David Field, managing director of Nestlé Professional, emphasises that operating a sustainable business is not something that can be achieved overnight.
"Sustainability, despite the recession's far-reaching impact, remains a key challenge for the hospitality industry. That's why Nestlé Professional is working closely with Caterer and sponsoring Sustainability Month to help drive awareness of the issues and demonstrate how every organisation can make a real difference.
Right now, the bottom line is a priority for businesses in line with the economic challenge. The big question is how can we, as an industry, work together to maintain and develop our commitments to sustainability?
It's about long term dedication and not simply looking at quick hits or a superficial greenwash across the business to deliver marketing wins. It's about looking through the end-to-end process and adopting an approach that is interwoven into the heart of an organisation through its employees, its business partners and the entire supply chain.
Here at Nestlé Professional, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability have long been the drivers behind our products and operations. We're proud to be one of only two food companies worldwide to have been awarded, and retained, SAM Gold Class Membership (in the food category) against the Dow Jones Global Index.
As part of our own comprehensive programme we continue to invest in sustainable initiatives in the UK and further afield. Our work includes having 771 agronomists who give technical assistance to farmers across the world.
But our commitment doesn't stop at sourcing; it follows through to production and we are working towards reducing all energy consumption by 10% by 2010. In addition, more than half of our packaging in the UK is currently recyclable, including our catering coffee tins. This means three million fewer tins could be sent to landfill each year.
We know that operating a sustainable business is not something that can be created overnight. It is about setting achievable and realistic objectives, demonstrating return on investment and ensuring an end-to-end approach.
The secret is to work with suppliers and customers in a collaborative way to create shared value and to ensure CSR is built into the foundations of the core business principles - after all, CSR isn't a destination; it's a journey.
The big question is how can we, as an industry, work together to maintain and develop our commitments to sustainability?"