The world’s leaders have been gathering in Paris for the much-discussed climate change conference of COP21. Previous climate change conferences have yielded mixed results, so there was significant pressure on attendees to achieve some real deliverables for the world’s sustainability agenda this time around.
Interestingly, it now looks like there will be some challenges and opportunities for the catering industry when it comes to environmentally friendly operations. From choosing sustainable and local food options to ensuring that commercial kitchens use commercial freezer, fridge and electrical products with energy ratings of A and above, there will be increasing challenges for catering businesses to “go green”.
The COP21 conference is expected to encourage commercial catering businesses to take a serious look at reducing the use of dairy and meat on their menus. These are less sustainable choices on a global scale, and consumers are being increasingly lobbied and educated on the benefits of having meat-free Mondays and embracing plant-based foods, which are less land- and resource-intensive to farm.
Other sustainable measures
What else can catering businesses do to stay ahead? Besides choosing sustainably produced, local and ethical foods for their menus, they can ensure that their kitchens and restaurants follow the latest environmental standards, investing in energy-efficient appliances from companies such as FFD Ltd and following good “green” principles.
Thinking outside the box
They can work with waste management firms to recycle their waste and choose local suppliers to reduce food mileage. They can minimise the use of plastic and non-recyclable wrap if they sell takeaway food or retail food, and they can encourage customers to take leftovers home if they dine in and provide cardboard boxes for this purpose. Food businesses can encourage their staff to cycle to work or take public transport, and they can even try growing herbs or other ingredients on-site.
Bodies like the Energy Savings Trust can help businesses find ways in which they can become more sustainable, from off-setting their carbon emissions through mileage to donating a percentage of sales to environmental charities and ensuring that threatened species never appear on the menu.
Ultimately, there are plenty of things that businesses can do to lessen their environmental impact and carbon footprint. What strategies will you be pursuing in the new year?