Footprint Blog

Global tea brand Tetley adds Rainforest Alliance certification

Posted in 1,Foodservice Footprint news,International,News,Sustainability,Sustainable Sourcing by foodservicefootprint on February 17, 2010

Tetley, the world’s second largest manufacturer and distributor of tea, has today announced its decision to obtain Rainforest Alliance certification for the Tetley brand globally.

Tetley has committed to purchasing all of the tea for its branded teabag and loose tea products from Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms. All Tetley branded black, green and red (Rooibos) tea, including flavoured and decaffeinated varieties, will be part of the certification programme, which is scheduled for completion by 2016.

The first certified products will be available for the UK foodservice channel from April 2010. Tetley products sourced from Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms will then become more widely available in the UK and Canada early in 2011, followed by launches in other key markets including the US, Australia and mainland Europe from 2012.

Given its presence in 70 countries around the world, Tetley’s commitment to Rainforest Alliance certification is a significant move for the global tea industry that will have a wide-reaching and positive impact across the brand’s global supply chains. The collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance will empower and support growers to proactively address and manage the social and environmental challenges they face. Tea producers in all the major tea-growing regions will benefit.

All farms that are Rainforest Alliance Certified™ have met the environmental, social, and economic standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN). The SAN standards cover ecosystem conservation, worker rights and safety, wildlife protection, water and soil conservation, agrochemical reduction, decent housing, and legal wages and contracts for workers.

Tetley is one of the brands of the Tata Beverage Group. CEO, Peter Unsworth, said, “Our consumers will be able to enjoy their favourite Tetley blend knowing it has been produced in a way that respects the environment and the tea growers and pickers. We are delighted to be working with the Rainforest Alliance and Sustainable Agriculture Network who are well positioned to support a brand with the scale and reach of Tetley”.

Responding to Tetley’s announcement, Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance said, “We welcome this commitment from Tetley wholeheartedly. Tea farmers have faced many challenges, but working together we can make industry-wide changes to ensure positive environmental and social practices, and give consumers what they really want – reassurance that their cup of tea benefits both farmers and the land.”

Tetley remain active members of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), whose existing programme and collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance will help facilitate the launch of Tetley certified products.

Sally Uren, Deputy CEO of Forum for the Future commented, “We have worked with Tetley for eight years, helping them bring sustainability to the heart of their business. Their plans with the Rainforest Alliance are evidence of a deep commitment to delivering a great product in a sustainable way. By doing the right thing for growers, pickers and the environment, Tetley is signalling its long term vision of helping create a sustainable global tea industry”.


Sodexo launches Better Tomorrow Plan!

Sodexo announces the launch of its ‘Better Tomorrow Plan’, which aims to consolidate Sodexo’s sustainability performance and provide a framework to measure the impact of the company’s actions worldwide.

Sodexo’s strategy is built around three pillars:

  • ‘We are’ – which embraces values and ethics
  • ‘We do’ – which sets out 14 commitments to action on sustainability challenges
  • ‘We engage’ – which recognises the dialogue required to translate commitments into action

The 14 key commitments are spread across health, nutrition and wellness, local communities and the environment. Progress will be monitored with milestone assessments currently anticipated in 2012, 2015 and 2020.

For each of its commitments, Sodexo is developing phased plans and indicators to measure the degree of implementation and impact across the business.

Apart from announcements on Nutrition, Health, Wellness as well as Local Communities, Environment is key in this announcement.

With 33,900 sites in 80 countries, Sodexo is committed to implementing practices and policies that minimise its environmental impacts. Commitments in this area include:

  • ensuring compliance with a Global Sustainable Supply Chain Code of Conduct in all the countries where it operates by 2015.
  • sourcing local, seasonal or sustainably grown products in all the countries where it operates by 2015.
  • sourcing sustainable fish and seafood in all the countries where it operates by 2015.
  • sourcing and promoting sustainable equipment and supplies in all the countries where it operates by 2020.
  • reducing the company’s carbon footprint in all the countries where it operates and at client sites by 2020.
  • reducing its water footprint in all the countries where it operates and at client sites by 2020.
  • reducing organic waste in all the countries where it operates and at client sites by 2015 and supporting initiatives to recover organic waste.
  • reducing non-organic waste in all the countries where it operates and at client sites by 2015 and supporting initiatives to recover non-organic waste.

Thomas Jelley, corporate citizenship manager for Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “Our mission is to improve the quality of life for the people we serve and contribute to the economic, social and environmental development of the areas where we operate. Through this ten-year sustainable development strategy, we are committing to continuous improvement through a challenging but robust and structured approach.”

Footprint launches in Europe!

Posted in 1,Comment,International,News by foodservicefootprint on September 20, 2009


After five months of research, Footprint Media Group is establishing an office in Munich, under the lead of Patric Bauer, Managing Director of Footprint Publishing Europe Ltd. The objective is to replicate the Footprint project and its various media vehicles across mainland Europe.

Ironically, although German green-technological advances are light-years ahead of the UK, foodservice, in terms of sustainability, is surprisingly behind. Furthermore it is clear that a large numbers of suppliers to UK foodservice have their roots on the continent and so it makes commercial sense to offer our content via a number of media in Europe.

Footprint Publishing Europe will be launching Foodservice Footprint and Infrastructure Footprint in Q4 of 2009 and will publish in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, with a view to expanding into France and Italy in 2011.

Patric and his team have unrivalled experience in events management, so please watch this space in the Forum and Events environment!

Any questions please do not hesitate to contact

Shock: UK Government trough not British!

Posted in 1 by foodservicefootprint on August 13, 2009

Footprint has just received a press release from the Countryside Alliance ostensibly wanting to know why all the food in HMG buildings is not of British origin. Under the intriguing title of ‘Is buying British patriotism or practicality’ they come up with a few ‘revelations’ as follows:  

In response to the request for “the proportion of food which was procured by official residences for official functions in the past twelve months and which was domestically produced”, The Cabinet Office (responsible for No.10 Downing Street and Chequers) admitted “There is no information on whether the proportion of food procured in the past twelve months was domestically produced.”

The failure of No. 10 Downing Street to record and monitor the amount of British food being procured for official functions is contrary to Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’s, recent exhortation that if people “want a strong, thriving successful farming industry – if you want to support the industry in Britain – buy British”. 

The findings follow Gordon Brown’s statement last year “Everybody knows that British bacon is best”, despite the Cabinet Office, of which the Prime Minister’s residence and office are an “integral part”, had failed to buy any British bacon in 2007-08.

Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart commented: “The Government needs to practice what they preach. It is time for our government to support the countryside in the most simple of ways – by buying British. There is no excuse for key government residences not being able to tell us how much of the food they are procuring and serving at official functions is British”

Does it really matter whether or not the government records the origin of the food consumed in the collective trough? Surely they should have better things to do. Having said that, I think there’s a pretty strong argument that our governors should be using exclusively British product, where possible, particularly when advising the rest of us to do so for the purpose of soundbites!

The Carbon Trust shows its face in foodservice!

Posted in 1,Comment,Government,News by foodservicefootprint on August 11, 2009


One of our criticisms of the Carbon Trust, for a long time, has been that it is focusing, in the main, only on the biggest of industries – aviation, transport, manufacturing etc and in no shape or form on foodservice. However last Friday a collaboration between Dairy UK and the Carbon Trust was announced and it might signal further assistance to the foodservice industry in the not too distant future.

Dairy UK, the trade body for dairy farmers, announced that it was working with the Carbon Trust to introduce new measures reporting on the carbon footprint of the dairy industry.

The project  is designed to set a single set of guidelines for dairy farmers, processors, wholesalers and retailers to evaluate the industries carbon emissions.

On the same day, Dairy UK also announced that it was set to meet and in many cases exceed a number of environmental targets for 2010.

A survey found that over 45% of dairy producers, has land in official environmental schemes, putting the industry on track to reach its 50% traget by 2010, according to The Guardian. The report goes on to say that nearly half of dairy farmers now have a nutrient management plan designed to help limit methane emissions from cattle in place, while milk processors are on track to meet a target of incorporating 10 per cent recycled plastic in milk bottles by the end of 2010.

As far as Footprint is concerned, this is very welcome news and I hope symbolises that the Carbon Trust might be stepping into foodservice territory in a more serious manner.

Alaska and New Zealand lead the way to sustainable fishing. The British are sadly not quite off the starting blocks!


A study from an international team of scientists shows that a handful of major fisheries across the world have managed to reduce the rate at which fish are exploited, says David Adam, Environment Correspondent at

The analysis is a very welcome reflection of global efforts but one must remain cynical. It shows what can be achieved but the British fishing industry in particular has a long way to go. 

‘The new analysis used catch data as well as stock assessments, scientific trawl surveys, small-scale fishery data and modelling results. It highlighted catch quotas, localised fishing closures and bans on selected fishing gear to allow smaller fish to escape, as measures that help fish stocks recover. Agencies in Alaska and New Zealand have led the world in the fight against overfishing by acting before the situation became critical, says the study, which is published in the journal ‘Science’. Fish abundance is increasing in previously over-fished areas around Iceland, the North-East US shelf, the Newfoundland-Labrador shelf and California. This has benefited species such as American plaice, pollock, haddock and Atlantic Cod’, says The Guardian.

Apparently the North Sea, the Baltic and Celtic-Biscay shelf fisheries are all still declining. In these areas Atlantic cod and herring are still badly affected. Fishermen in Ireland and the North Sea are still catching too many fish. 63% of assessed fish stocks worldwide still require rebuilding, the scientists report.

The article goes on to say the isolated success stories ‘May best be interpreted as large scale restoration experiments that demonstrate opportunities for successfully rebuilding marine resources elsewhere. Many nations in Africa have sold the right to fish in their waters to wealthy developed countries that have exhausted their own stocks, the experts said.’

Dr Ana Parma, one of the Authors of the paper said ‘this is the first exhaustive attempt to assemble the best available data on the status of marine fisheries and trends in exploitation rates, a major breakthrough that has allowed scientists from different backgrounds to reach a consensus about the status of fisheries and actions needed’.

Footprints own conclusion is that this is wonderful news but a terrible shame that British fisheries do not appear to have had a positive impact. One would hope that this will only be a matter of time.

Ever heard of El-Nino (ENSO)? Foodservice needs to!

Posted in 1,Comment,Economics,Food Miles,Foodservice Footprint news,International,Logistics,News,Produce by foodservicefootprint on July 19, 2009


According to The Daily Telegraph business section, farmers across the southern hemisphere are preparing for El Nino Southern Oscillation, often shortened to ENSO. It involves a warming in the Pacific that sets off a chain of events that cause droughts in Australia and floods in South America. And it is likely that crops will fail.

Businesses all over the world, particularly those involved with food have to keep a very close eye on ENSO as it has the very realistic potential to substantially alter cost drivers. According to The Daily Telegraph, ‘Supply chains can be disrupted, input costs can soar and logistics for global operations become a nightmare’.

Rather than thinking that this is entirely man-made, it is not! Over the past two weeks meteorologists worldwide have been predicting just that.  A weather event that occurs once every three to seven years is under way and weather patterns across the southern hemisphere could be sent into turmoil over the next six months.

The last severe ENSO occured in 1997-1998. ‘In the late 1990’s drought conditions caused the failure of Australian wheat crops and sparked massive forest fires in Indonesia, which is responsible for about 30% of global vegetable oil production. The price of palm oil rocketed almost 300% and Africa also withered under prolonged drought…In California, the cost of fruit and vegetables jumped in 1997 – the price of strawberries doubled – as higher than normal moisture levels in the air and the ground caused crops to be attacked by fungi and other pests’.  Brazilian coffee jumped by 102% in the six months during the 1997 El Nino and the overall estimated impact of El Nino was estimated to be in the order of 25bn.

In all the debate about local sourcing one maybe forgets about the sensitivity of ecological equilibrium and the impact that a global agricultural imbalance can have on the British Foodservice and Retail industry. Most importantly it puts climate issues and global warming into perspective and perhaps offers a very real snippet of what we are dealing with!

The carbon offset delusion of Permits to Pollute

In the latest budget Darling committed to Britain not resorting to carbon offsets to meet its emission reduction targets before 2012. Equally ‘Milliband minor’, as I like to call him, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, last week set out plans for UK emission cuts of 34% by 2022 and at least 80% by 2050, to reduce the threat posed by global warming, according to The Times on Wednesday.

However, ‘Britain may go back on its promise not to buy “permits to pollute” from poor nations’ (carbon offset’s are when one country is financially rewarded to make reductions on behalf of another).

The Times professes to have seen a document outlining that Britain’s plan to cut its carbon dioxide emissions, by more than a third by 2022, could be achieved by buying ‘permits to pollute’ from poor countries rather than genuine reductions in domestic emissions.

The Times claimed on Wednesday ‘A draft copy of the government’s energy strategy, due to be published today, reveals that ministers have considered scrapping a commitment made three months ago intended to prevent the UK from buying so-called offset’s from developing nations. It states that genuine cuts would be preferable, carbon off-sets….should be reserved as an insurance option’.

The article further says that Keith Allot, head of climate change at WWF said that ‘carbon offsetting amounted to little more than an accounting trick…We have a chance to transform the UK economy but that can only be achieved by investing in a green recovery package. If we choose offset’s we are just throwing money into a broken mechanism’.

There are some further facts here; ‘the government is committed by law to a phased reduction in carbon emissions over three five-year periods starting in 2008. From 2013 emissions should be further reduced to 28%, below 1990 levels and a third period, from 2018 should see emissions cut to 34% below 1990 levels’. The government however could get a great deal of the legwork done by investing in wind farms in developing countries like India or could pay a country such as Brazil to, buy ‘avoided deforestation credits’.

Doesn’t this rather remind you of the complicated financial models such as banks selling sub-prime debt to each other? Presumably the Carbon Markets and Investors Association (CMIA) meant exactly this when it commented: ‘Carbon offsets are a sensible and economically rational approach for the UK Government. It is critical to have mechanisms that will allow for financial innovation in the environmental space.’

We have seen enough of financial innovation for a while. We all know how this ended. Furthermore, we are not sure that there is any space for banker’s ‘mechanisims’ in environmental issues!

The bottom line is, we have got to reduce carbon emissions, so let’s get on with it! The British government has got to realise that it has to set an example to industry rather than figure manipulation.

Just to put this into the context of foodservice, it is rather like the big multiple hotel, restaurant and catering groups buying carbon offsets from independent operators rather than trying to cut emissions, so that they continue polluting and draining resources at the benefit of their balance sheet, as if climate change and exploiting natural resources wasn’t a very real problem.

There is something very wrong in this and quite frankly, it’s disturbing!

The Marine Stewardship Council receives Royal approval

Posted in 1,Comment,International,Provenance,Sustainability,Sustainable Sourcing by foodservicefootprint on July 18, 2009

The Prince of Wales hosted a reception for the Marine Stewardship Council at Clarence House on Tuesday. The organisation has been promoting sustainable fishing practices across the globe and has been responsible for a great deal of enlightenment in foodservice.

His Royal Highness compared the debate on fish resources with the failure to recognise the threat of climate change. The subject was ‘quite literally out of sight, out of mind’ he said.

Footprint is a great admirer of the MSC and is delighted that the Prince of Wales has managed to bring its work into the public’s consciousness.

Food safety compliance hampering small business says WHO & FAO

Posted in 1 by foodservicefootprint on June 26, 2009


Last year, Footprint expressed concern as to the practices and spiraling effects of the accreditation industry to which recent contamination events, such as melamine in milk, salmonella in nuts and E.coli in dough, have provided opportunity to make even more stringent requirements.

‘The last 10 years has seen an explosion in food industry accreditation and third party inspectors, to the extent that what started out as independent assessment of working practices has turned into an industry employing thousands. Legislation has been the fuel for this explosion and the costs of managing adherence to their standards has become a major cost to food industry operators in whatever sphere.

The problem with having third party organizations as inspectors is that the nature of profit making organizations is that they have to keep coming up with ‘new products’ in order to extract maximum revenue from their ‘clients’.’

Now, a report has been released for next weeks meeting in Rome of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint World Health Organization (WHO) and Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) body on food safety, which sounds as if it springs from the pages of a Dan Brown novel.

The report comments that compliance to additional requirements, over and above those legislated by government, is making it difficult for smaller companies to compete against larger rivals …”to the extent that there are economies of scale in compliance and/or larger firms are better able to access finance and other resources, compliance processes are likely to induce processes of consolidation and concentration…”.

The study says that the biggest constraints were being felt in poorer nations and that small players may need assistance to avoid being squeezed out of the market by the drive to sanitize the food chain.

“Exporters of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and seafood must comply with multi-tiered requirements including quality grades and standards, traceability requirements, labels of origin, phytosanitary controls and food safety standards, of both a regulatory and private nature,” it said. “It is evident that a number of developing countries, and exporters and producers therein, face challenges in complying.”

Clearly there is a need for the effective policing of food safety standards, but surely we need to be careful this compliance culture does not stifle the production of ‘proper’ food to traditional methods in favour of homogenized ‘factory’ product.

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