course, but there will be some surprising touches, says Footprint Media Group Events Director Christophe Stourton. We looked outside foodservice to see what would stimulate us. We found ground breaking work being done in up-cycling in the UK fashion industry so weve asked some students from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion to theme our evening with designs made from sponsors packaging materials. I think well all be surprised and inspired by the results.
This promises to be a very special evening. Individual tickets, as well as tables, are still available so if you want to rub shoulders with the best in the foodservice sector and talk about the challenges and opportunities we face over some fantastic food, then go to www. footprint-awards.com and sign up to an eventful evening.
Sustainability and corporate responsibility is critical to all of our futures, and award schemes that recognise exceptional achievements by companies or individuals in this area are to be applauded. Beacon Purchasing are proud to be associated with the Footprint Awards.
Diane Webster, Head of Sales and Marketing, Beacon Purchasing
The effects of climate change are increasingly apparent and well-documented, so todays business conscience demands the implementation of proactive initiatives to preserve the planets resources. For many years now, Dudson has been committed to improving environmental performance and our modern methods of manufacture have gone a long way to transform a product that has traditionally been costly to the environment. This is why we are proud to support industry awards that recognise the contribution made by businesses and individuals towards achieving a more sustainable future in foodservice.
Katie Dudson, Marketing Director, Dudson UK
Becoming involved with an Awards scheme which is exclusively dedicated to rewarding contributions to sustainability and environmental excellence led us to sponsor the Innovations in packaging category. The foodservice industry requires packaging to protect the quality of products, and it is important to recognise the developments that have helped reduce waste and acknowledge the increased use of sustainable packaging material.
John Young, UK Foodservice Sales and Marketing Director, Huhtamaki UK
Sustainability and seasonality are key issues for us right across our brands, from fine dining in City law firms right through to venue catering and our livery hall work. The menu for the inaugural Footprint Awards at the RIBA will reflect this, with an emphasis on fresh, British produce. We will be scrutinising food miles, using fish from Marine Stewardship Council fishing grounds and generally pulling out all the stops to make this occasion a true celebration of good environmental practice.
David Cavalier, CH&Co.
The very nature of our business feeding approximately 40,000 people nationwide across 140 diverse catering operations means that we have to take great care to ensure that our business operations have as little impact on the environment as possible.
Caroline Fry, Managing Director, CH&Co