MOST ORGANISATIONS have a CSR policy for sourcing food, reducing food miles and recycling more – and that should all be encouraged. But there is always more pressure on hospitality operators to do more, to make more savings and to operate more sustainably.
This pressure comes not only from government bodies, but consumers too. Almost two thirds (62%) expect high standards of sustainability, according to BIFM’s Sustainability in Facilities Management Report 2015. What’s more, Nielson research last year showed that 38% of consumers are willing to pay extra for sustainable products.
So, are foodservice operators going far enough? And how far is far enough?
In the UK our food travels over 30 billion kilometres a year and is responsible for adding nearly 19m tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere – of which 10% comes directly from the catering industry. If you are a large hospitality business, sourcing British meat, fish and vegetables could cut your carbon footprint significantly.
But there is a bigger picture here. Improving CSR policies isn’t just about singling out one element, it’s all about selecting ethical, accredited producers who have their own sustainability agenda to ensure full transparency across the whole supply and buying chain. That’s what consumers want to see.
Indeed, the process for sustainability is progressive. It evolves with the business, and achieving continual growth requires an ecological model throughout the entire supply chain. That’s why taking advantage of digital, online procurement platforms is a key part in implementing sustainability policies. If you can track, then you can measure – and I’m not just talking about the reductions in your food miles, but substantial savings to your bottom line too. After all, most businesses want to be able to substantiate, quote and quantify.
By embracing digital procurement, the hospitality industry can take the sustainability of their operations to the next level, ensure sustainability across their whole food buying platform and help to safeguard the future of their business. In doing so, operators can make a real difference in improving the rate of sustainability within the industry and ensure that levels continue to improve.
Kate Windebank is head of e-procurement and client services at Acquire Services.