Hospitality and Food Service voluntary agreement gets off to a great start
Wednesday, 27th June 2012
Dr Liz Goodwin, CEO, WRAP
In July last year, we produced a ground-breaking reportrevealing that the food service sector – that’s pubs, restaurants and contract caterers, for example - could save around £724 million a year by reducing the amount of food and drink it wasted.
It was this research that demonstrated the scale of the opportunity that existed for the industry to recycle more, reduce what it sends to landfill – and the resulting CO2 emissions - and of course, save money.
And it was this research that has enabled us to launch a new voluntary agreement today, a platform from which the industry can come together to address these critical issues. It’s been a privilege to be part of the launch event which we’re holding this morning (Wednesday 27th June).
Drawing on our acknowledged expertise, we’ve been working with representatives from across the whole sector, and from the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments, to draw up the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement.
It was only in September last year that we kicked off a series of workshops and discussions, yet I’m delighted that today we’ve been able to officially launch the new voluntary agreement. The speed at which we’re arrived at this point demonstrates, I think, that the sector recognises the need for not only words, but more importantly, action.
This is a great tribute to the energy, enthusiasm and genuine desire for change that’s been shown by everyone involved and builds on the good work already undertaken by many in the industry.
The agreement sets out some stretching targets – to reduce food and associated packaging waste by 5% by 2015, and increase the overall rate of this waste that’s being recycled, sent for anaerobic digestion or composted to 70% at the end of the same period. I’m hugely encouraged that already, we have 27 organisations as signatories, and a further 41 official ‘supporters’.
I should perhaps explain the difference: a signatory is an organisation that produces and serves customers with a meal or snack. A supporter works within that same sector, but is not involved directly in delivering that meal or snack to a consumer.
We estimate that if just a quarter of the sector were to sign up to the agreement, they could achieve cost savings of up to £76 million, and reduce their carbon impact by 570,000 tonnes by the end of 2015.
I am excited by that prospect and grateful, too, to those organisations which have helped lead the way in helping set up this new agreement - including Unilever Food Solutions, the British Hospitality Association, the British Beer & Pub Association and the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
WRAP prides itself on its collaborative working approach, and this initiative is a perfect example of the importance of that collaboration in practice. It may be a cliché to say that progress cannot be achieved unless we do work together, sharing ideas, experience and best practice, but it is absolutely the truth.
This is, of course, just the beginning. It’s great to have so many organisations already pledged to make a difference, including a number of government departments. Already on the list are organisations including the Compass Group, Greggs, Domino’s Pizzas, McDonald’s and several breweries!
But we’re keen to welcome others on board and to maintain the momentum that has already been achieved. So, please come and talk to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and find out how you can get involved, or if you just want to find out more about the agreement, and how we see the way ahead. We’d be delighted to welcome you ….