Of all the many ways businesses can reduce their footprint, food is one area that often gets left to the wayside.
Yet, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to produce and transport. On top of that, food waste alone is responsible for releasing around 150Mt of carbon dioxide. That’s almost 30% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions!
Whether your business is completely centred around food, you run a canteen, or you only order food occasionally, your efforts to cut down in this area can make a real impact and show that your business is serious about sustainability.
The first thing to note is how much food you currently use. If you’re leaving a lot left over, then it’s probably a good idea to cut down.
You should also ensure that any kitchen staff, or those responsible for the food, are aware of the issue and that you have the proper facilities to dispose of food waste. It may also be worth looking into food waste apps, like Olio, so that it isn’t wasted at all!
Another fantastic way to reduce your business’s food emissions is increasing (or maybe only providing) vegan and vegetarian options. With 18% of global emissions associated with livestock agriculture, using vegan food and encouraging staff to choose it can make a big difference.
If you don’t want to lose meat completely, reducing it can work just as well. To show just how much this can affect our environment, if everyone in the UK were to swap one red meat meal for a plant-based one, the UK’s carbon footprint would be cut by 50 million tonnes.
For businesses that regularly serve food, you can show that you’re making an impact in this area by taking the Cool Food Pledge.
With huge companies such as Nestlé, Hilton, and IKEA already pledging, the Cool Food Pledge helps organisations commit to and achieve a science-based target to reduce the climate impact of the food they serve.
Members are guided through a three-step approach: Pledge, Plan, and Promote.
First, they commit to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the food they serve by 25% by 2030, in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
Then, their Cool Food team guides the members through a strategic planning process to reduce the impact of the food they serve (along with other dining-related targets).
Each year, the members report food purchase amounts by weight and then receive an annual report showing emissions by food type, trends year-over-years, and comparison to help them keep track of their progress.
Of course, whether you take the pledge or not, you can still set targets to reduce your food waste and increase the number of vegetarian meals served. This could even reduce food costs for your business, too!
Last, but perhaps most importantly, educate and inspire your staff about the issue, and get them involved so you can find ways to cut down together. It’s up to all of us to make the change.
Make Your Workforce Climate Positive