Sponsored by ACT Clean
Environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are at the heart of Vacherin's business strategy. When the company was founded in 2002 it committed to conducting business in an ethical manner. The initiatives the company has introduced demonstrate that sustainability is woven into the fabric of the business.
Vacherin works hard to source locally produced food, with more than 90% of its animal products coming from British farms. It ensures food is grown, processed, packaged and delivered in ways that contribute to local economies and minimise the negative impact on the environment. The firm works only with suppliers that can demonstrate similar ethics.
It serves around 3.2 million customers a year across its 28 units. In 2014, it served more than 65 tonnes of Fairtrade coffee, prepared 280,000 free-range eggs, and served over 354,000 litres of milk from British farmers who have animal welfare standards above those required by law.
Vacherin encourages staff to support social enterprises and offers two paid days a year for charity or local community work. Its team has volunteered more than 240 hours in the past year. The company's chosen charity is Debra, donating £10,000 in 2014 to help it support individuals and families affected by the painful genetic skin blistering condition epidermolysis bullosa.
The company also continually seeks to reduce its impact on the environment. More than 80% of its disposables are compostable and recyclable. Waste audits have revealed that over 75% of the overall waste the company produces is recycled.
In 2014, Vacherin introduced 'Red Meat Free Mondays', reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 65 tonnes. It has also appointed a full-time sustainability and CSR lead to oversee all environmental and social initiatives. All staff members receive sustainability training.
Vacherin believes in transparency and readily shares information with partners and collaborators. Its annual CSR report includes statistics and CSR benchmarking so clients, customers and the general public are aware of the initiatives and projects. This allows for figures to be compared against the company's own targets, as well as industry-wide.
The Sunday Times ranked Vacherin number 10 in its Best Companies to Work For in 2015.
What the judges said
"An excellent example of a CSR policy with a holistic approach to sustainability. Some innovative initiatives across all areas of the business's operations, demonstrating a real commitment to CSR. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of some of the more recent initiatives."
Mark Linehan, Sustainable Restaurant Association
"Good demonstration of CSR objectives with tangible and statistical evidence on their achievements so far. Consideration given to greenhouse gas emissions through a reduction of red meat - linking CSR to health."
Wan Mak, Sodexo
"Social responsibility giving staff two paid days per year to work for a charity shows real dedication and innovation in this field."
David Nuttall, Harper Adams University
The Brookwood Partnership
2014 Compass Group