Sustainable Development and Environmental Issues

November 4, 2011



As catering businesses we need to be mindful of the need to operate in an environmentally friendly way and to support this we need to develop a sustainability policy, which is designed to encourage greater use of local suppliers and locally sourced raw materials. The approach should balance the efforts to reduce the environmental impact caused by the business workings to deliver a Carbon Neutral service.

Suggested approach to Sustainability
The food and farming industry is going through a period of great change, influenced by factors including consumer trends, environmental concerns, and world supply of raw materials.
“Sustainability” what is the real meaning? The actual question being asked is “what are you doing to help save the planet?”

What is achieved by utilising sustainable food?
• Produces safe and healthy products in response to market demand

• Ensures that all consumers have access to nutritious food, and to accurate information about food products
• Supports viability and diversity of rural and urban economies and communities
• Achieves consistently high standards of environmental performance by reducing energy consumption, minimising resource inputs, and using renewable energy wherever possible
• Ensures a safe and hygienic working environment and training for all employees in the food chain
• Achieves consistently high standards of animal health and welfare
• Sustains the resources available for growing food

Why utilise sustainable foods?
• Health – Fresh food is healthier than highly processed foods as it contains higher  nutrient levels; however some frozen products which are frozen at harvest can be as nutritious as fresh produce.
• Animal Welfare – Sustainably farmed animals are treated humanely and are able to carry out their natural behaviour- for example they can move freely, this is good for their health and well being and means they are less prone to disease.
• Environment – Unsustainable farming leads to poor soil quality, contamination of  water and poor air quality which has an impact on health and well being. Air, road, freight and packaging have a large impact on the environment.
• Fossil Fuel and Energy Use – Sustainable farming and food systems can reduce  transportation of products and animals over long distances. This reduces the amount of fossil fuels and energy used, so helping to tackle global warming as well as improving air quality. Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources, meaning they cannot replenish themselves when exhausted

What can we as a catering business do to help save the planet?
1. Design menus to use seasonal and sustainable produce where it has a minimal  impact on your customers and clients.
2. Equip kitchens so that together with the education of staff, to provide them with the necessary skills to produce fresh food, we stimulate the opportunities for using fresh sustainable produce.
3. Ask your suppliers to produce full traceability to prove they are only using  humanely operated farms. Hopefully leading to the eventual abolishment of battery farmed chickens and other inhumane practices.
4. Ensure an open and negotiable relationship with your suppliers and clients  regarding seasonable produce and menus
5. Where applicable buy fair trade products from disadvantaged producers in the developing world to ensure their sustainability.

The small points that turn straightforward tasty food into sumptuous food are the small attentions to detail that make a simple dinner into something sublime”

Once you have actioned all of the above then utilise it as a marketing tool!!

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