Footprint Blog


SILENT RUNNING

Posted in Equipment,Food Miles,Foodservice Footprint news,Logistics,Sustainability by foodservicefootprint on February 21, 2010

Michelle Hanson and Max Harris at the launch
On the subject of transport savings, Footprint attended the launch of an electric vehicle initiative on Friday.

A joint venture between foodservice operators Bunzl Catering Supplies and Sodexo sees the launch of the CO2 emissions-free and noise-free vehicle as part of continued sustainable distribution initiatives developed by the two businesses. Seeing it run, one could whistfully imagine the difference to noise levels if all vehicles were similar.

The 7.5 tonne light-goods vehicle, which will make its first official delivery on March 1st 2010, will have a range of up to 130 miles and a top speed of around 50mph. Drivers will be able to ‘refuel’ by recharging the vehicle at any standard three-phase socket. A day’s usage will cost ten per cent of the cost of fuel used by a conventional vehicle coveringthe same distance.

The vehicle was officially launched by Jim Haywood, Director of Environment Impact at Business in the Community (BITC), alongside Michelle Hanson, Commercial Director Sodexo UK and Ireland, and Max Harris, Operations & Regional Sales Director at Bunzl Catering Supplies. Both Sodexo and Bunzl are members of the BITC’s Mayday Network on Climate Change, the UK’s largest coalition of businesses that have committed to take action on climate change.

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FOOD & GROCERY COMPANIES EXCEED FOUR YEAR TARGET IN THREE YEARS –

Posted in Foodservice Footprint news,Logistics,News by foodservicefootprint on February 21, 2010

International food and grocery expert, IGD has announced today that 124million HGV miles have been taken off UK roads as part of its Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) UK Sustainable Distribution initiative.

The miles saved initiative has exceeded its four year target of removing 120million road miles by the end of 2010, a year early – the equivalent of removing 2000 lorries from Britain’s roads – and conserving 60 million litres of diesel fuel per year.

Originally spearheaded by companies involved in ECR UK under the auspices of the IGD, the activities have been extended across the industry and now includes 40 of the UK’s leading household retailer and manufacturer brands. Engaging in initiatives such as the use of double-deck vehicles and the sharing of lorries to deliver grocery products, these companies are significantly reducing the environmental impact of transporting food and groceries in the UK.

Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD comments: “This is an outstanding achievement. Sustainability remains top of the agenda for both the food industry and the Government. This successful initiative demonstrates that even in a highly competitive industry, companies remain committed to minimising environmental impact, meeting consumer demands, and at the same time reducing costs.

“This innovative and efficient way of working could shape the way we transport food and grocery items in the future. ”

Chris Tyas, Business Services & Group Supply Chain Director, UK & Ireland, Nestlé comments: “One quarter of lorries on our roads are still estimated to be running empty on their way back from delivering goods. This offers huge scope for more companies of all sizes to implement similar activities, potentially saving millions more road miles in the UK.

“ECR UK continues to be the collaborative forum helping companies to secure high performance from its operations. Despite the recessionary environment we have seen companies come together to collaborate and make a real difference to the environment.”

The road miles saved have been generated through a mix of best practice internal projects and external partnerships between retailers and suppliers. IGD has helped to contribute towards the miles saved by providing the industry with a suite of online resources designed to capture and share best practice across the supply chain. These resources can be found at http://www.igd.com/ecr.

Envirowise Business Thrift Shift report gives insight

Almost three-quarters (73%) of businesses surveyed have developed a more detailed knowledge of their spending and resource use as a result of the recession, according to The Envirowise Business Thrift Shift Report.

This includes everything from investment in raw materials, transport and energy, to staffing, equipment and professional services.

For the hotel and catering industry, reduction of water and energy use was the biggest area of cut back (75%), with a large number also minimising spend on raw materials and consumables. And this ‘thrift shift’ is set to continue when the recovery comes, with 79% of respondents citing a greater emphasis on energy efficiency in particular as a possible legacy of the recession.

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.”

First ‘Foodservice’ Footprint Forum on sustainability calls on Government to do more!

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Footprint Forum 8th of October 2009

The inaugural Footprint Forum, sponsored by Sodexo on HMS Belfast in London, brought together the great and the good of the foodservice industry to discuss the burning issue of the day – how to achieve sustainability throughout the industry.

A panel of industry experts debated a wide range of concerns including waste, procurement, the confusion in some areas between organic and sustainable, fishing, equipment and energy, transport and incentives offered by the Carbon Trust to buy new greener kit.

Introducing the Forum, Footprint Media Group CEO Nick Fenwicke-Clennell said “the objective of Footprint Forum is to create an environment where the decision makers and influencers of this industry can come together to debate the issues, exchange ideas and benefit from the knowledge of others as we drive towards a more sustainable future for foodservice.”

The keynote address by chef Cyrus Todiwala MBE, concentrated on the huge problem of waste produced by the hospitality industry and how best to combat it. Todiwala’s multiple award winning restaurant, Café Spice Namasté is a showcase for sustainable practice. He is a highly vocal environmental campaigner and chairs the Waste Committee for London.

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Cyrus Todiwala speaking at Footprint Forum HMS Belfast 8th October 2009

Todiwala’s controversial take on the problem of waste is that collectors should pay operators to take it away, as happens in India. This would, said Cyrus, encourage people to segregate and conserve for recycling and save operators a fortune into the bargain. “In India newspapers, empty bottles, used clothes, pots and pans, old wood, scrap iron/steel, wood, aluminium, cardboard and cartons are all paid for by the waste collectors. People are very careful about how they store their valuable rubbish – scrap buyers come to your doorstep asking for rubbish to buy or exchange for new goods. I firmly believe that if India were a thousand miles closer to the UK I would become a millionaire just selling scrap from the UK,” he said. “The system we use in the UK is ridiculous and is the reason why there is no incentive for people to dispose of their useful rubbish effectively.

Restaurants and hotels pay hefty amounts to have their rubbish cleared away. Those of us who are environmentally conscious end up paying much, much more, thereby eliminating any incentive. The collectors, however, make massive profits since they sell on our rubbish by the tonnage and charge us for collecting it as well. “Waste disposal operators contracted by councils and other authorities should be made competitive. They should be made to collect free – if not actually to buy the rubbish. That way everyone would make sure they put their rubbish out as carefully as they can and not mix and pile it randomly. “Foodservice has to lead the way. Ideally, in five years time, if we all act collectively we will get manufacturers, producers and collectors all listening and doing exactly what we wish them to do which is to help us to create a zero waste community of end users,” said Todiwala.

He also went on to deplore the ‘unjoined up thinking’ afflicting many schemes designed to push sustainability. “There is a failure to communicate between initiatives and this leads to duplication of effort. There are several streams of Government funding going into several projects, the problem is no one knows about the various initiatives and often the organisations involved within those initiatives themselves don’t know what is going on and end up duplicating work someone else is doing.”

As Todiwala finished to applause from the delegates, the panel of experts chaired by Peter Backman of Horizons assembled to take questions from the audience. An expert on the structure and dynamics of the foodservice sector, and its supply chain in the UK and across Europe, Backman regularly speaks at conferences in North America and Europe.

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Footprint Forum Panel HMS Belfast 8th of October 2009

Responding to questions from the floor the general consensus of opinion from the panel was that although a lot has been done and improvement is ongoing it is just scratching the surface, not just on the problem of waste but also addressing other sustainable issue such as fishing, incentives for procurement both of energy efficient equipment and food and drink. The panel also echoed Todiwala’s concerns that there is no ‘joined up thinking’ from Government and there is a need for more incentives for operators to buy into sustainability.

Glenn Roberts of refrigeration giant Gram said: “The problem we see at Gram is that although the Government, in the form of the Carbon Trust, is doing good work promoting sustainability in the media it needs to understand ‘Catering plc’ better. The Carbon Trust’s Energy Technology List (ETL) lists 18,000 products in all that are eligible for Government tax breaks because they are ‘green’. In catering, only refrigeration figures on the list. Bearing in mind that refrigeration accounts for a mere 6 per cent of energy consumption in kitchens this is not enough, more equipment needs to be on the list. But first we need to know how energy is used in commercial kitchens. There needs to be a benchmark for prime cooking and other equipment. The catering Equipment Manufacturers Association (CESA) is currently lobbying the Carbon Trust and it is clear the Trust doesn’t understand the foodservice sector. As for manufacturers, we must listen to the market place. It is vital that we do this. Sustainable products are more expensive and very difficult to sell in the current climate.” Gram performed a survey of the industry two years ago and is now conducting another one to show the amount of change since then. The Gram Green Paper offers insight and statistical information on a range of areas such as operators’ interpretation of what green means to their business, as well as demonstrating personal green initiatives currently in place. It also highlights perceptions on cost/saving implications as well as which sectors could be doing more to ensure foodservice is an environmentally responsible industry. “The findings showed people are desperate to do something decisive. The market place can be bothered: they just want to be show how,” he said. “However, we have found there is a gap between what people say they want and what they do. The driving force is for the procurement department to save money. Joined up thinking doesn’t happen. If it costs £1400 to replace a refrigerator with an energy efficient version, they will go for the £900 option even though it uses 5-6 times more energy and will struggle to maintain temperature. It is very hard to get people to take that on board. After all, they may well be thinking that they may not be in business next year so why pay the extra?” he said. Thomas Jelly of Sodexo suggested that large companies that commit to sustainability should be ranked in a league table. He said that incentives in the form of tax reductions would get finance departments thinking hard and would get them behind the initiative.

Ian Booth, Technical Director of fresh food supplier Reynolds said: “In the public sector local government should set objectives such as the percentage of sustainability in procurement to be achieved whether it be in equipment, food – everything. The Government must do this to make it work. It will be interesting to see where that will go. Europe is telling Government to look at procurement.”

Mike Berthet, Director of Fish & Seafood, M&J Seafoods said: “It is disappointing that the Government has not set the pace. I raised this question with Hilary Benn recently at an open forum. The Government just hasn’t taken the lead. There should be two fish dishes on school menus per week and the fish should be from a sustainable source.” He had some good news to impart, however, telling delegates of positive initiatives taken by the fishing industry. One example he cited was that of seven boats out of Scotland now have video cameras rigged to the trawl so they can see what fish is being discarded. “One guy has a camera on the underwater trawl bar – if he sees they are about to catch cod when they are over quota they can simply reel in and start again. This is also invaluable, say, if they start fishing in an area with too many juvenile cod. They can pack up and move to another area. The area with the juvenile cod can then be closed to fishing for a month to allow stocks to grow.” Berthet also told delegates that we have the raw materials for producing fish feed for sustainable aqua culture literally on our doorsteps. “Ragworm can be farmed from any old detritus. There are billions of tonnes of that in London alone of that in London alone,” he said.

Ian Booth made the valuable point that there is confusion about ‘organic’ and ‘sustainable’ products with some people thinking they are the same thing: a comment that was greeted with agreement from the panel and the delegates.

Thomas Jelley said: “Sustainability is not about one product being local or one recyclable. We have to take in other individual components such as transport and put it all together seamlessly.”

Heidi Easby of Brakes warned that working out a long term strategy takes time and industry employees have their part to play, saying that it sometimes pays to start from basics. “To really try to change the ethos of people in business it is important not to just concentrate on mileage. It is possible to have day to day impact. At Brakes we have no bins at desks so staff have to walk to recycle points to chuck stuff away. This has reduced waste by 40 per cent. Big schemes may require financing but small things like this work well.”

“Smaller things persuade the industry to take responsibility. Why not ask staff what they want to do?” responded Jelley.

“What we do in the crunch to offset against a lower income will work in better times. This is a good time to make changes and when things get better everybody is used to it,” said Todiwala.

“Ultimately, the Government must set out standards to look at the bigger picture. Sustainability is ultimately win-win for everybody,” concluded Ian Booth, who seemed to echo the thoughts of most people at the event.

Charles Miers, Managing Director of Footprint Media Group reflected: “It is desperately sad that the industry, friend or foe, haven’t cooperated more. Seeing all these influencers under one roof, nevermind talking to each other is unheard of – we changed that today! Let’s hope that this might set the precedence going forward.”

Join the Debate! Footprint Forum: HMS Belfast, October 8th

FOOTPRINT FORUMEarth on a plate LR

On 8th October the Footprint Forum is launched on HMS Belfast, kindly sponsored by sodexo. 

Few business decisions are made today without considering their impact on a sustainable environment. In UK foodservice this is hardly surprising when it is estimated that the industry uses 21.6 million kWh of energy, adds 19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and creates over 3 million tonnes of food waste, all in the course of a calendar year!

From its inception, the objective of Footprint was to provide the foodservice sector with a single reference point to learn about and debate the environmental issues that were impacting the industry. Today, as we have become more enlightened on this issue, the story is arguably reversed and has become how the industry is impacting the environment and how we can reduce this! Irrespective, we wanted to create a transparency to the issues involved and to enable operators to access the debate using the medium of their choice; in essence, to become the ‘go to’ place for information on this subject.

Foodservice Footprint is still the only industry specific publication dedicated to the subject and with the foodservicefootprint.com blog attracting increasing numbers of visitors, we are now entering the physical interaction arena with the launch of the Footprint Forum.

The objective of the Footprint Forum is to bring together the industry’s key decision makers and opinion formers; those with the power to influence, be it from a corporate, media or political stand point, to initiate cultural change.

Members will hail from all stages of the foodservice supply chain and others, such as those in the food waste conversion arena, whose businesses have a direct relationship with the industry. Footprint Forum is not a conference, it is not a lecture, but a Forum/Symposium, which is entirely interactive and will allow members to air their opinions, uncover the paradoxes and hypocrisies, and be seen within the right environment. We are simply encouraging transparency, debate and cooperation to find the right balance between commercial and environmental realities. We would also like to think that, as Footprint Forum develops, we will be able to generate a consensus that will offer members the chance to play their part in improving the industry and provide a platform for exercising leverage, as a body, on government.

The first meeting takes place on October 8th, aboard the WWII battleship, HMS Belfast, moored on the Thames near London Bridge. This will open with a keynote address by Cyrus Todiwala on Food Waste and its implications. This is a subject particularly relevant to the foodservice industry, as one can see from the statistic above, and one that Cyrus has been highly vocal about for a few years now. When we read that produce farmers, growing for supermarkets, forecast on having to dispose of 30% of their crop for failing one criteria or another, and then hear that 30% of that accepted is then thrown away unsold, we realize the staggering levels of wastage going on.

Cyrus’s address and discussion period will be followed Footprint Panel, a Question Time style Q&A session with a panel of senior industry experts lending their knowledge on a range of environmental issues. The panel is being chaired by Peter Backman of Horizons, who will act as compere, timekeeper and referee, and will offer delegates a first hand, practical insight into the realities of some of the key talking points of the moment.

The first Footprint Forum will finish with a presentation on organic wine by Dan Senior of Corney & Barrow, tantalizingly entitled Green Whites and Reds, which will take us all into the world of organic winemaking and expound on the theories of biodynamics. It will, of course, be necessary to sample some of Dan’s delightful wines during a closer networking session.

The Forum will come together for a General Meeting four times a year at various venues. In addition, we will be forming Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) which will exclusively focus on separate areas such as Equipment, Distribution, Contract Catering, Manufacturing etc, and will be encouraged to meet separately. There will be a summer and Christmas party and a Forum member will have the added advantage of having exclusive access to the full membership, together with research and information made available only to the Footprint Forum membership.

For information about joining Footprint Forum, please contact admin@footprint-forum.com

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

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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!

Industry first for Sodexo as it secures Red Tractor certification across multiple sites

(all Sodexo UK and Ireland, left to right): Steve Jobson, buying director; Caroline Rofe, senior buyer; Tamsin Gane, sustainable procurement manager; Michelle Hanson, commercial director, Aidan Connolly, chief executive

(left to right): Steve Jobson, buying director; Caroline Rofe, senior buyer; Tamsin Gane, sustainable procurement manager; Michelle Hanson, commercial director, Aidan Connolly, chief executive

Sodexo, a leading food and facilities management services provider, has today announced that it has been awarded the Red Tractor certification across multiple sites, demonstrating its widespread commitment to supplying customers with quality produce sourced from British farms.

From today, 450 sites in Sodexo’s education, healthcare and defence sectors will be providing milk and cream and fruit and vegetables that have been produced to Red Tractor standards at every critical link in the supply chain. This ensures that the products are fully traceable from field to fork. Furthermore, it means that all of Sodexo’s suppliers, processing plants and, where relevant, animal welfare, will have been independently inspected.

Sodexo has also shown evidence of complying with approved standards for food safety and responsible management of pesticides. Via its supplier, Sodexo will support British farmers by procuring over 80 listed lines of fruit and vegetables when they are in season – such as carrots, strawberries, leeks and potatoes.

The move is further evidence of Sodexo’s drive to ensure that it supports and sources sustainable and ethical produce wherever possible. Only recently, Sodexo announced that it was to expand Aspretto, its fair trade-based hot beverage offer (tea and coffee) offer, to client sites throughout the world following completion of a successful introductory pilot on 20 sites in five countries. This came in addition to the news that Sodexo has become the first school meals provider to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation across multiple school contracts in England and Wales.

Michelle Hanson, commercial director, Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be in a position to make this announcement. As part of our sustainable procurement strategy, it is incredibly important for us to support British farmers as much as possible and, via the Red Tractor scheme, we are able to provide our customers with a guarantee that their food has reached their plate from the most ethical and sustainable British sources. The work doesn’t stop here as we are currently in the process of further enhancing our sustainable procurement activities by working with a number of other partners.” David Clarke, chief executive at Assured Food Standards, the organisation that runs the Red Tractor scheme said: ‘We are delighted that Sodexo, a leading global provider of food is committed to sourcing quality farm assured fruit & vegetables and milk & cream’.

The Savoy: A shining example!

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The Savoy will be recycling leftover food waste and aims to light 10% of its guest rooms with the energy generated.

Collections are made once a week currently, which is set to become a daily routine when the hotel reopens following its £100 million refit.

The food wastes are processed to recover liquid fat, which is used to manufacture bio fuels. The process is accomplished by PDM see www.pdm-group.co.uk, who are assisting The Savoy to become the most environmentally friendly hotel in London.

Only in the last days were we addressing these issues. This is very refreshing news but we have still got a long way to go and this is an example worth following!

Yellow Peril: The garish return of Oilseed Rape

Posted in Comment,Economics,Logistics by foodservicefootprint on April 27, 2009

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There’s a nasty, slightly sickly, smell in the air. Every time I leave the house I have to put on sunglasses and the old lungs are complaining. Yes, it’s that time of year again. Oilseed Rape is in flower and from where I’m standing it’s simply everywhere, with biofuel manufacture its destination.

 

Although Rapeseed oil appears to be the crop of choice as far as biofuel production is concerned, I understand its growth relies on large quantities of noxious chemicals, its production costs are more than standard diesel, it produces up to 70% more greenhouses gases than fossil fuels and has 296 times the global warming potential of CO2. And that yellow is horrible!

Another of those wonderful contradictions

 

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