THE WINNER: BaxterStorey Sponsored by: Nestlé Professional
Last year BaxterStorey recycled more than 300 tonnes of food waste, received 95% of fresh meat from British sources, and diverted 200 tonnes of coffee grinds from landfill, saving clients £4,800 on landfill charges.
Furthermore, it reduced carbon emissions by 18.9%, increased mixed recyclables by 16.9% and reduced general waste by 17.7%. In September 2008 a programme was put in place to recycle food waste into electricity.
With more than 300 contracts over 500 sites across the UK, the eight-year-old company admits that running a large contract catering operation and being eco-friendly at the same time can be challenging. "The very nature of our business means that we consume huge amounts of energy and resource, and large volumes of waste are produced - foodstuffs, cooking oil, packaging, effluent, administrative waste and surplus equipment," commented BaxterStorey in its application.
However, the food service outfit has put wide-ranging accountability measures in place that have been followed through over the past three years. In 2007 there was a 76% reduction in general waste on the previous 12 months, followed by a 17.7% decline in 2008. Carbon emissions fell in 2007 by 15.6 tonnes, and then another 18.9% in 2008.
As early as 2007, BaxterStorey was sourcing 95% of all fresh produce from regional producers. This it defines as withing 80 miles for units inside the M25 or an 150-mile round trip for units outside the M25. Yet a major issue with contract caterers can arise whatever their own environmental policies: persuading clients of the merits of adopting sustainable policies can be a task in itself.
In November 2008 BaxterStorey started work for engineering and construction company Acergy to provide catering at its new office in Aberdeen, and it now sources 70% of fresh food for the contract from companies based in the Scottish city.
According to Matthew Rowland-Jones, business development manager at Envirowise: "BaxterStorey's entry showed that they were addressing a range of environmental issues, from resource efficiency through energy saving to sourcing local food. It is this embracing of the whole environmental agenda that set them apart from the other entrants. Their involvement of staff, clients and suppliers was also commended."
Ben Reynolds, network director of Sustain, added: "BaxterStorey stood out amongst the larger catering operations as going that bit further on the sustainability agenda. They have shown a clear commitment to using British meat through all their catering and to incorporating local suppliers, which is difficult when operating on this scale. They have set a standard for major food service companies to follow."
Last year's winner, Vanessa Scott, director of Strattons hotel in Norfolk, said: "The winning entry proves that the complex issues of corporate social responsibility can be undertaken by a large company with achievable results. Whilst many bigger organisations still baulk at tackling the issues of sustainability, BaxterStorey has created a comprehensive approach that ensures everyone within the group understands their responsibilities to consumers, colleagues, clients, the community and environment."
- The Gleneagles hotel, Auchterarder, Perthshire
- Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire
- Dominic Burbridge, hospitality and leisure sector leader, the Carbon Trust
- Jane Carlton-Smith, director, CESHI
- Ben Reynolds, network director, Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Farming
- Matthew Rowland-Jones, business development manager, Envirowise
- Vanessa Scott, director, Strattons hotel, Swaffham, Norfolk