Hospitality operators have been urged to adopt more sustainable practices after a report by the UN warned that fundamental problems with the global environment will lead to serious food shortages and a strain on natural resources.
The UN's Global Environment Outlook 4 report, published last week, suggests that problems such as climate change, the rapid extinction of plant and animal species, and the question of how to feed the growing human population without exhausting the planet's resources remain unresolved and constitute a significant risk for mankind.
The report claims that the world continues to face an ecological, energy and development crisis, including a drop in fish stocks, soil degradation and low soil fertility, as well as unsustainable pressure on the use of natural resources.
According to the report, the future depends on the individual, political and social decisions that are taken now. "The only way is to shift ecological policy from the edge to the centre of decision making," it says.
Arthur Potts Dawson, executive chef of Acorn House, London's first environmentally sustainable restaurant, agreed, saying everyone needs to do their bit for the environment, including hospitality operators.
"This is such a massive issue, and it involves everything from the paint you use on your walls to using green electricity and buying locally sourced food," he said.
"There has to be a dramatic revolution for things to really change, and the restaurant industry currently is not doing enough. Putting sustainable fish on your menu or using ethical produce isn't nearly enough - these things shouldn't even be considered special, but normal."
By Kerstin Kühn
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