The foodservice sector needs more authenticity when tacking food waste to combat our climate emergency, according to Ed Gillespie, a sustainability activist, writer and green entrepreneur.

Speaking at a bartlett mitchell event held in London last week, Gillespie explained the urgent need for businesses to take a bold approach to their sustainability activity to drive immediate change.

According to Gillespie, food waste and food based issues, are critical as part of the challenges we face today. And companies in the foodservice industry have a key role, highlighted in the acclaimed book,  ’Drawdown‘, researched  by the world’s leading researchers and Paul Hawken. He compiled a list of solutions ranked by carbon impact to reverse global warming. No.1 was refrigeration, no.3 and 4 respectively were reducing food waste and plant-rich diets.

He stated that 30-50% per cent of the food we consume never reaches a human stomach. This waste is costly to the environment but also the commercial interests of businesses. He added that carbon emissions from livestock agriculture make up 18% of the global total. That is more than the 15% generated by all transport combined.

Discussing his ‘waste hierarchy’, Gillespie explained that in order to tackle the issue food service companies need to prioritise their activity to deal with waste prevention in the first instance; then look at how food can be prepared for reuse, followed by exploring recycling and composting, then other modes of recovery. Only then should appropriate modes of disposal be considered.

He argued that companies need to be more transparent about their waste, and be clearer about their waste activity.

As part of its efforts to tackle food waste, bartlett mitchell uses Chefs’ Eye, a food waste reduction software, helping hospitality sites to take control of their food waste, cut food costs & purchasing.

Gillespie cited the system as an example of good practice where measurement and monitoring can help to focus organisational activity and improve their waste strategy.

Gillespie said: “Food waste sits at the heart of our climate based issues and more companies need to take responsibility for the role they are playing.

“The future belongs to those companies with purpose. To attract young people to work for them, companies need to be interesting, tell the truth and live the truth. Authenticity and honesty needs to be at the heart of what a company is doing.”

“We are in the middle of an emergency and we need to take drastic action to ensure that we are all playing our part in making a difference.

“Climate change is possibly the greatest risk management failure in history. We all need to have moral courage and show leadership.

“We can not complain about the traffic, when we are the traffic ourselves. We all need to make changes. This isn’t a dress rehearsal.”

Wendy Bartlett, founder, added: “We are a company with a strong sense of purpose – listening to Ed’s insights made me even more determined to carry on delivering a hospitality experience that is thoughtful and carefully considered. We need to make a positive diference to our customers and team members’ lives as well, as be respectful to the planet.”

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